From the garden: vegan eggplant parmigiana with quinoa polenta

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Our little garden is still producing tons of eggplant, zukes and bell peppers. Trying to keep up with production has been a real challenge. There’s only so much eggplant stir fry that a girl can take.

However, since the weather has started to cool heartier meals have begun to appeal and this vegan eggplant parmigiana hits the spot.

This is the perfect recipe for weeknights or busy weekends when you want warm comfy food, but don’t have hours to slave in the kitchen. In other words, it’s super easy!

You can do this entire recipe with five ingredients: eggplant, pre-cooked tube of polenta, marinara, bread crumbs and the cheese of your choice. That’s it.

And the prep takes only five minutes. Everything else is done in the oven.

For all us busy cooks: SCORE!

So, let’s get started.

First: slice up your polenta (if you make polenta fresh than just do patties that can be roasted in the oven) and eggplant into 1/4-inch slices. Place on a non-stick baking sheet, sprinkle with salt/pepper, drizzle lightly with olive oil and roast in the oven at 400F for 30 minutes.

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Step 2: Once it’s out of the oven let the tray rest on the counter while you heat up some marinara. I used Jack’s magic marinara (he makes both meat and vegan versions—obviously, I’m using vegan for this recipe), but you can use whatever marinara you’d like. When the marinara is mildly hot (about 5 min) pull it from the heat so we can start assembling our eggplant/quinoa towers.

In a casserole dish layer eggplant, spoonful of marinara, polenta, spoonful of marinara, eggplant, etc. … until you have a nice little tower. And I forgot to show it to you here, but also layer in fresh sprigs of basil if you have it, it adds a wonderful freshness. AND, if you’re a cheese eater you could include a layer of buffalo mozzarella.

My diet is 98% vegan these days, so that’s how I like this dish, but you can see how versatile this little tower of goodies can be. Go crazy.

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Step 3: Finish your towers. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and cheese. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.

(I’m not a big fan of vegan cheese, but when I do have to have it I prefer Daiya, I think it tastes better than most vegan brands on the market. For this recipe I used the “mozzarella”. So, technically speaking I should call this recipe eggplant “mozzarella”, but the traditional name just seems to mean more and truthfully, that’s how I think of it. If Jack asks for it (sometimes he prefers the non-vegan version) I’ll sprinkle real Parmesan on his.)

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Hot out of the oven plate and garnish with fresh cherry tomatoes and julienne basil. Serve with some extra sauce and warm crusty bread.

Perfect for  Fall!

Vegan eggplant parmigiana with quinoa polenta
serves 4

1 large eggplant
1 package pre-cooked polenta with quinoa
2 pints marinara
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded vegan Mozzarella

Optional:
pinch salt and pepper
2T olive oil
1 bunch basil

Enjoy!

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5 responses »

  1. Oh, my, this looks so amazing! When I saw your first picture I was sure that it was something complex and was so surprised to see that this is really a simple dish. I love this and can’t wait to try it! As a new vegan I’m really craving comfort food like this!

  2. Okay, this is to die for, seriously! I am not vegan and I’m not vegetarian. But, I can dig on vegetarian dishes, and I adore eggplant. What I am is gluten intolerant, and had just purchased the very same quinoa polenta shown above. I had a week old eggplant in the fridge and was trying to figure out what to do with both. I reviewed many recipes similar to this, but for some reason this one resonated with me. To be honest, I wasn’t certain how I would feel about the eggplant if it was not breaded and fried. The roasting turned out perfect! In fact, hubby and I nibbled on the extra pieces not used in the dish and we were both going “Mmmmmmmmm”. However, I did fry the polenta, only because it would not fit on the pan with the eggplant. I did use ricotta cheese mixed with an egg (from my backyard pet hens), mozzarella and parmesan cheese. I kicked up a jar of marinara with a can of tomato paste, red wine and a couple of tablespoons of pesto to give it an extra kick. This smelled soooooooooooooo good while cooking. Hubby loved it. I loved it. It gets five thumbs up in my book, and is definitely bookmarked to “recipes”.

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