Easy Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

This eggplant parmesan is prepared casserole-style and is suuuuper delicious!  My husband loved it the other day, so I’m making it again to bring to a family dinner.  It’s modified from SusanV’s recipe on her FatFree Vegan Kitchen site.  Mine’s basically a shortcut to hers, but I promise it’s still incredibly tasty!  Just faster. 😉 

*This recipe is vegan, but cannot be considered whole foods because it contains some processed ingredients.*

Easy Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant, in 1/4 inch slices
  • olive oil or olive oil spray
  • whole grain breadcrumbs (I used prepackaged, but you can easily make them by toasting and crumbling whole wheat bread)
  • handful of almonds or walnuts chopped fine in a food processor (this is the parmesan “cheese”)
  • marinara sauce (I bought mine, but even better if you make your own!)
  • fresh basil
  • “cheese” sauce:
    • 1/2 block tofu
    • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
    • 1/8 cup raw cashews
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • 1 1/2 T nutritional yeast flakes
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/8 tsp black or white pepper
    • 2 tsp cornstarch

Directions:

  • After slicing the eggplant, put it in a colander, sprinkle with salt, and let them sweat while  you’re making the cheese sauce.
  • To prepare the cheese sauce, place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until the mixture is nice and smooth.  If you let it sit awhile before assembling the casserole, you might have to blend the “cheese” again as it may have separated.
  • Rinse the eggplant slices and pat dry with a paper towel.  Lightly spray or coat a baking sheet with olive oil, arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer, and coat the tops lightly with olive oil.  Place the baking sheet under the broiler and watch them CAREFULLY!  Remove them when they begin to brown.  This may take as little as 3 minutes, though in my oven it is always a little longer.  Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices if they didn’t all fit on the baking sheet.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  • Assemble your casserole in an 8×8 dish lightly coated with olive oil.  First, place half the eggplant slices on the bottom of the dish, edges overlapping.  Next, sprinkle with half the breadcrumbs and half the marinara sauce.  Then, pour half the cheese sauce over the sauce and sprinkle with half the chopped nuts (or vegan parmesan, if you prefer).
  • Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients and finish with some breadcrumbs on top.
  • Bake uncovered for 20 minutes until slightly brown on top.  Top with fresh basil just before serving.
  • Makes 4 servings.

Roasted Potatoes with Lemon and Dill

Prebaking: Everything except the dill

I’m sitting here feeling very guilty that I haven’t posted anything in awhile.  I’ve actually tried several RAVE recipes that I haven’t written about yet.  And it’s NOT because I haven’t been sticking with whole foods, I’m happy to say!  Well, I’ve had a few slip-ups and exceptions, of course, but the couple of times where I just threw everything out and decided to, I don’t know, eat a bunch of cheese or something, I found that after just a bit of it I was completely sick of it and wanted to eat some whole foods again!  So I’m still eating whole foods and still loving it.  I’ve relaxed my standards a bit from what I was doing during the months of January and February, but I’ve really never been this consistently healthy in my dietary habits for so long, and I’m beginning to think it may last.  I’ve found that once I’ve switched to a healthy diet, my body really gets a lot better at recognizing the bad stuff and reacting to it.  A little dairy and, wow, I really see it in my skin!

I need to really get cracking on all my RAVE recipes if I’m going to make my August 13 deadline, but it’s tough when there are so many great whole food recipes elsewhere that I’m dying to try!  Last Friday I made a recipe I found in the latest issue of Real Simple.  It was truly simple, but delicious as well.  My husband didn’t like the lemon so much, but I thought it was nice and different.  The potatoes I used were a liiiittle bigger than they should have been, so I probably should have increased the baking time a bit, but they were just barely done. It might be good to try this recipe with just the olive oil, dill, and rosemary if you’re not into roasted lemon.

Ingredients (you can also find the recipe from it’s original source here, as well as the delicious-looking picture the lured me in 🙂 ):

  • 2 pounds new potatoes, halves
  • 1 thinly sliced lemon
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 T chopped fresh dill

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Toss all ingredients (except the dill) on a baking sheet (or a large baking dish, like I used).
  2. Roast for 30-35 minutes until tender, tossing once.  Toss with the dill before serving.  Enjoy!

