How do you guys feel about Eggplant?! I feel like it is one of those vegetables that people fall in loooove with once they’ve had it prepared the right way. Y’all know that I LOVE Eggplant (or aubergine to my friends in the UK). It’s the main ingredient used in my Vegetarian Bolognese and I used it again a couple weeks ago in my Summer Ratatouille. If you hadn’t already guessed, eggplant is the STAR ingredient in this Vegan Eggplant Parmesan!
Hearty, meaty, crispy and lightly breaded eggplant layered in between a simple basil-tomato sauce and topped off with some mo’ cheesy-herbed-breading on top. It’s all about the flavorful and crispy breading on top, amiright?!
This Vegan Eggplant Parmesan is definitively a weekend kind of meal. The *secret* of this recipe is in how the eggplant is prepared. If your eggplant is prepared the wrong way (aka you leave these steps out!) you will have a mushy Eggplant Parmesan. We don’t want that.
The couple of extra steps of prep at the beginning are well worth it in the final results.
- I salt and set aside the eggplant rounds for an hour or so while preparing and simmering the basil-tomato sauce. This step allows the extra moisture to release from the eggplant.
- I then bread the eggplant in a herb and breadcrumb mixture before broiling it and assembling everything together in the pan.
These two extra steps help the eggplant to get nice and crispy. You can assure that there is only hearty, thick and meaty eggplant in sight of this Healthy Eggplant Parmesan!
I love serving this mouth-watering Eggplant Parmesan fresh from the oven on a bed of fresh fettucine pasta! YUM.
If y’all do make this Vegan Eggplant Parmesan, I LOVE reading your reactions and feedback. Share your creations with me by writing your feedback in the comments below, tagging me (#cearaskitchen) in your beautiful shots on Instagram or sharing your photo on my Ceara’s Kitchen Facebook page. #EatHappyLiveHappy
- 2-3 large or 5-6 small eggplants, cut in ½ inch (1½ cm) rounds
- sea salt
- 1½ cups breadcrumbs
- 3 tbsp dried parsley
- 3 tbsp dried chives
- 1½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ - ½ tsp cayenne powder
- ½ tsp white pepper
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 white onions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- ¼ cup vegetable broth (for sauteing)
- 2 tsp herbes de provence
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 6 cups plain tomato sauce
- ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tbsp cane sugar
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup cashews*, blended
- 3 tbsp nooch
- Fresh Basil
- Prepare Eggplant: Chop the eggplant in ½ inch rounds. Place on a baking sheet with paper towel underneath and sprinkle with sea salt. Set aside for 1-2 hours. This allows the moisture to release from the eggplant rounds and helps everything to get nice and crispy in the oven. Prepare the breadcrumb mixture and the tomato sauce while the eggplant is sitting.
- Breadcrumb Mixture: Mix together all the ingredients together for the breadcrumb mixture in a large bowl (breadcrumbs, dried parsley, dried chives, garlic powder, cayenne powder, white pepper and nutritional yeast). Set aside ½ cup of the breadcrumb mixture in a separate bowl to use as the eggplant Parmesan topping.
- Tomato Sauce: Over medium high heat, in a large pot, saute white onions, garlic, herbes de provence and red pepper flakes in a splash of vegetable broth until the onions are soft. Add the tomato sauce, Stir. Add the fresh basil, cane sugar and balsamic vinegar. Stir. Cover and leave to simmer on a low high for 30 minutes to an hour, stirring every so often.
- Breading and Roasting the Eggplant: Pre-heat oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. After the eggplant has sat with the salt for an hour or so, pat it lightly with a cloth (but don't pat all the moisture off - this with help the breadcrumb mixture stick to the eggplant rounds). Toss the eggplant rounds in the breadcrumb mixture. Press the breadcrumbs onto the eggplant and place on the baking sheet. Broil the eggplant for 4 - 6 minutes on each side (watching closely to see that they do not burn!). The eggplant should be browned and slightly crispy when it comes out of the oven.
- Assemble: In a 9 x 13 casserole dish, spread ½ cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish. Place a single layer of breaded eggplant on top of the tomato sauce. Spread another layer of ½ cup of tomato sauce on top of the eggplant so the eggplant is fully covered in tomato sauce (you may have to use a bit more tomato sauce). Place another layer of breaded eggplant in a single layer, spread tomato sauce on top. Continue until all your eggplant and tomato sauce is used up and your casserole dish is full with a thick layer of tomato sauce on top. I had four layers of eggplant in my casserole dish.
- Prepare the Topping: Mix together ½ cup of the breadcrumb mixture (reserved from before), ½ cup of blended cashews and 3 tbsp of nutritional yeast. Sprinkle on top of the Eggplant Parmesan.
- Bake: Turn the heat of the oven down to 355F/180C. Place the casserole dish in the oven uncovered and bake for 30-35 minutes until the tomato sauce is bubbling on the side and the the top is slightly brown. Serve with fettuccine and garnish with fresh basil.
2) Replace blended cashews with walnuts or pine nuts.
3) Use gluten free breadcrumbs if you need this recipe to be gluten free.