Baked Eggplant Parmesan
I pulled the eggplants from the garden today–so sad to yank their roots when violet flowers are still blooming. The poor little plants sure wanted to keep growing, but with the cooler weather and with my fall seedlings needing a home, it was just time.
The okra met its maker too.
In honor of the end of eggplant season (oh, don’t worry, I’ve got eggplants to use up in future MoFo recipes!), I cooked up a little Baked Eggplant Parmesan. Strange twist, I only had half the bread crumbs I needed so I used half panko, half unsweetened coconut flakes. It totally worked. In that weird slightly coconut-y way (definitely recommend using all panko if you make the recipe).
It’s a simple end of summer dish–that trust tomato sauce I can every few weeks, fresh eggplant, a cashew cream instead of mozzarella, and a dash of basil to garnish. Compared to all the authentic recipes, this one is light but still filling and takes half the time. No frying and then baking–just baking, stacking, and enjoying–perfect with a deep pinot noir!
Baked Eggplant Parmesan
1 large eggplant, peeled & sliced into 1/2″ thick rounds
2 c panko bread crumbs
1/4 c almond milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 c cashews, soaked overnight and drained
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt
Almond milk, as needed
1 pint tomato sauce of choice (I used this recipe)
Place the eggplant rounds on a cooling rack over a plate or baking tray. Sprinkle liberally with salt on both sides. Let sit 30 minutes. (This draws out the water from the eggplant and makes it not turn to mush when you cook with it.)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place parchment paper or silpat in a baking tray.
Rinse the eggplant slices and pat dry with a towel. Place the almond milk in a dish and the panko in another dish/pie tin. Mix 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper into the panko.
Using one hand, dip each eggplant slice into the almond milk and coat all sides. Using the other dry hand, place the coated eggplant in the panko and cover completely with panko. Place on the prepared baking tray. Repeat with all eggplant slices.
Bake for 15 minutes, flip, and bake for another 7-10 minutes, until golden brown. Once browned, remove from oven.
Meanwhile, prepare the cashew sauce by combine the soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, salt, and a dash of almond milk in a blender/food processor. Blend until smooth. Add as much almond milk as needed to achieve the right consistency. Adjust salt and nutritional yeast to taste.
Serve with tomato sauce of choice and garnish with fresh herbs.