I was craving eggplant parmesean the other night and wasn’t sure how to go about making it vegan. Duh, should be easy, right? Well, it was! I combined (and changed up) a couple is different Isa Chandra recipes. I turned it into more of a layered casserole type dish, but it was so good! Even the babies liked it, which is always something we strive for at my house.
Here’s how I did it:
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup flour (you might end up needing a bit more)
- 1 cup bread crumbs (again, you could end up needing more)
- olive oil
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup of raw cashews
- 1 brick of firm tofu, drained (the firmer the tofu, the firmer your “ricotta” will be)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (sometimes I add a bit more)
- 1/4 or more of shredded carrots
- your favorite spices (I tend to use dill, parsley, basil, garlic, a tiny bit of salt, and lots of black pepper)
- 2 cups, or so, of cooked pasta (I used leftovers that were in the fridge)
- 3 smaller cans of tomato sauce (or a jar of pasta sauce)
For the eggplant:
I like my eggplant peeled, but it isn’t necessary as I’ve had it unpeeled and it was just as good. After peeling, slice into 1/4″ thick rounds. I also tend to salt the eggplant and ‘sweat’ it for a few minutes after cutting it, this isn’t needed, but the Italian neighbor I had when I was growing up did this and I trust her…so…If you choose to salt the eggplant, you’ll need to dab them with a papertowel to take off the moisture. Once you’ve done this, or while you’re sweating the eggplant, assemble 3 containers for the dredging. I use big, flat bowls, but plates work, too. In the first one, you’ll place the flour. In the second one, mix together the cornstarch and the water. In the third, go the breadcrumbs. It is in this order that you’ll dredge the eggplant. Heat a skillet with a bit of olive oil, keep in mind that eggplant loves olive oil and you’ll need to add more to the skillet/pan as needed. I cook it on medium to medium high heat. Okay, so take a slice and dip it in the flour, then the cornstarch mixture, then the breadcrumbs, then into the skillet. Cook for a couple minutes on each side until it’s golden brown and you can easily pierce it with a fork. After cooking, you might want to place the eggplant slices on a plate lined with papertowels so they can absorb the oil.
For the fake ricotta:
Bust out your food processor, if you don’t have one a blender works, too. Throw in the lemon juice, tofu, cashews, shredded carrots, and spices. Blend until smooth. The carrots could be omitted, I added them for extra veggies for the babies. I also tried it with fresh spinach blended in, but I prefer it with the shredded carrots. Sometimes, I also add some lightly cooked spinach to the baking pan – it’s really good that way.
Preheat oven to 375. In a pyrex baking container, put down a layer of tomato sauce. On top of that layer the eggplant. On top of the eggplant layer the ricotta mixture. At this point, in a separate bowl, I mixed together the pasta (leftover elbows) and tomato sauce, then I layered that on top of the ricotta. Bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes.
If you make this, let me know how it turned out!
Oh, and no picture, because this was gobbled up way to quickly for me to snap a pic. I promise to post a picture of it next time I make it.