bare eggplant parmigiana
As an Italian family, we grew up eating lots of eggplant and we loveeeee it. Of course, this includes eggplant parmigiana, because who the heck doesn't love a good eggplant parm. However, we have always thought that the typical eggplant parm has so much breading that you can barely taste or find the eggplant!
Obviously, less breading would make the dish lighter and "healthier," but aside from that, we really just think it would be better with less breading and more eggplant, regardless of "health" reasons.
So, we bring you, a lightly breaded eggplant Parmesan, that also happens to be gluten free and dairy free. We used egg to help coat the eggplant in the breading, which also makes it crisp up a bit better, but if you wanted it to be vegan, you could spray or coat the eggplant slices in some oil or non-dairy milk and the bread crumbs would likely stick just fine (but we have not tested this).
We served out eggplant "parmigiana" on top of a bed of zucchini noodles that we lightly cooked in a pan with a little olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.
1 large eggplant
2 jars of pasta sauce (we love Fody Arrabbiata or Raos )
^or you can do homemade, you'll need at least 32oz
1/2 C almond meal
1/2 C Italian bread crumbs (we use Aleias gluten free)*
2 Tb nutritional yeast
optional vegan mozzarella
1/2 tsp salt + pepper
crushed red pepper
*omit breadcrumbs and do all almond meal for vegan
*omit egg and coat in olive oil or non-dairy milk for vegan
If you want to "sweat" your eggplant, take this step, and if not, move straight to step 2. "Sweating" it will help reduce the bitterness of the eggplant and tenderizes it. Thinly slice your eggplant into rounds, place in a colander, and coat them in a very generous amount of salt. Let sit for 30 minutes (you should see beads of water coming out of the eggplant), then thoroughly rinse and pat dry.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, and if you skipped step 1, cut your eggplant into thinly sliced rounds.
In a baking dish, fill the bottom with a thin layer of pasta sauce.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg.
On a large plate or dish, combine almond meal and bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and oregano.
Make your eggplant layers. (The layering in the dish once completed should be: sauce, breaded eggplant, sauce, optional mozzarella, another breaded eggplant, sauce, and Parmesan.) Follow below for step by step instruction for layers.
Take an eggplant slice, dip in the egg, then coat each side with the breading.
Place the round in the baking dish, then add a spoonful of sauce on top of the round. If you are using mozzarella or vegan mozzarella, add that on top.
Take another slice of eggplant, dip in the egg, coat in the breading and layer it on top of the other eggplant round.
Move on to a new eggplant slice and continue to make your layers, each with 2 slices of eggplant.
Once all layers are finished, cover the top layer in sauce, then sprinkle with vegan Parmesan and top with fresh basil. You may add an additional sprinkle of nutritional yeast on top as well.
Bake for 20-25 minutes and enjoy. We served ours over zoodles cooked in a little olive oil and lemon. Enjoy!