Recipes / Veganism

Meat-Free Monday Recipe: Fried Eggplant (aka Eggplant Parm Without the Parm)

This past Sunday night, exhausted from a weekend of running around, my partner declared he would cook me dinner. Wait, what?? Of course you can cook me dinner! Growing up in an Italian family, he loves Eggplant Parmesan. Although you certainly don’t have to be Italian to crave this dish (I’m not and I do!). So he whipped up one batch for himself and a cheeseless version for me. Isn’t he the best??

Crispy seasoned breading on the outside, tender eggplant on the inside, drenched in tomato sauce. Delicious. A hearty, filling  dish perfect for those chilly nights. And the BF’s secret to the perfect breading? Put the flour on first. Who knew??

So here’s his recipe for Eggplant Parm, minus the parm. Vegans rejoice!

Fried Eggplant (aka Eggplant Parm Without the Parm)

1 medium size eggplant
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups plain soy milk
9 ounces panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon basil, dried
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon marjoram, dried
1/2 teaspoon oregano, dried
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Peal the eggplant. Cut the eggplant in 1/8 inch slices.

2. Spread out eggplant slices and sprinkle salt on them to cut the bitterness. Buying the absolute freshest eggplants you can at a farmer’s market will also do the trick as the older eggplants are, the more susceptible they are to bitterness. But that’s not always possible, so grocery store and salt sprinkling, here I come.

3. In a bowl, mix bread crumbs, basil, garlic powder, marjoram, oregano and a pinch of salt and pepper.

4. Set up a station for breading with 1 bowl of flour, 1 bowl of soy milk and 1 bowl of the bread crumb mixture.

5. Dredge the eggplant in flour, then soy milk and finally breadcrumbs.

6. Heat olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Fry the eggplant in olive oil until golden brown. Flip and fry on other side.

7. Take eggplant out of the oil and let sit for 2 minutes on a paper towel to soak up excess oil.

8.  Put a thick layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of an 8×8 glass pan. Place a layer of fried eggplant slices on top. Then place a second layer of fried eggplant slices on top. Pour a layer of tomato sauce on top.

9. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes.

10. For crispier eggplant, skip the baking. Just warm up the tomato sauce and drizzle it over the fried eggplant.

Bon appétit! | Serves 6-8

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