Sometimes when I make a recipe, I like the whole recipe pretty well, but a certain component strikes me as so awesome that I almost want to give it its own post. Such was the case with the eggplant cutlets in this eggplant parmesan. Hot dang, were they ever tasty. I’d love to use them in sandwiches, or on their own as a main dish, or wherever one might use chicken cutlets if one ate chicken.
Which isn’t to imply that the eggplant parmesan recipe wasn’t great – it was! I just thought I’d give a shout out to the eggplant cutlets because they came out really nicely and I wouldn’t want them to get ignored even though I forgot to get good pictures of them on their own. Seriously, try these sometime.
If you’ve ever made eggplant parmesan, this whole process should be pretty familiar – the only real difference between this recipe and the non-vegan version is that instead of shredding up some mozzarella and parmesan, you have to make your “cheese” in a saucepan, but that doesn’t take much time at all.
The first thing to do is to start your water boiling for your noodles, and get your marinara sauce simmering. Then peel and slice your eggplant vertically into cutlets, sprinkle it liberally with salt, and let them sit for about 20-30 minutes.
Then mix up some almond, soy, or whatever milk substitute you prefer with some brown rice flour and a couple spices and put it in a nice wide shallow dish (I recommend a pie pan, if you’ve got one around).
Once your eggplants are nice and sweaty (that sounds gross), rinse the salt off and dip them in this batter until coated. Then sprinkle them liberally with breadcrumbs and set them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Bake them at 450 degrees for about 8 minutes per side until nice and crispy and remove from the oven.
While those bake, you can boil your noodles and mix up your “cheese,” which is the same melty white cheese I use for my vegan, gluten free pizza recipe. Try to time everything so that the cheese and cutlets finish right around when the pasta is finished – the timing is the hardest part, but it’s not really that hard or that finicky so don’t stress about it too much.
Once everything is done, heat up the broiler and assemble your dish. If you have oven-safe plates, I recommend creating single-serving plates for a lovely presentation (they only get popped under the broiler for a couple minutes so it shouldn’t be too taxing on them) – if you don’t have oven safe plates just assemble it all in a casserole dish and slice into individual servings later. Either way, lay down your drained noodles, cover them in marinara sauce, top with eggplant cutlets, a bit more sauce, and your cheese mixture. Broil for just a couple minutes to get the cheesy sauce browned and bubbly, and serve! The plates will be hot so be careful with that.
Not the simplest recipe in the world, but easier than lasagna! (That’s a good kitchen motto: “At least it’s easier than lasagna!”) If you want to save a step, it really doesn’t even need the “cheese” – obviously it wouldn’t be eggplant “parmesan,” then, but it’s really good and flavorful with just the cutlets, noodles and sauce.
For the noodles:
- 1 lb brown rice spaghetti noodles
For the cutlets:
- One large eggplant peeled and sliced vertically into 8 cutlets
- 1 c. milk substitute of your choice
- 3/4 c. brown rice flour or other flour of your choice
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp dried parsley
- 1/4 tsp dried basil
- 2 cups breadcrumbs make sure to use gluten free if you're GF
For the marinara sauce:
- 1 recipe marinara sauce
For the “cheese” (recipe from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook by Jo Stepaniak)
- 1 1/2 c. water or plain nondairy milk I used rice milk
- 1/4 c. nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/4 cup flour any kind, I used brown rice flour
- 2 Tablespoons sesame tahini
- 2 Tablespoons kuzu arrowroot, or cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Spread your eggplant slices out on a cookie sheet or cutting board and sprinkle them liberally with salt, letting them sit for 20-30 minutes to sweat. Start boiling a large pot of water for noodles, and start simmering your marinara sauce.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. From the cutlets ingredients list, mix together the milk, brown rice flour, apple cider vinegar, salt, oregano, parsley, and basil in a wide shallow dish until well blended. Rinse your eggplant slices and pat them dry. Dip them in the batter mixture until well coated, and then sprinkle liberally with breadcrumbs. Place on a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes per side until breadcrumbs are lightly browned and crispy. When you remove them from the oven, start preheating your broiler.
- When your water has come to a boil, add spaghetti noodles and boil as directed on the package. Drain and divide evenly amongst 2-4 oven safe plates (or in a 9x13 casserole dish).
- To make the cheese sauce, combine all cheese sauce ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Heat in a small saucepan over medium heat until thickened.
- Once cheese, noodles, sauce, and cutlets are prepared, assemble your dishes: place the noodles on the bottom, top with about 2/3 of the sauce, add eggplant cutlets, the rest of the sauce, and then a layer of cheese sauce. Place under the broiler for about three minutes until cheese is lightly browned and bubbling. Serve warm (if you made it on individual plates be sure to place them on placemats or trivets as they will be hot).