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Crispy baked eggplant layered with your favorite marinara sauce and vegan mozzarella cheese, this Vegan Eggplant Parmesan is the BEST way to eat eggplant!
Fact: Eggplant parmesan is the BEST way to eat eggplant! This vegan eggplant parmesan may surprise you (well, only if you don’t follow a vegan diet). The eggplant is perfectly crispy, the mozzarella is made out of cashews and you can use your favorite brand of dairy free marinara sauce (love love love Lucini and Rao’s).
I’ll be the first to admit that this recipe takes a little longer to prepare than most of my recipes. But, I really wanted to find a way for myself (and maybe you too?!) to enjoy eggplant, and this recipe is IT. It’s also really easy to prepare, just slightly more time consuming. But, the whole recipe will be done in about an hour, and it’s a healthy and delicious meatless meal.
WHY VEGAN EGGPLANT PARMESAN IS SO GOOD
- The eggplant is coated in a Panko mixture then baked until it’s nice and crispy
- It’s filled with your favorite marinara sauce and vegan mozzarella cheese (see below for tips)
- It’ll turn eggplant skeptics into fans (like myself!)
HOW TO ASSEMBLE VEGAN EGGPLANT PARMESAN
I’ll admit, making eggplant parmesan requires a little more effort than my other recipes, but it’s well worth it! Let’s walk through how to make this recipe, step by step.
Prep the eggplant: I made this recipe twice and the second time around I tried to skip this step, but don’t! This step is very important in ensuring the eggplant doesn’t get mushy. First, slice the eggplant then salt it on both sides and place it in a strainer for 10 minutes or so, which will help to absorb some of the moisture. Then, lay the eggplant out onto a baking sheet and use a towel or paper towels to press down on it. Again, this will eliminate some moisture.
*If you have to, you can slice the eggplant slices in half to make them fit into your baking dish a bit better (which is what I did).
Coat the eggplant, then bake: Set up an assembly line using two bowls. One will be filled with milk and flour and the other will be filled with Panko breadcrumbs and spices. Then, place the eggplant onto a baking sheet and bake it until it’s crispy, approximately 20 minutes.
Make the mozzarella cheese: While the eggplant is baking, you can make the mozzarella cheese (tips below!)
Layer everything: Now comes the fun part! Spread marinara sauce onto the bottom of a baking dish. I used an 8×8 dish since this recipe was just for Miguel and myself, but if you want this to serve more people, use a 9×13 baking dish. Then, place eggplant into the bottom of the dish, and layer it with more marinara sauce and then mozzarella cheese. Repeat this process one more time.
HOW TO MAKE VEGAN MOZZARELLA CHEESE
First, you’ll add all of the ingredients to a blender and then pulse until it’s smooth. At this point, while the mixture will be smooth, it won’t be super thick.
So, pour everything into a small saucepan and heat it up for a few minutes, stirring pretty consistently until it thickens.
OTHER DELICIOUS SAVORY VEGAN RECIPES
Vegan Eggplant Parmesan
- 1 eggplant thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- Optional: fresh basil as garnish
for the mozzarella cheese:
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup plain dairy free yogurt
- 2 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Slice the eggplant into 1/2" slices, then salt them and place then in a strainer for 10 minutes, which will help to absorb some of the liquid. Transfer eggplant onto a baking sheet or large plate, then use a towel or paper towels to press down on the eggplant to release leftover moisture.
- Set up two bowls: in one bowl, whisk milk and flour together and in the other bowl, combine breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, Italian seasoning, and oregano. Dip the eggplant one at a time into the milk mixture, then into the breadcrumbs and place it onto a baking sheet. Repeat this process until all the eggplant slices are coated in breadcrumbs, then bake the eggplant for 20 minutes.
- While the eggplant is baking, make the vegan mozzarella: place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer "cheese" into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously until the cheese thickens; remove from heat.
- Assemble the eggplant parmesan: Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce into the bottom of an 8x8 or 9x13 baking dish*. Then, add a layer of eggplant, top it with more marinara and then spoon half of the vegan mozzarella on top. Repeat this process one more time, then place foil over the baking dish and bake the eggplant parmesan for 20 minutes.
- Top it off with fresh basil and enjoy!