Today was finally nice weather and not muggy. Still a little summer left I hope. I walked up to the farmer’s market this afternoon. I love the harvest this time of year. So much great produce. I picked up some eggplants, basil, a few mini zucchinis, tomatoes, kale, and some fancy kind of green beans.
The eggplants had a mission, and got me into trouble as well. My mom promised to help make meals for someone with cancer. However then the situation changed and all the sudden someone had volunteered me to make a dish for a dinner party I wasn’t going to. I had a little too much to make for my tiny cooking space. Too many eggplants and too much flax sticking to my hands and jars and in every crack of my nice newly renovated kitchen. Clean up is a pain. But luckily I have a spouse who helps.
Enjoy this September’s eggplant bounty with a No-Parm spin-off. Feel free to add vegan cheese if desired, however I find the almond flour makes the eggplant taste quite rich and you don’t miss any cheesiness.
Eggplant No-Parm (grain-free, gluten-free, vegan)
Tomato Sauce ingredients:
- 2 cans tomatoes, one crushed, one diced (feel free to use fresh if you can afford it)
- 1 medium onion
- fresh herbs if available: chives, oregano, basil–a few Tsp total
- 1 tsp dried herbs: thyme, oregano, basil
- salt as needed, at least 1/2 tsp
- 2 Tbsp kalamata olives, chopped (optional)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large eggplant, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1/4 cup flax seeds OR chia seeds, ground (I prefer chia due to flavor, but I understand it’s more pricey)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1-1 1/2 cups almond flour, or almond slivers ground into flour in your blender or food processor
Get three bowls ready. In one, mix the flax and water, and let sit for 2-3 minutes. In another place the almond flour. The third will be where you assemble. Take each piece of eggplant and dredge it into the flax or chia mix. It should give a sticky coating to the eggplant but not be completely covering it. Then hold the eggplant over the third bowl and sprinkle almond flour over each side, covering evenly. (One could dredge in that too, but I find it gets too much on it.). Repeat for all pieces.
Place eggplant slices onto baking sheet covered with parchment or a silpat and bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. Flip over and bake 10 more minutes.
Make the sauce while the eggplant is cooking. Heat the olive oil on medium heat. Saute the onions until translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, herbs, and olives if using. Simmer for at least 10 minutes, or until eggplant is done. (Alternatively use store-bought tomato sauce, but it won’t be as good!)
Time to assemble: place a thin layer of sauce on a 9×9 or similar casserole dish. Then place down a few cooked eggplants. I try to match each so they are similar in size or to go larger to smaller. Layer a bit more sauce on the naked eggplants, then add more eggplant pieces. Repeat if your dish is tall enough. I like a stack of three.
Cook for 30-40 minutes until eggplants are nice and soft. At 350 F. Serving suggestion: over quinoa or rice.
The party goers said it was a hit. They did not even know it was vegan. Shhh.