Vegan Eggplant Parmigiana – The Healthiest Dinner Option
Welcome to my Vegan Eggplant Parmigiana recipe! If you’re looking for a delicious and healthy alternative to the classic Italian dish, look no further. This recipe is perfect for those who are plant-based or simply looking to cut back on their meat intake.
Eggplant parmesan is generally known as a heavy and cheesy dish, but with this vegan version, we’ve created a lighter yet still satisfying meal without sacrificing taste. By omitting the cheese and egg, I’ve developed a recipe that easily substitutes traditional ingredients with healthier alternatives.
Not only is this recipe dairy-free and egg-free, but it also uses all-natural ingredients without any processed meats or artificial flavors. This recipe will leave you feeling full and energized, rather than weighed down and sluggish like other heavy dishes might.
Join me in exploring the world of vegan cuisine with this delectable eggplant parmigiana recipe. Let’s get cooking!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
If you’re looking for a hearty and satisfying vegan recipe, this eggplant parmesan is the perfect recipe for you. Not only does it taste delicious, it’s also packed with nutrients essential for a healthy diet. But what makes this eggplant parmesan stand out among other recipes is its unique and flavorful combination of ingredients.
By using quick-cooking oats, peanut butter, apple cider vinegar, and liquid smoke in the breading mixture, you’ll achieve a crunchy texture with a smoky taste that will give your taste buds an unforgettable experience. And thanks to the nutritional yeast flakes, which add a cheesy flavor without any animal products, this dish is fully vegan and cruelty-free.
But that is not all! The combination of garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and paprika creates a perfectly balanced savory taste that will leave you wanting more. This recipe also uses eggplant slices as the base instead of traditional meat, making it a healthier option without sacrificing taste or texture.
This vegan eggplant parmesan recipe is versatile too. You can serve it as an appetizer or main dish by pairing it with a hearty salad or even on top of pasta. You can also customize the recipe to fit your dietary preferences such as gluten-free or plant-based by making simple substitutions.
Trust me when I say that once you try this vegan eggplant parmesan recipe, you won’t be able to resist making it again and again. Give it a try and see for yourself why people love this unique twist on an Italian classic.
Before you begin cooking, let’s go through the list of ingredients you’ll need for this recipe. Make sure to have everything on hand, including:
- 1 large eggplant, sliced ½ inch thick
- 1/4 cup of water
- 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
- 2 cups of quick-cooking oats
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 tsp lemon pepper
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 3/4 cup of soymilk or almond milk
- For the marinara sauce:
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 24 oz tomato sauce
- 14.5 oz diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup water
- Salt, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar (to taste)
- For the vegan parmesan recipe:
- 1 cup quick-cooking oats
- 3/4 cup of panko breadcrumbs
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp liquid smoke
Note: Remember to check that the bread crumbs and any store-bought ingredients are vegan-friendly. You can also substitute certain ingredients depending on your dietary preferences or allergies.
The Recipe How-To
Now, let’s dive into the exciting part – How to make this delicious Vegan Eggplant Parmigiana that you will love. This recipe looks fancy but is relatively easy to make. Before we move on, take your time to collect all the ingredients and supplies you need, and let’s get started!
Step 1: Prepare the Eggplant
The key for a perfect eggplant parmesan is to prepare the eggplant properly. We want to avoid a soggy texture and instead create that delightful crunch. To do this, slice the eggplants making ½ inch pieces lengthwise, then sprinkle both sides with salt and let sit for approximately 30 minutes. The salt will draw out excess moisture from the eggplant.
Step 2: Prepare the Breading Station
While the eggplant is resting, we can prepare all other ingredients. Set up a breading station with three separate bowls:
- Bowl #1: All-purpose flour
- Bowl #2: Egg Substitute made of oats, soymilk, nutritional yeast flakes and spices
- Bowl #3: A mixture of Panko breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast flakes, and dried oregano.
Step 3: Bread and Bake or Fry the Eggplant
Take each slice of eggplant and coat on both sides with flour from bowl #1. Dip into the egg substitute from bowl #2, then coat with breadcrumb mixture in bowl #3.
You can either bake or fry these slices. For baking, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle each slice with lemon pepper and bake at 375F for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.
For frying, heat enough oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot enough, add breaded eggplant in batches and fry until golden brown on both sides.
Step 4: Build Your Vegan Eggplant Parmesan
In an oven-safe dish, spread marinara sauce covering the bottom of the dish. Then add alternating layers of eggplant slices and shredded vegan cheese. Top it off with more marinara sauce and sprinkle some more vegan parmesan over it.
Bake for around 20-25 minutes at 375°F or until bubbly hot.
Step 5: Let Stand and Serve
Remove from oven when done baking and allow it to cool for about 5-10 minutes before serving warm.
There you have it — a delectable dish that is stunningly beautiful but straightforward to make!
Substitutions and Variations
Eggplants are versatile vegetables that pair well with different flavors, making them perfect for experimentation in the kitchen. If you don’t have all the ingredients mentioned for this vegan eggplant parmigiana recipe, don’t worry! We’ve got plenty of substitutions and variations that will still give you delicious results.
