Eggplant Parm without dairy? Say whaaaat?! Yes, this recipe is for real, and if you love this popular vegetarian dish then you’re in for a treat!
Eggplant Parm was one of my top five foods during my vegetarian years in my teens and twenties, along with veggie burgers, cheesy egg sandwiches, stir-fry rice bowls and cheesy enchiladas. Lots ’o cheese and carbs in my diet back then. *cringe* In fact, I recall ordering Eggplant Parm on my very first date with B, 15 years ago! He ordered a meaty lasagna…Why do I remember food from over a decade ago? That can’t be normal.
Since going dairy-free with my cooking I’ve blocked Eggplant Parm out of my mind, since it’s traditionally drenched in cheese. Not to mention the breading and frying. Amazing flavor, but not exactly healthy. Recently, however, I decided that I simply HAD to hack my beloved old Parm – by making it without the dairy, grains or frying.
This Real Healthy Eggplant Parm honesty couldn’t have turned out better! I made this dish when B was out of town and valiantly tried to save him some…but couldn’t stop myself! If you love traditional Eggplant Parm then this lightened up version is a must-try! Hopefully you’ll be better at sharing than I was…
**You could double this Eggplant Parm to make another one for the freezer to pull out as a quick dinner on another day. Make the second one all the way through the final step, but once you cover the casserole pan with foil, wrap it with plastic wrap and place it in the freezer instead of into the oven for that last 30 min. Thaw the frozen Parm in the fridge on the day you are going to enjoy it, remove the plastic, and then bake, cover with foil, at 350 for 30 minutes, until fully heated.**
½ batch of Dairy-Free Cashew Cheese
2 large eggplants, cut into ¼″ slices
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 cup coconut flour
4 eggs, beaten
¼ cup flax meal
½ cup almond flour
1 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 can (28oz) diced tomatoes
½ cup fresh basil, chopped
dash of sea salt
dash of black pepper
Batch of Dairy-Free Cashew Cheese (click for recipe. It’s possible to make the day before)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place wire cooling racks over paper towels and place the eggplant slices over the racks in a single layer. Sprinkle generously with salt and allow to sit for an hour. Once the bitter liquid has been drawn out of the eggplant, wipe the salt and liquid off each slice with a paper towel.
Combine the bowl ingredients in 3 separate, shallow bowls. Arrange so that you can easily access the bowls, with 2 rimmed baking sheets within reach. Take each slice of eggplant and dredge through the coconut flour in bowl #1, dip in the beaten egg in bowl #2, and coat with the almond flour, flax, and nutritional yeast mixture of bowl #3. Place the baking sheets of eggplant slices into the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, flipping halfway through the bake time.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes, until fragrant. Add the canned tomato and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. Add the fresh basil and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees. Assemble your Eggplant Parm in a casserole pan by layering half of the sauce, topped with half of the eggplant slices, topped with a sprinkling of 75% of the cashew cheese, topped with the remaining eggplant, topped with the remaining sauce, topped with the remaining cashew cheese. Cover the casserole with foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Enjoy!