I’ve been thinking about all they homey foods lately, and for me, that means something with marinara sauce! I love this Eggplant “Parmesan” for the crunchiness of the eggplant, and how easy it is to make. This meal is incredibly easy to make, and if you use store bought marinara sauce, can come together in no time at all! Put this on your menu for your next Whole30, or use it as a weeknight dinner on a paleo or vegan diet. You can’t go wrong with this delicious superfood meal!
In case you were wondering, there is no “parmesan” in this recipe, not even fake cheese. Although Eggplant Parmesan traditionally calls for lots of that delicious Italian cheese, dairy has never been my friend. I’m in the process of finding the best cheeses that suit my budget and dietary restrictions, and at this moment can only recommend VioLife’s Parmesan for on top if you’re really craving something cheese like. If you’re on the Whole30, you’ll be fine without any cheese substitutes – I promise! This recipe has enough delicious taste and texture going on that you won’t miss it.
If you haven’t checked out any of my other eggplant recipes, head to my home page and search for eggplant! For years, I tried to find a way to incorporate more of this incredibly healthy food into my diet, but found that many ways that it was served (such as grilled, for instance), did not really appeal to my palate. If you are pre-diabetic or have other blood sugar balancing issues, eggplant is one of the best things you can put into your body!
If you’re interested in more recipes that use eggplant, check out both my Eggplant and Beet Burger and Eggplant Fries with Marinara Sauce. There’s also lots of information on why eggplants are a superfood that you should purposefully add to your diet, and how you can improve your overall health by eating more eggplant.
How to make Eggplant “Parmesan”
I removed dairy from my diet over a decade ago, and for a long time I did not make any version of Eggplant Parm, mostly because I was afraid I’d miss the cheese. This recipe really truly tastes wonderful, and I can say honestly that the crispy outsides of the eggplant really make this dish a flavorful meal that does not need one bit of dairy!
The ingredient list is short:
- ground flax meal
- cassava flour (you can also use tapioca flour)
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- Italian seasoning (you can also use a combination of dried basil, oregano, and parsley)
- olive oil
- your choice of marinara sauce (check for compliance if on the Whole30)
To make the Eggplant “Parmesan,” slice the eggplant into round discs, about 1/8″ to 1/4″ wide. I prefer mine thinner since they then tend to get crispier, but it’s completely up to you! Set aside your cut eggplant.
In a medium bowl, combine the flax meal with some water and allow it to sit. This should create a flax egg, which will have a gooey consistency. Set it aside for about 5-10 minutes.
In another medium bowl, combine the cassava flour, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, and salt. Set the bowl aside.
Once the flax eggs have set, dip the eggplant slices into the flax egg, and then into the cassava flour mixture. Be sure to coat generously!
In a pan over medium to medium-high heat, heat the olive oil so that it is warm. Be careful not to let it start smoking. Place your breaded eggplant discs in the hot oil once the oil has heated. You’ll know it is ready when the eggplant immediately begins to bubble in the oil as soon as you place it in the oil.
Cook the eggplant until golden, then flip and cook on the other side. It should take about 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on how hot your pan is. Remove the cooked eggplant and set on a plate lined with paper towels to remove excess oil. Repeat the previous instructions until all your eggplant has been coated and fried.
As a warning, your oil will continue to stay hot, and you might need to turn down the heat on your stove after a few rounds. If you’re familiar with how hot a griddle gets when you are making pancakes, it’s a very similar situation.
To serve, place the cooked eggplant on a plate and cover in warm marinara sauce or sauce of your choice!
To store, store eggplant separately from the marinara sauce so that they do not get overly mushy. I love heating up the eggplant in the Air Fryer and the sauce separately, mostly so that the eggplant keeps it’s delicious fried crispiness even as a leftover meal!
Eggplant “Parmesan” (Whole30, Paleo, Vegan)
- 2 tbsp flax meal
- 6 tbsp water
- 1/2 cup cassava flour
- 1 eggplant
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 jar marinara sauce (check for compliance if on the Whole30)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flax meal and water. Set aside and allow it to congeal.
- In another medium bowl, mix together the cassava flour, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Set aside.
- Slice the eggplant into discs, about 1/8" to 1/4" thick.
- Coat the eggplant in some of the flax egg mixture. Then, directly place it in the cassava flour mixture and coat generously.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan to about medium to medium-high heat. Once it has heated, add the coated eggplant to the oil. It should immediately form bubbles around the eggplant.
- Cook the eggplant on each side until golden, about 2-3 minutes each side.
- Once the eggplant is cooked, remove it from the oil and place on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Repeat steps 4-7 until all eggplant slices have been cooked.
- Serve eggplant covered in warm marinara sauce, or sauce of your choice!
- To store, store eggplant separately and heat back up in the AirFryer at 370° F for about 5 minutes before adding warmed sauce.