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.

Documentary Review: Fat Sick and Nearly Dead

*Recently, my husband and I watched two documentaries: Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, and Food Inc. We were so inspired and informed by them and I’d highly recommend them to anyone (both are available on Netflix instant play!).*

Fat Sick and Nearly Dead chronicles the journey of a man from Australia, very overweight and stricken with a chronic disease.  He decides to go on a fresh fruit and vegetable juice fast for 30 days while he tours the United States talking to people about their diets.  He has a great accent, by the way!  The first half of the documentary shows his dramatic and amazing transformation.  He actually drives around with a juicer in the back of his car and juices as he goes!  The second half focuses on the even more amazing changes that occur in a man he inspires to follow in his footsteps.  I absolutely LOVED seeing these men take charge of their lives and transform from sick, hopeless, lifeless creatures into energetic, happy, and healthy individuals right before my eyes!  Very inspiring!  My husband and I bought a better juicer after seeing this and are now juicing almost every evening.  When you see what wonderful changes occur when these men simply begin to fill their bodies with naturally-occurring nutrients and stop eating animal products, empty calories, and processed junk, the relationship between nutrition and health will take on a whole new meaning for you.

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 #13- Mangorugula Smoothie

We renamed RAVE Smoothie #5 “Mangorugula” Smoothie in honor of it’s two main ingredients: mango and arugula.  This smoothie, unfortunately, was very bitter and earned only a 4 from me and a 3 from my husband.  I made this one late at night and forgot to snap a picture, but it was very very bright green, much like  the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Kiwi” Smoothie.  I would drink this smoothie again if I had to, but some of the other ones I’ve made were much tastier, even Baby Poop Smoothie 🙂

RAVE Diet Whole Foods Recipe #11- Braised Collards or Kale

This recipe works for both kale and collard greens.  I chose to make kale this time.  Kale is supposed to be extremely good for a person- packed with vitamins and nutrients that can protect you against oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, and cancer.

My husband rated Braised Kale an 8 and I rated it a 7.  Here’s how to make it for yourself:

  • 1 bunch collard greens or kale (6-8 cups chopped)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp low-sodium Tamari (soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Wash greens, remove stems, then chop leaves into 1/2-inch wide strips (this helps ensure even cooking).  Combine broth, Tamari, vinegar, garlic, and water in a large pot or skillet.  Cook over high heat about 30 sec.  Reduce heat to medium-high, add chopped greens, and toss to mix.  Cover and cook, stirring often, until greens are tender, about 5 minutes (steaming kale actually increases its ability to perform functions such as lowering cholesterol).

This recipe was tasty and very easy!  We combined it with Sweet Potato Fries and the Aristotle Was Wrong Smoothie for a tasty and nutritious dinner.  🙂

Braised Kale, Sweet Potatoe Fries, and Aristotle Was Wrong Smoothie made a tasty meal!

RAVE Diet Recipe #9- Buckwheat Pasta

I made this very tasty dish for dinner.  Called “Pasta- Buckwheat Pasta” in the RAVE book, it was very simple and quick to make.  I rated Buckwheat Pasta a 7 and my husband gave it an 8, so here’s the recipe!

  • 12 oz whole wheat soba noodles (I found these in the Japanese section of my grocery store)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1-1/2 cups cold water
  • 4 T vegetable broth (I used Pacific Foods brand)
  • 2 T whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp low-sodium Tamari (soy sauce) (I used Bragg’s Liquid Aminos because I was out of soy sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Saute the onion and broth in a large skillet until onion is transparent, then add mushrooms.  Cover and continue cooking until mushrooms are brown.  Whisk flour and water together until smooth, then add to skillet along with the Tamari, garlic powder, and pepper.  Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat until thickened.  Bring water to boil in a large kettle.  Add the noodles and boil until al dente, about 8 minutes.

I used my ceramic frying pan with great success with this recipe.  The dish has enough moisture throughout the cooking process to keep anything from sticking as long as you stir it every once in awhile.  This was a great way to eat soba and was delicious even without any added oil or salt!  I’m not sure why I only gave it a 7.  Maybe because it’s not very colorful?  Presentation is so important, in my opinion.