– Flour: Instead of all-purpose flour, try using almond flour or coconut flour to make your eggplant slices gluten-free.
– Cheese: Vegan cheese comes in many varieties and can be a perfect substitute for traditional cheese. You can use vegan mozzarella, vegan cheddar, or even crumbled tofu instead of parmesan cheese.
– Breadcrumb: Panko breadcrumbs are traditionally used in this recipe but you can also use gluten-free breadcrumbs or crushed cornflakes to get a similar crunchy texture.
– Tomato sauce: If you prefer a spicy version, try adding hot paprika to the tomato sauce. Or if you like a smoky flavor, add a few drops of liquid smoke.
– Eggplant slices: You can vary the thickness of your eggplant slices based on your taste. Thinner slices will cook faster and be crispier.
– Marinara sauce: To get a creamier version of this dish, add some peanut butter and nutritional yeast flakes to the marinara sauce. This will create a rich and nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with the eggplant.
– Baked or air fryer version: While the traditionally baked recipe is fantastic, you might want to give your eggplant slices their crispy texture by cooking them in an air fryer or baking them until they’re golden brown.
The possibilities with this vegan eggplant parmigiana recipe are endless. Feel free to experiment with different ingredients and find your perfect variation to suit your taste buds.
Serving and Pairing
When it comes to serving and pairing Vegan Eggplant Parmigiana, there are a few guidelines that can help you elevate your dish. Firstly, consider the texture and density of the eggplant slices, the marinara sauce, and the vegan cheese. This hearty dish pairs well with lighter salads or sides that are crispy, crunchy or have a fresh tangy taste to balance out the rich and savory flavors.
One pairing option for Vegan Eggplant Parmigiana is a simple green salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and sliced cucumbers. You can drizzle the salad with some balsamic vinaigrette or a lemon-garlic dressing to add a bright flavor to your plate.
Another suggestion is to pair this recipe with garlic bread or focaccia for a delicious crunch. You could use store-bought bread or make your own by baking a batch of crispy Italian bread with fresh rosemary and salt.
For those who want to take their pairing game to the next level, consider a glass of red wine like Chianti or Barbera d’Asti. The wine’s acidity will cut through the richness of the tomato sauce and compliment the nutty flavors found in Vegan Eggplant Parmigiana.
Finally, if you’re looking for something sweet after your meal, try serving chilled desserts such as fruit sorbets or vegan gelato. To sum it up, Vegan Eggplant Parmigiana is a versatile main course that pairs well with salads, crispy bread or focaccia, red wine and chilled desserts. Experiment with these easy to find ingredients to find your perfect match!
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
If you’re looking to make this vegan eggplant parmigiana ahead of time, store the baked dish in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator for up to three days. When reheating, place the dish in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 15-20 minutes or until heated through.
Another option for those who are short on time is to opt for an air fryer instead of traditional baking. This method will help you achieve that perfect crispiness without overworking your eggplants or using too much oil. Simply place the breaded eggplant slices in a single layer and cook them in the air fryer at 375°F for 5-7 minutes.
For anyone with dietary restrictions, we offer some suggestions for substitutions to ensure that everyone can enjoy our delicious vegan eggplant parmigiana. Those who are gluten-free can replace breadcrumbs with oats, while dairy-free diners can use vegan cheese alternatives.
Finally, for those looking to experiment with different flavors, we suggest trying out other variations such as fried eggplant casserole or eggplant lasagna alla parmigiana. These recipes not only celebrate plant-based goodness but also allow you to savor different textures and spices that complement any meal.
Overall, once you’ve prepared your vegan eggplant parmigiana dish, don’t be afraid to experiment with how it can be stored and reheated. It’s a versatile recipe that will always taste great no matter how you adjust it.
Tips for Perfect Results
To create the ideal vegan Eggplant Parmigiana recipe, there are several tips and techniques to keep in mind.
Firstly, before cooking the eggplants, it’s necessary to sweat them. This procedure involves slicing the eggplants and sprinkling them with salt. Placing the eggplant slices in a colander and leaving them to release moisture for about thirty minutes can help keep the final dish from being watery. Rinse the salt off thoroughly after they have sweated, then pat dry each slice individually.
Secondly, coat each eggplant slice properly. To get a crunchy result when you cook your eggplant slices, breading them with a vegan parmesan made of panko breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast flakes, garlic powder, paprika powder and lemon pepper is essential. Make sure that each slice is coated evenly so that it won’t lose its moisture while cooking.
Thirdly, the use of an air fryer or oven can make a significant difference in reducing oil intake and achieving texture. The air fryer will generally give better results than just baking the eggplant but will also take up more space on your countertop.
Fourthly, it’s crucial to keep in mind how much time you place each slice of eggplant on the heated surface. Overcooking will not only burn the dish but also dry out the eggplant. Undercooking can also result in underdone texture and a lengthy baking time to ensure all layers are cooked correctly.