After baking: chopped fresh dill mixed in

RAVE Diet Whole Foods Recipe #6- Cornbread

On Monday evening I made Cornbread from The RAVE Diet and Lifestyle.  It was a pretty simple recipe.  I guess there were a few differences, though, from the cornbread I’ve made in the past.  It called for half cornmeal, half whole wheat pastry flour, for example.  It also used a few tablespoons of vegetable broth and a teaspoon and a half of vinegar.  I’m really not sure what the vinegar was for.  Anyway, it looked beautiful in the oven…

Cornbread- RAVE Diet & Lifestyle

It looked even better when it began to get that crispy cracked looked and it smelled heavenly!  I could barely wait to try it.  …When I took it out of the oven, however, I realized that the recipe hadn’t mentioned greasing the pan in any way (and I hadn’t) and the whole thing was hopelessly stuck to the bottom.  My husband and I tried some and it was pretty much not done yet in the middle.  The recipe said to bake it for 25 to 30 minutes and I had done 25.  The thing is, it was so dry and cracked on the outside that I could see the bottom on the pan from the top and thought leaving it in longer wouldn’t make it much better.  It tasted pretty good, but the structure was crap.

Cornbread- RAVE Diet

Ok, so truthfully the outcome might have been my fault because I made a couple of mistakes with this recipe.  First of all, I put it in before the oven was quite at the correct temperature.  This may be why it turned out so dry but still not done.  I know better than to do this, but I was in a hurry.  Also, I probably should have oiled the pan in some way.  Not sure how you do that with an oil-less recipe, but I’m sure there is a way (applesauce??).

Anyway, my husband really liked the way this Cornbread tasted and has been scraping it out to eat for breakfast (with milk over it, ugh!).  He gave it a score of 6 and I gave it a 5.  Perhaps I should try it again with the above changes and see how it goes.  I have so many other recipes to try, though!  I will have to be more careful in the future to give each recipe a fair chance and not submit it to my own errors, yikes!

RAVE Diet Whole Foods Recipe #5- Polenta-Stuffed Peppers, Plus: How to Make Your Own Polenta

On Sunday I made Polenta-Stuffed Peppers.  This was a pretty tasty recipe.  I opted to make polenta instead of buying it.  In hindsight, I should have made the polenta ahead of time since it was to be measured in weight.  To do that, I would have needed to cook it, let it cool, and then weight it out, I guess.  Instead, I attempted to hastily make it and use it.  I hadn’t made polenta in awhile, and I did a sloppy job, so it ended up a lot thinner than it should have been, and lumpy.  This wasn’t all bad, but it probably contributed to the kind of yucky look my finished product took on….

Polenta-Stuffed Pepper

I really should focus on taking more appealing pictures of my recipes in the future.  I actually took this exact pepper to work, where I cut it open and let all the lumpy polenta spill out and ate it!  I got a few “What is that??” questions.  Anyway, my husband gave this recipe a 7 and I gave it a 6.  I might have rated it higher if I’d done a better job with the polenta.  I might actually attempt this one again because I looooove roasted peppers!

For those of you who would like to make your own polenta, here’s a good basic recipe to start from:

Basic Polenta

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water

Boil the 3 cups of water in a saucepan.  Whisk together the cornmeal, 1 cup water, and salt in a bowl and pour into the boiling water.  If you don’t mix the cornmeal with the water first, it will end up lumpy.  Lower the temperature to a simmer and cover, stirring every few minutes.  Cook for 15 minutes.

You can use the cornmeal as a breakfast cereal or side dish, or you can pour it into a cake or loaf pan and refrigerate it overnight.  The resulting thickened cornmeal (called polenta) can be sliced and fried, cut into shapes, or chopped up and used in recipes (like the pepper recipe I made).  Polenta is good as a savory dish or a sweet one.  I like to cut it into large slices, fry it, and eat it for breakfast with maple syrup on top.  🙂 You can add just about anything  to the polenta while cooking it (sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, herbs and spices, etc.) to give it different flavors.