When the weather gets colder outside, I start craving all the warm, comforting, cozy meals. Think chili, shepherd’s pie, and hearty dishes like eggplant parmesan (which is on weekly rotation in our household)!
This is new my go-to crispy, gluten-free version that’s so easy to make, customizable, and insanely delicious. Let me show you how!
Origins of Eggplant Parmesan
Eggplant parmesan (or parmigiana di malanzane) is an Italian casserole dish made with fried eggplant slices, tomato sauce, and cheese.
It’s exact origin, however, is hotly debated! Some claim it was invented in Sicily, while others claim it comes from Naples, Puglia, or Calabria. You can read more about its history here.
Our version is not traditional as we skip the extra step of turning it into a casserole and instead serve the crispy fried eggplant slices with a side of marinara.
How to Make Vegan Gluten-Free Eggplant Parmesan
This 10-ingredient recipe starts with thinly sliced eggplant.
My original version required salting and rinsing the eggplant to remove bitterness, but having tested it both ways now, I’ve found that it’s an unnecessary step and one that adds too much moisture to the eggplant. Especially when working with gluten-free flours and bread crumbs, extra moisture decreases the level of crispiness you can get on the eggplant. Plus, not salting saves time, meaning this dish is ready in about 45 minutes start to finish.
The breading process is simple: Dust in gluten-free flour, dip in almond milk and cornstarch, and finish up with a mixture of gluten-free panko bread crumbs, vegan parmesan cheese, and cornmeal. I’ve found this mixture to create the perfect breading for ultra-crispy eggplant rounds.
Next, sauté over medium heat until light golden brown, and finish up in the oven until crispy. That’s it!
I hope you all LOVE this recipe! It’s:
Easy to make
& Super delicious
This would make the perfect meal when you’re craving something plant-based but super hearty. It even satisfies picky eaters with its crispy texture, hearty dipping sauce options, and the fact that it pairs so well with pasta (hello, carbs, I’m Dana and I love you).
This dish is tasty on its own, but it would also pair well with my Vegan Niçoise Salad, Oil-Free Roasted Vegetables, 1-Pot Vegan Minestrone, and Garlicky Sweet Potato Noodles! And for extra sauces, check out my Easy Vegan Pesto, 5-Minute Macadamia Nut Cheese, and Whipped Almond Ricotta,
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
Crispy Gluten-Free Eggplant Parmesan
- 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (or other neutral dairy-free milk)
- 1 tsp cornstarch (or arrowroot starch)
- 1/2 cup gluten-free flour
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch (or arrowroot starch)
- 1 healthy pinch sea salt
- 1/3 cup gluten-free panko bread crumbs* (I like this brand)
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp dried oregano*
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 whole long, narrow eggplant (sliced into 1/8th inch rounds // skin on)
- 4 Tbsp neutral cooking oil (I like avocado or coconut // divided)
FOR SERVING optional
- 1 cup Easy Marinara Sauce (or your favorite store bought sauce)
- 8-10 ounces cooked pasta (such as linguini, penne, or spiralized vegetables)
- 1 batch 30-minute Cashew Alfredo Sauce
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Also, prepare your dipping stations by mixing together almond milk and cornstarch in one bowl; gluten-free flour, cornstarch, and sea salt in another bowl; and gluten-free panko bread crumbs, cornmeal, vegan parmesan cheese, oregano, and sea salt in another bowl (see photo).
- If serving with pasta and sauces, prepare at this time (optional). Once pasta is done cooking, drain and cover with a towel to keep warm. Set aside.
- Next, dip eggplant slices in flour mixture, then almond milk mixture, and then breadcrumb mixture and arrange dipped rounds on a clean plate.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 2 Tbsp oil (30 ml // as recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Let the oil heat for 1 minute. Then add 4-5 eggplant rounds at a time and brown for ~2-3 minutes on each side or until light golden brown. Then add to the prepared baking sheet, and add baking sheet to the oven so the eggplant can start baking.
- Continue browning eggplant in batches until all rounds are browned and in the oven, adding more oil to the cooking pan as needed and turn down heat if eggplant rounds are browning too quickly.
- Bake eggplant for 10-15 minutes or until crispy and golden brown, flipping once around the halfway mark to ensure even baking. Then serve as is or with desired sides and sauces.
- I love serving my eggplant parmesan with marinara sauce for dipping and gluten-free pasta tossed in my Cashew Alfredo! (For more side and sauce options, check the options in the post above.)
- Best when fresh. But you can store completely cooled leftover eggplant covered in the refrigerator up to 2 days. Reheat on a baking sheet in a 350-degree F (176 C) oven until hot.
*You can sub 2 tsp fresh oregano per 1 tsp dried.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with oil for cooking, and without additional sauces or sides.
*Recipe adapted from my Vegan Eggplant Parmesan recipe.
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