This recipe plant-based, of course!! It is delicious!! I am a lover of eggplant! In general, I think it tastes delicious! I related in another blog post on Roasted Eggplant and Bell Peppers, that eggplant is good for the body, having a number of health benefits and high in nutrients. Eggplant is called the “King of Vegetables” due to these benefits and its versatility in preparation!
This recipe is oven-fried. Now, if you read the blog often, you know that I ONLY oven-fry. It uses less oil and doesn’t make the oily mess that typically comes with frying on the stovetop. (lol) Oven frying is just cleaner… better!
I typically do not make this a no-oil recipe, but it can easily be made that way (just use a thick plant-based buttermilk in place of the avocado oil … and you would need a no-oil parm option), but it is a low-oil recipe, due to “frying” the eggplants in the oven. In general, fried foods are very harmful to our bodies. It is difficult for our bodies to assimilate the oil, often trans fats. Consequently, we often end up with unwanted weight-gain and diseases (Read this article on trans fats from Healthline).
This recipe has many steps, so I will spare you the long write up! When preparing to make this, please make all of the ingredients first and then it’s just a matter of sweating and then breading the eggplant. Now, when slicing the eggplant, you may leave the peel on, if you like, but my preferred way is to peel it so that the breadcrumbs surround each slice when breading.
Make it easier on yourself and not harder. You can make the tomato sauce in advance. You can make the Italian breadcrumbs in advance. You can make the plant-based buttermilk in advance (I highly recommend you do because there is nothing like 48-hour thick buttermilk. if you’re making your own plant-based parm, you can make that in advance too. I would ask that you do not make the no-oil liquid mozzarella in advance or it will not be as stretchy as it is when made fresh, but you can if you want (only one day in advance though).
Now, without further ado, let’s get to the recipe! …
Eggplant Parm (plant-based)
- 1 medium eggplant (should serve 4)
- See recipe or use your favorite Italian breadcrumbs.
- MOZZARELLA CHEESE
- See recipe or use your favorite plant-based mozzarella.
- TOMATO SAUCE
- See recipe or use your favorite tomato sauce. Tomato Basil Sauce, preferred.
- GRATED PARM
- I have a forthcoming recipe, but until then, use your favorite plant-based parmesan.
- Up to 1 c. Oil/ plant-based buttermilk
- 1 c. breadcrumbs
- 1 c. fresh basil, chopped.
- Preheat the oven to 450 °F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Wash, peel, slice (about 1/4-inch thick), and sweat the eggplant for 30 minutes to 1 hour. You sweat the eggplant by putting salt on both sides to bring out the water. Then, after the time elapses, rinse and pat them dry. Set aside.
- Prepare tomato sauce, Italian breadcrumbs, and liquid mozzarella and set aside. Be sure to place breadcrumbs into a bowl for breading. Also, be sure to cook the liquid mozzarella for about one and a half minutes (90 seconds), or until half of the liquid remains. Then pour mixture back into the blender and blend, which will yield a thick sauce. Pour this into a squeeze bottle for easy handling. Prepare your favorite parmesan, if you are not using store-bought. You may use the plant-based parm recipe in this book, but be sure to make at least two weeks ahead, three weeks preferred. Set all of these aside.
- Pour oil, or thickened buttermilk for a no-oil version, into a bowl to coat the eggplant. Brush on the oil with a basting brush. Alternatively, you may also spray the eggplant with oil. If you dip the eggplant in the oil, it would require more oil. You will dip the eggplant into the buttermilk and then bread it.
- Begin breading the eggplant by dipping the oiled or buttermilk-coated eggplant into the breadcrumb bowl. The breadcrumbs should generously coat the eggplant slice. Place breaded eggplant on a lined cookie sheet.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, 10 minutes on each side. Eggplant should be tender, but not falling apart. Depending upon thickness of eggplant slices, you may cook them longer.
- Build the eggplant parm: You may make these in one layer, but I typically do two. For one layer: In a baking dish, add enough sauce to cover the bottom. Next add the oven-fried eggplant. Next, add more sauce on top of the eggplant, leaving a bit of crust showing. Next, sprinkle some plant-based parm, next, drizzle or spoon no-oil mozzarella or sprinkle store-bought mozzarella shreds, on top. Then sprinkle plant-based parm, and follow with a pinch of the organic chopped fresh basil. Two layers: On top of the first layer, add a smaller sized eggplant and repeat sauce, parm, fresh basil, and mozzarella.
- Reduce the oven to 400 °F. Cover baking dish with parchment and foil, and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese looks melted. Then remove cover and put oven on High Broil for 2-3 minutes to brown the mozzarella cheese. Be careful not to burn cheese.
- Serve over pasta with more yummy tomato sauce!