Do you think you have to give up your favorite foods to adopt a whole food plant-based no oil way of eating to get serious health benefits fast?
Heck no - I'm here to help you with that.
Usually I advise people who are just newly vegan for health to stick to whole foods that are naturally vegan (because they just don't contain any animal products in the original dish or recipe) such as lentil soups, rice and beans, minestrone soup and other wonderful ethnic dishes people love. This makes it easy to start out without noticing the taste difference or tying to mimic the taste and feel of animal products. But since Eggplant Parm is a typically vegetarian dish anyway, I decided to give it a go. But, I did want to make some changes to the vegan recipes already out there which eliminate the dairy and egg in the classic dish. I don't want to use white-flour processed Panko breadcrumbs everyone loves for crunch and I don't want to rely on plant milk for dipping or oil for frying for crispy results.
So here is my virtually fat-free take on the classic favorite, with instructions for both the air-fryer and the oven. Vegans and non-vegans alike with be drooling!
HEALTH TIP: To bump up the nutrition of this meal, serve these these with sauteed spinach or kale or steamed Broccoli Rabe or broccoli or any other greens with the sauce instead of whole grain pasta.
Vegan Cooking Level: Medium
1 large eggplant
1/2 cup aquafaba (juice from the can of chickpeas or liquid from cooking your own chickpeas from scratch)
1/2 cup garbanzo flour
1 cup homemade bread crumbs (using whole grain bread)
3 tbsp. homemade nut parm (or plain nutritional yeast)
1 tsp. your favorite Italian spice mix
1/2 tsp. sea salt or Himalayan salt (and more for prepping the eggplant)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Sauce for serving (I used my Spicy "Meaty" Vegan Lentil Quinoa Bolognese)
How to put it together
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Step 1: Prepare the eggplant. Peel and slice 1/4"-1/2" thick depending on your personal taste preferences. Sprinkle both sides with salt and lay in a colander to "sweat" out any bitterness in the eggplant for 10-15 minutes. Next, rinse each slice and lay in between two towels with a heavy pot on top of a cookie sheet to press out excess moisture for an additional 10 minutes. Time flies when you're having fun in the kitchen!
Step 2: Prep for the bread crumbs. Take 4 slices of Dave's Killer Bread or Ezekiel Bread or whole grain bread of your choice and toast until nicely browned. Next, place on an oven (or toaster oven) setting of 300 degrees F to dry out further for about 10-15 minutes until dry and crisp when you press it. Once dry, break up into a mini-processor and add the nut parm (or nutritional yeast), Italian seasoning, garlic powder and salt and whiz until the bread crumbs are finely ground. This is what makes that crunch!
Step 3: While waiting for the Eggplant to sweat and the bread to dry out, set up your 3 dipping bowls. One with the garbanzo flour. One with the aquafaba. One with the breadcrumb mixture. In that order from left to right ending with a parchment-lined cookie sheet for baking the eggplant.
Step 4: Dip each slice first in the flour, next in the aquafaba and then finely coat each side lightly with the bread crumbs and lay on the baking sheet.
Step 5: Bake at 400 degrees F. for about 10 minutes and flip and bake for another 10 minutes. Alternatively, after the first flip, you can stick them in the air fryer to finish for about 2-3 minutes testing for a nice brown finish, good crunch and soft interior with a little bite, your preference.
BATCH TIP: This recipe can be doubled so you can freeze a batch and you can use the oven or the air fryer to defrost and crisp them up quickly.
Air Fryer Instructions: You will probably need to work in 2 batches just so you can treat them gently. Air fry at 390 degrees F for 7-8 minutes, pausing at 3-4 minutes to check and gently shake and loosen.
Plating: These are crunchiest when served immediately because any condensation from cooling makes them softer, but still delicious!
I serve these with my Spicy "Meaty" Vegan Lentil Quinoa Bolognese Sauce which I always have on hand in the freezer!
Want to take back your health eating this way
but need help to get the health & weight loss results you really want?
Schedule a FREE Plant-Empowered Woman Activation Call with me to:
-CREATE a crystal clear vision for the healthy lifestyle you want free of the health conditions and limiting beliefs that are dragging you down
-UNCOVER hidden challenges sabotaging your health and weight loss efforts
-LEAVE this session with a plant-based plan...renewed, inspired and ready to reclaim your health quickly through a whole food plant-based vegan diet and lifestyle
With Love, Broccoli & Vegan Weight Loss Magic✨
-Vegan Coach Naomi