My dad is growing eggplant in his garden and the other day he finally gave me some to use. Eggplant is a vegetable that I often overlook, but I always love it every time I have it. I knew that the first recipe I wanted to make with it was this eggplant parmesan. Last weekend was a rare weekend home for Kevin and I, so it was a perfect night to make the eggplant parm and crack open a bottle of red wine. The original recipe is vegan, so that’s how I made it, but you could definitely sub the vegan cheese products for their typical counterparts. We both really enjoyed this meal. The eggplant is more involved than most of the recipes on the blog, so I would try it on a weekend or weeknight when you have a little more time to work with. Either way, it’s definitely a hit! If you need more of a reason to try it, eggplants contain the antioxidants nasunin and chlorogenic acid. According to researchers, nasunin helps prevent tumors from growing (hence, helping to prevent cancer) and it can ONLY be found in the skin of eggplants. No other veggies contain nasunin. Chlorogenic acid lowers LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and fights the free radicals that cause cancer. Chlorogenic acid also has antimutagenic properties which protect and prevent cells from mutating into cancerous cells. So not only does this dish taste amazing, but it has many health benefits as well! Yay for veggies!
1 medium eggplant
¼ cup all purpose flour
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons vegan parmesan (or sub regular parmesan)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon cornstarch
10 ounces pasta
2½ cups marinara sauce, homemade or store bought
Slice eggplant into thin rounds slightly less than 1/2 inch thick, and sprinkle each side liberally with sea salt. Arrange in a circular pattern in a colander and place in the sink to draw out the bitter taste of the eggplant.
Let rest for 15 minutes, then rinse and arrange on a clean absorbent kitchen towel. Top with another clean dish towel and lay a baking sheet on top. Place something heavy on top, such as a cast iron skillet, to thoroughly dry for at least 10 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil and spritz with nonstick spray. Also, if making pasta, bring water to a boil in a large saucepan.
Prepare your dipping stations by placing almond milk + cornstarch in one bowl; flour in another bowl; and bread crumbs + sea salt + oregano + parmesan in another bowl.
Once thoroughly dry, dip eggplant slices in flour, then almond milk mixture, then breadcrumbs. Arrange on the baking sheet and pop in oven to bake for a total of 20-30 minutes.
IMPORTANT STEP: While the eggplant is in the oven, bring a large skillet to medium heat. Once hot, add 2 Tbsp olive oil (or sub canola or grape seed) and pull 3-4 eggplant rounds out of the oven at a time and sauté to give them extra crisp and texture. Cook for ~2 minutes on each side (or browned) and then return to oven to continue crisping. Do this in batches until all rounds are browned. Serve eggplant with pasta and marinara. Enjoy!
*with pasta and sauce, calories increase to about 450, fat 10, carbs 85, protein 12, sodium 851, sugar 10.
*Nutrition information is based on the products I used personally in this recipe. Different products may yield slightly different information.