Eggplant Parmesan

Even though I have never been a fan of eggplant, for reason’s unbeknownst to me, I’ve been dying to create an eggplant parmesan recipe (in an animal free form of course).

We have been staying in Victoria this Thanksgiving weekend watching one of the Megans compete in the Royal Victoria Marathon and visiting family.  Tonight I offered to make dinner, and better yet, I got to do it in this kitchen!

What better time to try out a completely “from my head” recipe; for a skeptical, carnivorous audience.  Seconds were had and leftovers are scant.  I think I pulled it off…

Servings:  6
Prep Time:  40 minutes
Cook Time:  45 minutes

Tomato Sauce:

1 large can whole tomatoes
6 cloves (or more) garlic
4-5 shallots
1 sprig fresh basil
1 tbsp agave nectar (not shown here – I had to use honey as this kitchen was ill equipped!)
salt and pepper to taste

Breaded Eggplant:

4 small, firm eggplants (the more firm, the less seeds)
1-1 1/2 cups brown rice or panko style breadcrumbs  * see note
olive oil for frying
1 cup Daiya mozzarella cheese

Cannellini Bean Filling:

1 398 ml can cannellini beans
salt and pepper to taste

* you can choose to fry the eggplant without any breading at all.  In this case, bring olive oil to temperature in a fry pan as if it were breaded and fry about 3 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Because we were having this in Victoria and I knew there would be no food processor at my fingertips, I processed my cannellini beans in advance.  You can however use a fork or potato masher to blend the beans if you do not have a food processor at your disposal.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Finely chop the shallots and garlic.

Saute the shallots over high heat until transparent.

Add the garlic, turn down the heat to medium and continue to cook for a few more minutes.

Add the whole tomatoes and mash with a wooden spoon until smooth (I prefer not to use a hand blender or blender in this case as it is nice to have some sort of texture to the sauce).   Cook over low heat about 40 minutes.  In the meantime, prepare the eggplant.

Slice the eggplant into slices about 3/8″ thick.

Salt each slice and put in a colander to drain (the bitterness and excess water will come out of the eggplant over a period of about 30 minutes).

Do this with all the eggplant and set aside for 30 minutes.

When you are ready to bread the eggplant, chop the fresh basil and add to the tomato sauce.

Rinse the salt from the slices and let drain just a few minutes.  Spread the breadcrumbs or panko on a plate and lightly dredge each eggplant slice in the breading until coated (the coating will stick to the wet eggplant).

Put the breaded slices immediately into a a hot oiled pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

Spread the tomato sauce in the bottom of large baking dish (9″ X 13″).  Dollop the bean mixture evenly on top of the tomato sauce.

Place the fried, breaded eggplant on top of the bean mixture (it should be about two layers if you use all the eggplant).

Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and cover the dish with tin foil.

Bake in a 375 degree fahrenheit oven for 30 minutes.  Remove the tin foil and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let settle for about 10 minutes. Serve hot with salad and garlic bread on a ridiculously large table such as this:

Eggplant never tasted so good!


4 Responses to “Eggplant Parmesan”

  1. 1 Jason October 11, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Delicious. That IS an enormous table… and those hands dredging the eggplant… very handsome!

  2. 2 *dalyn October 12, 2010 at 11:47 am

    those look yummy! how does the vegan cheese melt? does it have a plastic consistency/chew to it? *d

    • 3 Melissa McMahon October 12, 2010 at 11:54 am

      Daiya cheese acts and melts EXACTLY as real cheese. It stretches perfectly, it can be frozen and it regains its stretch upon heating numerous times. There is NO artificial taste, in fact the mozza tastes like mozza in it’s raw form (I haven’t tasted the cheddar raw). If melted into sauces such as mac and cheese, it does not separate or clump (remember trying to re-heat kraft dinner – it was rubber after it cooled down?). yeah, Daiya does not do that, it is just as creamy upon the reheat as it was made fresh.
      Put it this way – my dad who is a cheese gobbler and a massive carnivore, could NOT tell the difference. When we told him it was fake cheese he was dumbfounded. He thought we were pulling his leg. The even more beautiful thing about this cheese is that it’s not tofu based! Awesome product.

  3. 4 Gen harris October 16, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Yum! Wish I was there to enjoy it with u all- looks delish! (eggplant not hands).

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