Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant parmesan is frequently the "vegetarian" option at most weddings and catering events, but it is usually covered with bovine mammary secretions (cheese) making it definitely not vegan. My version not only veganizes this popular dish, but also makes it a bit less traditional with the addition of tofu. This is a great way to prepare tofu for those who claim they do not like it. I will admit this recipe is a bit more involved than my usual concoctions, but it's still relatively simple. The recipe is topped with nutritional yeast, but it can also be topped with a vegan mozzarella if you desire.

"I used brown rice instead of pasta in this one, but I don't recommend it because the rice dried out during the cooking."

Eggplant Parmesan

One large eggplant, or two small ones
One block of extra firm tofu
1/2 C olive oil
1 C whole wheat pastry flour
1 C soy milk, or other non-dairy milk
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 C nutritional yeast
1/2 lb whole wheat pasta (usually half a bag, or 8 oz)
2 cloves garlic minced
salt and pepper
2 tsp lemon juice

Begin by slicing the tofu into 8 pieces and slicing the eggplant into 1/4 inch pieces. I HIGHLY recommend layering the slices of eggplant in a large bowl with plenty of salt and allowing to sit for 20 minutes to draw out any possible bitterness, which could COMPLETELY RUIN the dish. Not to say I haven't skipped this step before, but also not to say I haven't ruined recipes this way as well. So just do it! After the slices have sit with the salt, just give them a quick rinse down with water.

Now we can begin breading and frying the eggplant and tofu. In a bowl, add the soy milk along with 1 tsp of the lemon juice and allow to curdle for about two minutes. This will make a "buttermilk". In another bowl, combine the whole wheat pastry flour with 1/4 C of the nutritional yeast. Put a large sauce pan over med-high heat and add about 1 TBS of the olive oil. Let it heat for about 5 minutes until it's scorching hot, but being aware that the oil is not burning or smoking.

Begin by taking slices of tofu and eggplant one at a time and dipping them first into the "buttermilk" mixture, then into the flour mixture to coat them with the breading. Put a few pieces at a time into the hot pan and let them cook for about two minutes before flipping them and repeating the same thing on the other side. They should be crispy and golden brown. Continue this process until all the pieces are cooked. When the oil dries up form the pan, just replenish it with another tablespoon of oil. You may or may not use the entire half cup of oil.

Once all of the pieces are breaded and cooked, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix the tomato sauce, garlic, 1 tsp lemon juice, and any salt and pepper you wish. Also, begin cooking the pasta. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and layer it evenly across the bottom of a 9 x 13" baking dish. Alternate between pieces of eggplant and tofu and layer those on top of the pasta. Pour the sauce evenly across the top of the entire dish. Evenly sprinkle the remaining 1/4 C of nutritional yeast across the top and place into the oven. Cook for 20 minutes. Slice and serve hot! This dish is also very delicious the next day, served cold.

I have detailed the process of this recipe in a video that I will be posting soon. I am also ready to record a new podcast episode. The reason I have not done either of these yet is because my MacBook is currently being repaired at Apple and everything I need to record and upload these things is on it. It was supposed to ready in three days, but we are currently going on twelve days! Cross your fingers it comes home soon ;) Luckily I backed it up too!

Another exiting update is that I have been chosen to write for the Examiner.com for Philadelphia vegan happenings! I will let you know as soon as I put up my first article which should be soon, so be sure and subscribe below to keep up to date on that.

Lastly, if you are in or around the Philadelphia area, or know any who is, please consider attending and spreading the word about the next Vegan Drinks Philly event on March 23. We will attempt to raise funds for two local animal advocacy groups, The Humane League of Philadelphia and Chenoa Manor. I am also looking for anyone interested in either donating artwork or playing an acoustic set at the event, so contact me if you're interested ed@vegandrinksphilly.com

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