Seriously, where’s the egg? This Vegan Fried Eggplant Casserole (AKA eggplant parmesan) is nothing like you’ve seen before. Making this dish Gluten-free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan, Flourless and Paleo was truly a feat… But I made it! In the traditional recipe, the eggplant is usually coated with egg then panko or Italian breadcrumbs. Not here. This recipe is 100% healthy, made with real unprocessed food and so, so good…!
Let’s be honest here… eggplant is not the easiest ingredient to cook. Kind of a “make of break” type of thing. It’s easy to get a very bad first impression, depending on how it was prepared.
It might become your favorite fruit (Yes, fruit!) or something you want to avoid at all costs. And it is sad. It’s not that it is hard to prepare. It just needs to be prepared the right way!
Like tofu, it is almost tasteless and its texture is very adaptable, it can be prepared in several different, delicious ways. From stews, curries and casseroles to baked/BBQ/fried chips and patties…
There are just so many reasons to LOVE eggplant.
I made this recipe for dinner with some friends the other night and they would not BELIEVE that this recipe is both vegan AND gluten-free. “No eggs, parmesan cheese or breadcrumbs?” They asked. Nope.
I mean who could blame them… There is such a huge bias toward healthy/alternative ingredients in our modern culture. A lot of people think that because some meal is healthy, then it should automatically taste bad. That is also sad!
They did ask for my vegan fried eggplant recipe… and a second serving, though. 😆
To simplify this recipe, replace the homemade vegan cheese with your favorite store-bought version. You could also replace the cheese with some more crumb coating, just double the coating recipe and use what is left.
Vegan Fried Eggplant Bake
I am leaving you with the option of either creating your own vegan mozzarella “cheese”, or to use your favorite store-bought version. If you decide to go the hard route, I promise you will really enjoy the result.
It’s not that this “cheese” is any difficult to make, it’s just that you’ll have to spend a bit more cooking. If you’re all about that, then here is what the final product should look like:
The main ingredient for this vegan mozzarella cheese is raw cashews, crazy eh?
Now for breading the eggplant slices, you will have to prepare 3 dipping bowls. Tapioca flour, then almond milk mixture, then almond flour crumbs.
It should look like this:
Last thing, these are oven fried. Not that it wouldn’t taste good to deep fry them (I’m sure it’d be awesome!), but this is supposed to be the healthy version.
Vegan Fried Eggplant Casserole
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews soaked for at least 4 hours
- 1 cup water
- 3 teaspoons lemon juice
- 3 teaspoons tapioca flour
- 3 teaspoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Breaded Eggplant Slices
- 2 medium eggplants
- 1 cup tapioca flour
- 1 1/2 cup almond milk
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 12 leaves Fresh Basil chopped
- 25 Oz Marinara Sauce I bought a can from the store
Breaded Eggplant Slices
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper,
- Slice the eggplants into 1/2 inch thick discs. Salt them generously and place them in a colander for about 15 minutes. (This step is optional, but I suggest you do it as it gets rid of some of the water and the bitter taste of eggplant)
- Meanwhile, place 3 large bowls side by side. In the first one, you spread 1 cup tapioca flour evenly. In the second one, you will whisk 1 1/2 cup almond milk and 2 tablespoons olive oil together. In the third one, you will mix 2 cups almond flour, 1 tbsp dried oregano and 1 tbsp nutritional yeast and spread the mixture evenly.
- Rince the eggplant slices thoroughly to get rid of most of the salt. Press the slices into a clean dry cloth and make sure they are as dry as possible.
- Dip the slices into tapioca flour, then almond milk mixture, then almond flour mix. Arrange the eggplant slices on your lined baking sheets. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside 5-10 minutes before manipulating.
- Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until liquid.
- Pour the liquid into a medium saucepan and cook it over low heat, constantly stirring, for about 10 minutes or until the "cheese" is thick and stringy. Set aside.
Preparing the Casserole
- Pour about half of the Marinara sauce in the bottom of a 10X15 inch baking dish and spread evenly.
- Carefully place the breaded eggplant slices over the sauce.
- Spread the rest of the sauce over the eggplant.
- Spread the vegan mozzarella cheese evenly over the slices.
- Transfer to the oven for an additional 20-25 minutes of baking (Or until golden brown)
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