This past weekend, a buddy of mine had an Oktoberfest block party, and he and his wife were kind enough to invite the Blonde and I. Well, we knew full well that we would be the only vegans there, so when I RSVP’d, I asked what we should bring. I was told “Just bring whatever your specialty is.”
My specialty? Well, that means Italian, baked, and pretty healthy. . . We got 5 eggplants from our CSA, so, Eggplant ‘Parm’ it is!
I busted out my trusty Vitamix and mandoline, and got cracking. Enjoy!
Vegan Superstar Eggpant Parm
About 450 g, or 1 medium and 1/2 of 1 large eggplant, peeled
1.5 cups breadcrumbs ( I used panko bread crumbs)
2/3 cup unflavored, unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used flax, but, whatever)
1 16 oz. pack extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed lightly
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp toasted pignoli
1/4 c Tofutti cream cheese
2 Tbsp olive oil
1.5 c Pasta sauce (like my mom’s recipe. Just sayin’. . .)
More nutritional yeast
To start, slice the eggplant to 1/8″. I used a mandoline slicer, but if you don’t have one (buy one) you can just slice them thin. I laid out my eggplant slices in the 9×13 pan that I was using, so that I would know how many slices to make. I laid them out in three layers, overlapping slightly, and needed one additional row of slices once I was ready to bake.
Once sliced, brown the eggplant slightly in a dry skillet over medium-low heat. I used my cast-iron, but any skillet will do.
Set the eggplant slices aside and let cool.
Meanwhile, crumble the tofu in to a blender or food processor ( I used the Vitamix), and add the toasted pignoli, the cream cheese, and the salt. Process on medium high until it starts to become creamy, adding the oil as you go to get the “ricotta” soft and creamy.
Fill one shallow dish with the breadcrumbs, and another next to it with the non-dairy milk. Add your seasonings to the breadcrumbs until they look like something that you want to eat. I tried to add the spices until it looked good. Play it by eye.
Now, preheat the oven to 375*.
Layer the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with about a 1/4′ of sauce, and then lay in one layer of eggplant, dredged in the milk and the breadcrumb mixture.
Once you have covered the bottom of the dish completely, dollop on about 1/3 cup of the tofu ricotta mixture, and spread it in with about 1/4 cup of the pasta sauce. Repeat with another layer of eggplant, tofu, and sauce.
Lay in a 3rd layer of breaded eggplant, and cover with 1/2 – 3/4 c sauce and 1/2 c ricotta. Cover the top layer of eggplant completely to ensure that in cooking, the eggplant doesn’t dry out.
Dust the eggplant with nutritional yeast before covering with aluminum foil.
Bake eggplant at 375 for 25 minutes, covered with foil. Remove foil and bake 5-10 minutes more, remove and serve.
This eggplant parm was such a big hit, that I actually had two complaints:
1. There we no leftovers. This was supposed to be my dinner on Tuesday and Thursday nights this week.
2. It went so quickly, that the only people we had a chance to tell it was vegan were the hosts. None of the people who ate it, except for the two of us, were even vegetarian, but we didn’t have a chance to let anyone know that they were eating delicious vegan food!
Ahhh, vegan problems. . .
So, anything like this is my go-to for parties or pot-luck style dinners. What’s your go-to? (And can I have the recipe 😉 )