I am so excited about this recipe, friends!
This vegan eggplant parmesan has been hanging out in my drafts folder for about a month now and finally, today, I get to share it with you. This recipe is a vegan take on a classic Italian eggplant parmesan. Featuring parmesan-breaded eggplant, two different homemade cheeses, and a sweet and savory marina sauce, I am fairly certain you will love this decadent meal.
Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
This vegan eggplant parmesan requires several steps and careful planning.
First, we will start with the eggplant. Before you bread it, it’s preferable to salt the eggplant to release its bitterness. Generously salt the eggplant and place it in a colander over the sink for about 30 minutes. The salt will pull out some of the eggplant’s moisture along with the bitter taste. When that happens, dab it dry with a towel before you begin breading.
While the eggplant is sitting, mix together your breading components. First you will want a binder that will act as the glue between the eggplant and the breading. My favorite binder for breading is the chickpea egg. That’s equal parts chickpea flour and water. When mixed together you get a protein-rich egg-like consistency that will fully coat the eggplant allowing you to get a good bread crumb on each piece. The second component is the bread crumb mixture. I mixed Panko crumbs with my homemade parmesan and dried oregano for a breading bursting with Italian flavors. It’s so good, you might just want to eat it with a spoon! Once they are breaded, go ahead and stick them in the oven until they are nice and cripsy.
Take a look at those crispy breaded eggplant!
While the eggplant is baking, it’s time to make your vegan mozzarella. This cashew-based mozzarella is similar to the one you’ll find on my Grilled Pizza Margherita. It’s a simple process of blending cashews with tapioca starch and a few cheesy, salty flavors, then heating it over the stove for the tapioca starch to activate and turn it all into that gooey cheesy consistency you’ll see below. When you’re all finished you’ll have a nutty, salty, and slightly tangy mozzarella that is perfect for this vegan eggplant parmesan.
Once your eggplant is baked and your cheese is made, it’s time to assemble the eggplant parmesan. The assembly is fairly straight forward. Similar to a lasagna, the eggplant parmesan is layered with marinara sauce, breaded eggplant, marinara sauce, homemade mozzarella, and repeat. So simple!
Top it with that vegan parmesan I love so much and throw it in the oven!
This vegan eggplant parmesan takes about 45 minutes to bake. At this point sit back, pour yourself a glass of wine, and relax. You’ve earned it. And pretty soon your crowd-pleasing vegan eggplant parmesan will be ready to devour.
Ready to try it yourself? Let’s go!
- 1 (24 ounce) jar of marinara sauce
- fresh basil, chopped
- 2 tbsp vegan parmesan
Preheat the oven to 375. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Liberally sprinkle salt over the sliced eggplant and place in a colander over the sink. Let set for 30 minutes. This will remove any bitterness from the eggplant.
Transfer eggplant to a paper towel and top with another paper towel to remove any excess liquid.
In a shallow dish combine the chickpea flour and water, whisking together until thick and smooth. In a separate shallow dish combine the Panko bread crumbs, vegan parmesan, and oregano.
Taking one sliced eggplant at a time, dip it in chickpea flour mixture until it's fully submerged. From there, dip the eggplant int the panko mixture, making sure each side is completely covered in bread crumbs. Place breaded eggplant on the prepared baking sheet and continue the process until all the eggplant slices are breaded.
Bake for 30 minutes, until lightly brown and crispy, flipping halfway through. Remove from oven and let cool.
Combine all the ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until completely smooth.
Transfer to a saucepan heated over medium heat. While the cheese sauce heats, stir constantly with a large wooden spoon. Within 2-3 minutes the cheese will start to get very thick. Keep stirring until the cheese begins to move together, separating from the sides of the pan, while stirring.
Remove from heat and let cool while preparing the other ingredients.
Spread 1/2 cup of marinara sauce evenly in the bottom of an 7x11 baking pan. Place 8 breaded eggplant over top, layering them slightly over one another. Top eggplant with 1/2 cup of marinara. Using a spoon, scoop about 1 heaping tbsp of mozzarella over each of the eggplants. Top with remaining eggplants, marinara, and mozzarella one more time. Sprinkle about 2 tbsp of vegan parmesan over the top.
Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes until the sauce underneath starts to boil.
Remove from oven and let set 10 minutes before sprinkling with basil and serving.
If you don't have a high-powered blender, like a Vita-Mix, soak the cashews for 4-6 hours and then boil them for about 2 minutes to make them soft enough to blend completely.
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