For some reason, eggplant used to intimidate me. Its floppy texture, neutral taste, and seemingly over-involved cooking methods made me think it would be something I’d never master.
I was wrong.
Since getting my hands on my first eggplant last year, it’s become one of my absolute favorite fruits (yes, fruit, even though it’s a vegetable in my book).
Two of my absolute favorite recipes utilizing eggplant have been my Cashew-less Vegan Queso and my Eggplant and Caramelized Onion Dip. It’s neutral flavor help it absorb flavors extremely well, and depending on how you cook it, its texture is extremely versatile – from super creamy to super crisp.
And in this little gem of a recipe, it’s crispy to the max.
This recipe was inspired by one of my favorite food bloggers, Izy from Top with Cinnamon. It’s straight out of her beautiful new cookbook, Top With Cinnamon.
Although it’s not a vegan cookbook, it has a lot of recipes that can be easily adapted to a vegan diet. And when I laid my eyes on her crispy aubergine pesto pasta, I knew it was the one for me.
- 1 medium eggplant (as narrow as possible – see notes for more tips)
- 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour (or other flour of choice)
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (GF for gluten free eaters)
- 2 Tbsp vegan parmesan + more for serving (or sub 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast)
- 1 tsp dried oregano (or 2 tsp fresh)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (or other neutral milk)
- 1 tsp cornstarch
PASTA + SAUCE
- 8 ounces pasta (such as linguini, but any kind will do, including veggie noodles or gluten free)
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- Slice eggplant into thin rounds slightly less than 1/2 inch thick, and sprinkle each side liberally with sea salt. Arrange in a circular pattern in a colander and place in the sink to draw out the bitter taste of the eggplant.
- Let rest for 15 minutes, then rinse and arrange on a clean absorbent kitchen towel. Top with another clean dish towel and lay a baking sheet on top. Place something heavy on top, such as a cast iron skillet, to thoroughly dry for at least 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil and spritz with nonstick spray. Also, if making pasta, bring water to a boil in a large saucepan.
- Prepare your dipping stations by placing almond milk + cornstarch in one bowl; flour in another bowl; and bread crumbs + sea salt + oregano + vegan parmesan (or nutritional yeast) in another bowl.
- Once thoroughly dry, dip eggplant slices in flour, then almond milk mixture, then breadcrumbs. Arrange on the baking sheet and pop in oven to bake for a total of 20-30 minutes.
You can find complete recipes of this VEGAN EGGPLANT PARMESAN in minimalistbaker.com