An eggplant parm recipe where slices of crispy pan-fried eggplant are breaded in a healthier, gluten-free coating and stacked together to make steaks.
Eggplant is a love or hate kind of vegetable. For me, it’s love. I think we have these strong feelings about the vegetable because of its unique texture. Eggplant’s best - or worst depending on your point of view - attribute is its sponge-like nature. I think this is a good thing because just like a sponge, eggplant absorbs the flavors you put on it.
why you should give eggplant another chance
In some ways, it reminds me a lot of tofu. I’ll be the first to admit that neither eggplant nor tofu is great without flavoring and proper cooking. Luckily, they are easy to impart flavor, and there are many ways to prepare them. You absolutely can make them interesting, despite what people seem to think.
I believe people may not like eggplant because they once had it cooked poorly and blandly. Yet when done well, eggplant becomes tender and creamy. When you bite into it, it should almost melt in your mouth and meld into the other flavors you pair with it, such as a freshly made tomato sauce.
Eggplant is a perfect pairing for tomatoes and other summer vegetables. In the past, I’ve shared recipes for eggplant in ratatouille and eggplant pizza. But one of my favorites is eggplant parmesan.
how this eggplant parm stacks up
This recipe is essentially a rift on traditional Italian eggplant parm. You bread and fry eggplant slices in a similar method, but then stack them together with tomato sauce and cheese to make a steak of sorts. On the outside, the eggplant is crisp while the insides are soft, with both textures going beautifully with the depth of the quick tomato sauce.
The coating is slightly different from the usual breadcrumbs and cheese, and I think it works well, especially if you’re looking to make this a gluten-free dish. The sunflower seeds add crunch while the nutritional yeast boosts the cheesy flavor. It’s also a healthier option that doesn’t produce a greasy result. I winged this breading when I was out of breadcrumbs and used what I had in my pantry. It turns out it was delicious. I love it when that happens.
how to prevent soggy eggplant parm
The secret to keeping that coating as crisp as possible is to place the browned eggplant slices on a wire rack after cooking them in the pan. That way, there’s airflow on both the top and the bottom of the slices, and any liquid can drip off to the pan below.
If you have fresh tomatoes and want to use them for the sauce, go for it. Just pulse roughly chopped tomatoes in the food processor to make your own crushed tomatoes. I pulled the last of my tomatoes out of the garden in anticipation of frost this week, so I had those ready to use up. Otherwise, a couple of large cans of crushed tomatoes work great.
Serve these eggplant parm steaks with a side of the sauce and your favorite pasta.Print