I used to think I hated eggplant. Turns out I just hated eggplant that was cooked the wrong way, aka eggplant mush. In the past few years I’ve developed a serious love for eggplant, and I love finding new ways to prepare it. We got a huge eggplant in our veggie delivery, and I was excited to try something new.
This is not your typical eggplant parmesan. Most recipes call for layering breaded eggplant with sauce and cheese, resulting in a dish that can quickly go from soft to complete mush. Not my idea of a tasty meal. Instead, I’ve breaded the eggplant with panko breadcrumbs and baked it, topping it with cheese during the last few minutes of cooking time. The eggplant is served on top of pasta with your favorite sauce. The result is perfectly cooked eggplant with a nice crispy exterior. I used spaghetti and some jarred sauce, but feel free to switch it up. Use whatever pasta and sauce you love, or happen to have in the pantry.
Vegan Eggplant Parmesan
1/2 lb dried spaghetti
2 c marinara sauce
1 large globe eggplant
1 c panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp Italian seasoning
2 tbsp Vegan Parmesan cheese*
1/3 c olive oil
1/2 c Daiya mozzarella cheese
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
In a shallow dish mix together the breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning and vegan Parmesan cheese. Prepare the eggplant by peeling it and slicing it into 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch rounds. Peeling is not necessary, so feel free to leave the skin on if that’s how you like your eggplant.
Brush both sides of the eggplant slice with olive oil and coat with the breadcrumb mixture. You will need to press the breadcrumbs into the eggplant to make sure it’s coated well. Place the eggplant on a greased cookie sheet and repeat with remaining slices.
Cook the eggplant for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. While the eggplant is cooking, add the pasta to the water and cook according to the package directions. When the pasta is done, drain it and top with your sauce. Keep warm until time to serve. After 20 minutes, turn the oven to broil and broil the eggplant for 1-2 minutes on the first side, until the eggplant starts to turn golden in color. Take the eggplant out, turn each slice over and top each slice of eggplant with 1-1 1/2 tbsp vegan mozzarella cheese. Broil the second side for 1-2 minutes until it turns golden in color and the cheese melts.
Serve the eggplant with the pasta, and top with extra sauce and more vegan Parmesan cheese if you prefer.
*A few thoughts on vegan Parmesan cheese…For this recipe I used Galaxy Nutritional Foods vegan Parmesan cheese. There are not a lot of options out there for vegan Parmesan cheese. Before I went vegan, I would buy really good Italian cheese. Locatelli Romano was my favorite, and I’d usually buy it in bulk when I went to Pittsburgh to visit family. This Parmesan cheese has a nice nutty and salty flavor. It’s no Locatelli Romano, but it’s definitely better than the stuff in the green canister. Matt used some on top of his spaghetti, and he liked it.