Finally, when making this recipe for guests or large groups of people, prepare the dish ahead of time instead of rushing through last-minute preparations. The dish can be assembled and stored in advance in the refrigerator until required. Reheating takes only a few minutes either in batches in an oven or microwave.
With these tips and techniques at hand, you’ll soon be able to impress yourself or friends with some delicious vegan Eggplant Parmigiana that’s both wholesome and scrumptious.
Before getting started with this recipe, you may have some questions about certain ingredients or cooking methods. To help you make this vegan Eggplant Parmigiana recipe with ease and confidence, we have compiled some frequently asked questions (FAQ). These questions will guide you through any confusion and give tips to help you attain perfect results. So, let’s dive in!
What can I substitute for eggs in eggplant parmesan?
When creating eggplant parmesan, eggs are typically used to bind the breading together. However, I found that using a plant-based milk such as almond milk can work just as well. By following the simple steps of dipping the eggplant in flour, almond milk, and bread crumbs in that order, the bread crumbs will adhere perfectly without the need for eggs.
Should you sweat eggplant before making eggplant parmesan?
One important step to take when preparing eggplant for Baked Eggplant Parmesan is “sweating” it. This helps to remove any bitterness that may be present in the eggplant. Even though not all eggplants will have this issue, it’s better to be safe than sorry and take this extra step to ensure the dish turns out flawlessly.
What does soaking eggplant in milk do?
For a more enjoyable eggplant dish, consider soaking your eggplant slices or cubes in milk for 30 minutes before cooking. This technique not only reduces the bitterness of the vegetable but also results in a creamier texture. The eggplant absorbs the milk like a sponge, making it extra moist and soft.
How do you make eggplant parmesan not soggy?
To achieve a crispy and less soggy eggplant parmesan dish, a simple yet effective method is to sprinkle salt on the eggplant slices. This will pull out the excess moisture from the eggplant, allowing it to fry evenly and become crispy when coated with breadcrumbs.
As we reach the end of this article, I hope that you have been convinced of the deliciousness and versatility of vegan Eggplant Parmigiana. This classic Italian dish has been given a plant-based twist and is now an easy vegetarian or vegan option. With a few easy substitutions, you can make a mouth-watering, healthy meal that will impress even the most skeptical of eaters.
By using ingredients like nutritional yeast flakes, liquid smoke, and peanut butter, this recipe provides flavor and richness without any animal products. You can also be creative with your substitutions and variations, adding in favorite ingredients like mushrooms or spinach for added texture and nutrition.
Whether you’re looking for a gluten-free option, trying to cut back on dairy, or simply want to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet, this vegan Eggplant Parmigiana will satisfy your appetite and leave you feeling nourished.
So go ahead, give it a try! With the tips and recommendations provided in this article for perfect results every time, you’ll be enjoying a delicious meal in no time. And who knows? Maybe this dish will become a new family favorite or dinner party crowd-pleaser. After all, who doesn’t love Alla Parmigiana done plant-based style?
Vegan Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe
- 1 medium eggplant
Eggplant Batter and Breading
- 3 tablespoons egg substitute
- 9 tablespoons water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
- 1 2/3 cups vegan panko breadcrumbs (Japanese Style Bread Crumbs)
- 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, Chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, Minced
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon ground marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 1 cup plain soymilk
- 3 tablespoons quick-cooking oats
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon peanut butter
- 5 drops sesame oil
- 4 drops liquid smoke
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Preheat Oven to 425 degrees F.
- Slice eggplants length-wise into 1/2 inch slices(from top to bottom-don't need to peel). Mix egg replacer, water, salt, lemon pepper in a dish long enough to accommodate the size of the eggplant, with a fork. If it has a few lumps it doesn't matter. Put bread crumbs and olive oil in the food processor and pulse a few times to mix together. Reserve 1/3 cup of the bread crumbs for the top of the finished dish.
- Dip first into liquid and then dredge them into the bread crumbs. Spray cookie sheet with olive oil and place eggplants on sheet. Roast this for 25 minutes or until golden brown and tender.
- Meanwhile, prepare tomato sauce by placing olive oil in a sauce pan with onions and garlic. Saute on medium heat until onions are lightly brown. Add the 1/2 cup of water and simmer for 5 minutes. Then add tomatoes and tomato sauce, marjoram, thyme, oregano, lemon pepper, onion and garlic powder, sugar and salt. Let simmer on medium to low heat while eggplant finishes cooking.
- While the sauce is cooking, in a food processor, add all of the cheeze ingredients and blend together.
- When the eggplant is done. In 9"X10" glass casserole dish, layer by starting with tomato sauce, eggplant, then cheeze. Lastly coat the top with the remaining bread crumbs. Place in oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbling hot and brown on top.
- Top with fresh parsley if you want.
Add Your Own Notes
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Jolo is a talented chef and food blogger with a passion for vegan and Caribbean flavors. From savory vegetarian dishes to tropical smoothies, Jolo’s Kitchen has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for meat-free meals or creative Caribbean recipes, Jolo’s Kitchen is the perfect place for you.