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, and sea salt in another bowl (see photo).
Next, dip eggplant slices in flour mixture, then almond milk mixture, and then breadcrumb mixture and arrange dipped rounds on a clean plate or baking sheet.
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. Turn heat down if eggplant rounds are browning too quickly.
Bake eggplant for 15-20 minutes or until crispy and golden brown, flipping once around the halfway mark to ensure even baking. Prepare sauce, vegan cheese, and any other toppings at this time (optional). Set aside.
Remove eggplant from the oven when crispy and golden brown. Top with a little red sauce, vegan cheese of choice, and any other toppings, such as mixed vegetables. Bake for another 5-7 minutes or until cheese is lightly golden brown. Enjoy as is or garnish with red pepper flake, fresh basil, or vegan parmesan cheese.
Best when fresh. But you can store completely cooled eggplant (that hasn’t had any sauce or toppings added) 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 also freeze UNCOOKED coated eggplant slices in a single layer and store in a freezer-safe container up to 1 month. From frozen, sauté on both sides until golden brown. Then bake in a 375-degree F (190 C) oven until hot, crispy, and golden brown. Top with desired toppings and then bake again to warm toppings - about 5 minutes.
*For non-crispy eggplant pizza that’s quicker and doesn’t require breading, simply slice eggplant into slightly thicker 1/2-inch slices and drizzle both sides with avocado or olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill either side on a hot grill or grill pan (or broil in the oven on medium on both sides) until grill marks appear and surface is lightly golden brown. Transfer eggplant to a baking sheet and top with desired amounts of sauce, vegan cheese of choice, and any other desired toppings. Then bake at 400 degrees F (204 C) until hot and the toppings are slightly browned - about 7 minutes. Enjoy. *Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with 1 tsp vegan almond ricotta per slice and without optional ingredients.