Eggplant reduces pain and inflammation… I know that my over 40 body (okay… waaaayyyy over 40) needs that… don’t you?
Eggplant parmesan is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. I have tried, and failed, to make a delicious, healthy, paleo, vegan, grain-free version for so long that I can’t even remember when this obsession started. But today, I can finally say: TA-DA! I did it. This paleo eggplant parmesan is perfect. For real. And not just by my ridiculously healthy standards. But by everyone’s standards.
And now I feel unstoppable. Because I am going to be making zucchini parmesan next. And who knows what will follow.
I think the artwork hanging in my kitchen helped me with this recipe. I mean, when you look at a colorful canvass of The Hulk smashing rocks, it kind of makes you feel all-powerful. Or, maybe it was the awesome paleo wine that I was sipping. But, what-evuh…
The eggplant in this dish is thinly sliced and crispy with a deliciously traditional texture. The sauce is a little sweet and a little spicy and it screams Southern Italy. The cheese is vegan, but I’ve found the most delicious vegan mozzarella ever, so even this part of the dish passed muster by my non-vegan, and often overly-critical, family.
Here in New York, it’s cold and it’s damp. And it’s dark out at 4:30. Wow, do I hate these short days. But let me say, that a big dish of this paleo eggplant parmesan just makes it all right. I think it even tastes better on these cold, dark, and dreary days…
For another great eggplant dish, try my recipe for Vegan Fettuccine Bolognese.
Here are some of the reasons you need to make this paleo eggplant parmesan:
In eastern medicine, eggplant is added to the diet when there is pain in the body because it’s great for relieving pain and reducing swelling. It’s especially good to eat eggplant when you are experiencing some nasty digestive issues. It relieves stomach pain, helps with dysentery, diarrhea, and painful urinary conditions. Eggplant has also been used topically to treat frostbite and canker sores… talk about a multi-tasking vegetable…
In Asian medicine, nuts are known to be good for your brain, heart, skin and reproductive system. Almonds are particularly nutritious. They are a good source of protein and they give you energy. And, they are gluten-free. Almonds will help relieve a cough and asthma and are also good for constipation. This recipe uses almond flour to coat the eggplant slices. This makes for a healthy, crispy coating.
Oregano is a powerful antioxidant and it is great at fighting bacteria. It’s also known as an herb that brings joy and happiness to people. I even just bought a bottle of oregano essential oil and I put a drop in our smoothies or water when anyone has a cold… it works great!
In Chinese medicine, we use tomatoes to aid in digestion and to help detoxify the body. They are also good to combat excess cholesterol, lessen inflammation and curb asthma. Tomatoes can also quench thirst, and they can help fight some kidney infections. The tomato sauce in this recipe is delicious, so I suggest making double the amount so you can freeze a batch.
- 3 medium thin eggplants (I used some Japanese ones), sliced thin vertically (so you end up with long, thin slices)
- 2 Tbs flax meal whisked into 6 Tbs water (or substitute 2 eggs, beaten and mixed with 2 Tbs water)
- 1-1/2 cups almond meal
- 1-1/2 tsp dried oregano
- sea salt and black pepper
- 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1-1/2 Tbs coconut sugar
- 4 oz thinly sliced vegan mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup vegan Parmesan cheese shreds
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Place the egg and water mixture into a shallow pie plate or dish.
- In a second shallow dish, combine the almond meal with the oregano and some salt and black pepper.
- Dip each eggplant slice in the egg mixture and flip to coat well.
- Then dredge each piece in the almond flour mixture, again turning to coat well.
- Place the dredged slices on parchment-lined baking sheets in a single layer, making sure they are not touching each other.
- Place the trays in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Then flip the slices over and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the slices start to get crisp and golden brown. (Note: all ovens are different, so check your slices occasionally to make sure they don't cook too quickly.)
- Meanwhile make the sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, coconut sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- When the eggplant is done, remove it from the oven, and reduce the temperature to 350°F.
- Ladle some sauce into the bottom of a 13x11 baking dish (or a dish close to that size).
- Arrange eggplant slices over the sauce, putting them close to each other but not overlapping much.
- Spread some sauce over the eggplant. Layer some mozzarella over the sauce. Repeat with a second layer (and a third layer if you have extra eggplant).
- After you add your final layer of eggplant, finish with sauce, then mozzarella, and then sprinkle on the Parmesan.
- Bake for 20 minutes.