Eggplants are my spirit animal ✨? I mean wait… but you get what I’m saying, right? Eggplants are my jam right now, not literally but maybe eggplant jam is an actual thing to look into ?
I’ve liked eggplant for a while now, but it wasn’t until I lived in Beijing and discovered a dish with white rice, potatoes, and eggplant smothered in a delicious sauce that I realized Hey, eggplants are super cool and a good meat substitute. I should eat them more often. Enter this saucy (literally) recipe for Eggplant Parmesan Casserole. Hearty brown rice, garlic sauteed eggplant slices, savory tomato sauce, and melted vegan cheese all in the form of a comforting and satisfying casserole.
Here are the ingredients you will need:
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 large eggplant, peeled
- a thick slice of yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves of minced garlic
- oil (extra virgin olive or coconut)
- tomato sauce
- vegan cheese of choice (shreds or slices both work)
- seasonings (S&P, garlic powder, nutritional yeast)
Pretty easy, right?
Be sure to soak your brown rice for a few hours or overnight to help soften and ease the cooking process. Drain and rinse. Add to 2 cups of boiling water and turn down to low. If the rice absorbs the water quickly, add more as needed.
In the meantime, heat a large skillet with a thin layer of coconut or olive oil. Slice the eggplant into about 1/2 inch thick slices and place into pan. Sprinkle a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder onto each slice and saute on medium heat until cooked. Because the eggplant absorbs liquids so quickly, add water as needed (or oil or chickpea broth). Repeat until all the slices are sauteed.
Saute diced onion & garlic in a small pan with some oil until translucent and brown. Add about 8 oz of tomato sauce to the onion and garlic. I use plain, organic tomato sauce that comes in a glass bottle from HEB. I recommend staying away from cans due to the high levels of BPA. Turn down to low heat and add seasonings. Remove from heat when the sauce is warm.
Season the brown rice with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast. Evenly apply a few drizzles of oil to the bottom of a casserole dish to avoid any food sticking. Spread a layer of brown rice down, then the sauteed eggplant, the sauce, and finally a layer of vegan cheese. Put in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, or about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
So filling by itself, but would be great paired with a salad or a side dish of steamed broccoli or some other green veggie. This is a healthier version of lasagna, but if you don’t want to use brown rice as the base, you can easily find a gluten free lasagna pasta and use that. You can also add other veggies based on your preference. If you want to get real fancy, you can coat the eggplant in gluten free bread crumbs and top the dish with vegan parmesan for a more authentic eggplant parm.
Enjoy this lasanga/casserole/eggplant parmesan hybrid! ?