Dairy-Free Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

Hello my loves! I hope you have been enjoying the summer. My summer garden is continuing to flourish bringing us an abundance of eggplant, basil and tomatoes… mmmm, can’t you just taste an Italian dish? How about Eggplant Parmesan?!

I have to admit that this is my SIGNATURE dish. My close friends and family can attest to the yumminess of this dish. I learned the secret to the perfect Eggplant Parmesan from my Italian friend, Laura. She is from Rome- they know their food there. She made this for me once, and ever since, I have never viewed eggplant parmesan the same. Don’t get me wrong, I love eggplant parmesan in every version it could ever be made. In my experience (I lived in Italy for 2 years and ate A LOT of eggplant parmesan) most of the time it includes fried and breaded eggplant. The version she taught me, however, is much lighter because the eggplant is baked.

In my version, I have modified the recipe to make it dairy-free, but Oh SO Delicious you won’t even know it’s not there.

 

 

And now for the main course…Dairy-Free Eggplant Parmesan RecipeYum- are you ready? I must warn you, this is not the fastest meal to prepare. But I promise you that it is totally worth the effort.

Ingredients:

Eggplant 
2 medium globe eggplants, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
3-4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon sea salt

Tomato Sauce (if you have a several pounds of fresh tomatoes, you can definitely make your own sauce from them- I didn’t have that many tomatoes at the time, so I used the canned tomatoes.)

1 28 oz can of Eden’s organic crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon sea salt
handful of fresh basil, finely chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, whole or chopped
1-2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Cashew Cream Sauce
1 cup raw cashews
2/3 cup water
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast

Preparation

Eggplant:
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Combine olive oil and sea salt in a bowl and stir to mix.
3. Using a basting brush, coat both sides of each eggplant slice with a thin layer of the salt and olive oil mixture. If you run out of the mixture while basting the eggplant, just pour some more olive oil into the bowl and continue basting.
4. Place the coated slices of eggplant on a baking sheet (you will need 2-3 baking sheets depending on their sizes) arranging them so that they are not overlapping.
5. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the pieces are soft, not gummy.
6. Remove from oven and set aside until ready to start the layering.

Tomato Sauce:
1. Pour crushed tomatoes into large pan.
2. Add sea salt, olive oil and garlic.
3. Stir to combine and turn heat to medium.
4. Once bubbling, turn the heat to low and let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, until the sauce has reduced down to a nice thickness.
5. Remove from heat.
6. Add a touch more olive oil and the fresh basil.
7. Stir to combine.

Cashew Cream Sauce:
1. Place all ingredients into a high-speed blender, and blend until smooth (about 45 seconds).
2. Pour into bowl.

Putting it all together

You can bake this in the oven at 375 F, or if you have run out of time and need to run, you can layer this into a slow cooker and cook for 2 hours on low and come home to a scrumptious meal.

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Lightly grease a 9 X 13 baking dish.
3. Place the first layer of eggplant in the dish, overlapping the slices just a bit if necessary.
4. Layer on a level of tomato sauce. If it is thick, put big dollops on the eggplant and then spread it around. If it is thinner then you can just pour it over the slices. In any case, try to cover all of the eggplant.
5. Spoon on a layer of the cashew cream sauce- again trying to cover most of the eggplant or anything that was left uncovered by the tomato sauce.
6. Repeat the layering until you are out of eggplant, tomato sauce or cashew cream sauce.
7. Cover with foil and place in oven for 45 minutes.
8. Serve and enjoy!

You can eat this all by itself, but I like to serve it with a nice helping of sauteed or steamed greens like spinach or kale.

Note that I used both Globe and Japanese style eggplants because I just had 2 small globe eggplants, but I prefer the Globe eggplants because they have more flesh and relatively less skin.
And voila’! A slice of eggplant parmesan heaven! Buon appetito!

 

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