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Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Recipe – How to Make it in 38 Simple Steps

A lovely plate of vegan eggplant parmesan with basil.

Eggplants are a great vegan replacements for delicious meat dishes. This is the recipe on how to make mouthwatering eggplant parmesan using all plant-based ingredients.

This is one of those dishes that might seem to require way too much prep and cook times to justify the 10 minutes it takes to devour it all. But trust me—it’ll rank up there as the best 10 minutes you can remember from your kitchen table.

There was a time when I didn’t think eggplant parmesan could be made with anything other than the traditional ingredients of dairy-based cheese and egg batter. When I switched to a vegan diet a while ago, I thought it meant saying goodbye to a lot of my favorite dishes. Luckily, I’ve learned that it’s really not that hard to veganize just about anything, including eggplant parm.

A lovely plate of vegan eggplant parmesan with basil.

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

Alice Mesa
One of my all-time favorite dishes is eggplant parmesan. I’m not sure which part I like best—the combination of crispy fried batter with soft and creamy eggplant inside, the savory tanginess of the tomato sauce, or the heavenly garlicky aroma teasing your smell buds as you wait out the 15-minute bake at the end.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 20 mins
Baking Time 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 35 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 Servings

Equipment

  • Food Processor
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spice Grinder
  • Small bowl
  • Skillet or Frying Pan
  • Baking Dish

Ingredients
  

Eggplant Parmesan Ingredients

  • Sauce adapted from Eggplant Parmesan recipe by America’s Test Kitchen
  • 14 1/2 ounces Canned Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fennel
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano

Breading Mix Ingredients (adapted from Eggplant Parmesan recipe by America’s Test Kitchen)

  • 4 ounces White Bread stale bread works better than fresh
  • 1/2 cup Grated Vegan Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper

"Egg" Batter Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons Flax Seed
  • 6 tbsp Hot Water
  • 2 tbsp Non-Dairy Milk

Assembly Ingredients

  • 1 pc Medium Eggplant sliced to ¼-inch thick rounds
  • 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour in a gallon-size plastic sealable bag
  • “Egg” Batter in a small bowl
  • Breading Mix in a medium bowl
  • Canola oil enough to fill your skillet to a depth of ¼-inch (about ½ cup for a 10-inch skillet)
  • 1 cup Grated Vegan Mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup Grated Vegan Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup Small-Chopped or Chiffonade of Fresh Basil

Instructions
 

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Instructions

  • Strain the diced tomatoes, reserving the liquid.
  • Transfer the tomatoes to a food processor.
  • Add garlic and olive oil. Process until the consistency resembles pureed tomatoes.
  • Transfer the pureed tomatoes to a mixing bowl.
  • Add the fennel and oregano. Stir to mix.
  • Add the reserved tomato liquid to bring the volume of the sauce up to 1 ½ cups. Set aside.

Breading Mix Instructions (adapted from Eggplant Parmesan recipe by America’s Test Kitchen)

  • Transfer the bread to a food processor.
    Four slices of white bread on a plate.
  • Pulse until you get fine bread crumbs. Transfer to a bowl.
  • Add vegan parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.
  • Stir to mix well. Set aside.

“Egg” Batter Instructions

  • Using a spice grinder, grind the flax seed to a fine meal.
  • Transfer to a small bowl.
    The flax seed was turned to powder with the use of a spice grinder.
  • Add hot water to the flaxseed meal.
  • Stir to mix well. The consistency will thicken and resemble a beaten egg.
  • Add non-dairy milk.
  • Stir to mix. Set aside.
    The flax seed powder with dairy milk.

Eggplant Assembly Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Working with one eggplant slice at a time, toss the eggplant inside the bag of flour until both sides are coated.
  • Dip the flour-coated eggplant in “egg” batter, coating both sides.
    A slice of eggplant covered in flour about to be dipped into the flax seed sauce.
  • Let excess drip back into the bowl.
    The slice of eggplant with flour dipped in the flax seed sauce.
  • Coat both sides of the “egg” battered eggplant with bread crumb mixture. Set aside.
  • Repeat until all eggplant slices have been coated with flour, “egg” batter, and bread crumb mixture.
  • Transfer the oil to a large skillet. Place over medium-high heat until oil shimmers.
  • Add eggplant in a single layer, as many as you can without crowding.
    The eggplant slices are then fried in heated oil.
  • Cook until both sides are golden brown, flipping halfway through the cook, about 1 ½ minute each side.
    The slices are cooked until they are fried to perfection.
  • Transfer the fried eggplant to a wire rack.
  • Repeat until all eggplant slices have been fried.
  • Transfer generous ½ cup sauce to a clean 10-inch skillet or baking dish and spread evenly.
  • Place eggplant on top, lining the skillet, and overlapping slightly at the edges.
    The fried eggplant slices are placed in a pot with the tomato puree.
  • Add dollops of sauce on top of the eggplant.
    Drops of sauce are added on top of the eggplant slices.
  • While the sauce is yummy, it does soften the crispy batter of the eggplant. If you want to preserve the crispiness of the batter as much as possible, keep the dolloping to a minimum and place the rest of the sauce around the edges of the skillet or baking dish, between the slices of eggplant.
  • Sprinkle vegan mozzarella on top.
  • Sprinkle vegan parmesan on top of the mozzarella.
  • Transfer to oven. Bake 12-15 minutes, until sauce bubbles and cheese melts.
    It is then baked 12-15 minutes until the cheese melts.
  • Remove from the oven.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle basil on top.
  • Eat to your heart’s content and keep your lip-smacking to a maximum.
    A lovely plate of vegan eggplant parmesan with basil.

Notes

This recipe for Vegan Eggplant Parmesan shows you how. The sauce, consisting of a can of diced tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and some herbs, is naturally vegan already. Instead of dairy-based mozzarella and parmesan, I use plant-based versions. These vegan products can be found in most grocery stores and are becoming more widely available by the day. My favorite brand of vegan parmesan so far is Violife. For mozzarella, I like to use Daiya.
The “egg” batter is a little more complicated, but nothing unmanageable. Vegan baking often uses what’s known as a flax seed “egg,” which is basically ground flaxseed meal mixed with hot water. It’s a wonderful substitute for true eggs.
So for this vegan “egg” batter, I mixed up the equivalent of two flax seed “eggs” and added some non-dairy milk to thin it out a little. It made for a beautiful crispy batter. My omnivore husband didn’t notice any difference in taste or texture between this vegan batter and the egg-based batter of old.
In the past, I’ve been known to cave to moments of laziness and skip the fresh basil mentioned in the last step of the recipe. Less to wash, less to prep. But shame on me, because the basil is a magical addition. There’s something about its fresh, aromatic flavor that really complements the savory garlicky tomato sauce and the saltiness of the cheese.
It’s also nice to have something green and fresh to go with a dish in which the main component is fried. And the dainty dark green ribbons of fresh basil sprinkled on top of fried eggplant, with deep red marinara underneath it all creates a stunning visual effect. If you’re at the grocery store shopping for all the ingredients and you find yourself on the fence between picking up the fresh basil and walking past it, I highly recommend it.
Keyword Main Course, Recipe, Vegan Eggplant Parmesan
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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