Eggplant Parmigiana Bake
This is the pub classic that everyone loves, veganised and turned into a bake. Crispy breadcrumb fried eggplant cooked in layers of marinara sauce and topped with the smoothest, creamiest, non-dairy cheese sauce you've tasted. Absolutely delicious.
Rich in fibre and vitamins A & C, eggplants are full of nutrients. I love them!
This isn't the quickest meal to make, but it's incredibly delicious and so worth the time it takes for all the parts of this dish. It's a great meal to prepare and pop in the oven while you do your yoga or meditation session. Then you can treat and fuel your body with this rich nourishment when you're complete.
Gluten free and vegan.
2 large or 3 medium sized eggplants
salt to remove excess water
3 cups of gluten free breadcrumbs
¼ tspn salt
¼ tspn dried herbs, like oregano, thyme or rosemary
1 800g can whole peeled tomatoes
1 brown onion, peeled and chopped
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tblspns extra-virgin olive oil
1 tspn dried oregano
fresh basil leaves
salt, to taste
2 tblspns vegan butter or Ghee
500ml (2 cups) non-dairy milk
1/2 cup gluten free plain flour
¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes for a cheesy taste (use regular cheese if you don't need vegan)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
gluten free Breadcrumbs
2 tblspns vegan butter or ghee, melted
Italian dried herbs like oregano, thyme, or rosemary
Preparing the eggplant:
Slice your eggplant into thick slices. Sprinkle each slice with salt to remove the moisture and leave to rest for 15 minutes while you cook the marinara sauce.
In a medium sized saucepan, heat olive oil then add onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, until they are soft and translucent. Add garlic and tomatoes (with their juices) and the herbs.
Bring the sauce to an almost boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer and continue to cook for approximately 45 minutes. Stir occasionally using a wooden spoon and crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot part way through, after about 15 minutes.
Add salt, to taste.
To create a smooth sauce, blend the sauce with a stick blender or place into a food processor.
Rinse eggplant and paper towel dry or put in a salad spinner if you have one.
Coat each slice of eggplant in breadcrumbs and grill in a hot oiled pan until golden brown on both sides. Set aside to cool while you prepare the bechamel sauce.
Heat the vegan butter in a pan over medium heat. Add all purpose flour and fry the flour in the oil, constantly stirring, until the flour is fully coated and cooked off.
Gradually add milk and stir vigorously, you might like to use a whisk. Continue to stir over low/medium heat until sauce has thickened. When the sauce has thickened, remove it from the heat and stir in nutritional yeast, salt and nutmeg.
Set aside. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
Breadcrumb bake topping
Put the breadcrumbs into a large bowl and add salt and dried herbs. Melt the vegan butter and add to the breadcrumbs and combine. Set aside as you prepare the rest of the bake.
Assemble and Baking
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Coat the bottom of a casserole dish with oil and add a layer of eggplant, followed by about a third of the marinara sauce.
Top it with half of the remaining eggplant and about a third of the cheese sauce.
Add the last of the eggplant, followed by the remaining marinara sauce and lastly the rest of the bechamel cheese sauce.
Sprinkle the buttery breadcrumbs over the top and place into the preheated oven to bake for 20 minutes until the top is golden brown.
Serve with a vibrant fresh salad and, if you want it to be especially pub like, with a side of fries or home made wedges as well.