Shockingly, up until a few weeks ago I had never had eggplant Parmesan… I didn’t even know it was a thing! But then my friend made a dairy-free vegan eggplant Parm for our weekly viewing of The Bachelor (#noshame) and I was OBSESSED. I can’t even remember how many times I said it was the best thing I’d ever eaten.
The crazy thing is up until a few years ago I hated eggplant. When people asked what foods I didn’t like it was one of the only ones I would list. I thought it was rubbery and tasteless. But I was soooooo wrong. I just had never had it prepared well. The key I’ve found with eggplant is to make sure it has a lot of moisture to soak in from something like olive oil and then it gets all soft and delicious. But it just goes to show, if you think there’s a vegetable you aren’t a fan of, try it a few different ways because it may end up surprising you and becoming your favourite.
In this recipe, everything from the flavourful eggplant and zucchini to the creamy and crunchy cashew topping is perfection. I lightly adapted the recipe created by my friend but full credit for the inspiration and base of this recipe goes to the lovely Holly Greene.
This delicious meat-free dish is so flavourful you’d never know it’s dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free and can even be made nut-free if you replace the cashews with lightly ground up hemp seeds. So it makes a great allergy-friendly dish for many.
Now I can’t keep prattling on because I refuse to delay you one more second from making and devouring this incredible vegan eggplant Parmesan. Go. Eat. Enjoy!
There's no Parmesan in this Vegan Eggplant Parm but you won't miss it! This flavourful dairy-free alternative to a savoury classic is loaded with veggies and topped with creamy cashews for an incredible vegan meal that will definitely have you asking for seconds.
- 2 eggplants
- 2 zucchinis
- olive oil or avocado oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 red bell peppers, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 796mL can diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 3 cups spinach
- 1 cup raw cashews
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Cut eggplants into 1 cm-thick rounds. Cut zucchinis in half and then into strips lengthwise.
Lay eggplants on a large baking tray and brush liberally with olive/avocado oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place zucchinis on another tray and brush with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake eggplant in oven for 5 minutes each side. Bake zucchini in oven for 3 minutes each side. When done, remove from heat.
Meanwhile, heat coconut oil in a large pan. Add onion and bell pepper and sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute, stirring regularly so garlic doesn't burn.
Add chopped tomatoes, basil and oregano and bring to a simmer. Once peppers are fairly tender, add spinach and allow to wilt fully.
Cover the bottom of a large casserole dish with half the tomato sauce mixture. Layer half the eggplant on top of this, then all the zucchini, spread out, then the other half of the eggplant. Top with the rest of the sauce.
Bake in oven for 10 minutes. While it cooks, pulse cashews in a food processor or blender until broken down with some pieces remaining. After the 10 minutes has elapsed, remove dish, turn off oven, top with cashews and return to turned-off oven for 5-10 minutes. Check regularly to ensure it doesn't burn.
Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.