The first time I ever cooked eggplant was a TOTAL disaster. I cooked them in olive oil for way too long. They absorbed all of the oil and tasted slimy and disgusting! Lesson learned. Then my friend had me over for dinner one night and cooked eggplant Parmesean. I was so "wowed" at how good eggplant could actually taste, and asked her how she cooked hers. She said just fry them in light layer of coconut oil. Perfect! This week, we were given several eggplants in our CSA share, so I knew eggplant parm. was on the menu! My husband and I really love a hearty spaghetti sauce, so by combining what I learned from my friend and my sauce, I was sure this was going to come out pretty damn tasty. Ahem... It did!
Meaty Eggplant Parmesan
Prep time: 40 minutes (30 minutes inactive)
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour and 40 minutes
9 x 13 baking tray
Large sauce pot
Large sauté pan
For the sauce:
1 lb of grass-fed ground beef (leave out if you want to keep it vegetarian)
1 small bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, sliced
6 oz of sliced mushrooms
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
6 oz of herb goat cheese
2 tbsp of garlic powder
1 tbsp of Italian seasoning
1 tsp of basil
1 tsp of oregano
1 tsp of coarse sea salt
For the eggplant:
3 medium eggplants
2 eggs, whisked in a bowl
1 cup of almond flour
1 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of onion powder
1 tsp of Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp of cracked black pepper
Fresh grated Parmesan
Coconut oil for frying
1. Start by peeling your eggplants and slicing them into 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick slices (enough to make 3 layers in your tray). Lay them out on a plate and sprinkle them LIGHTLY with salt. This draws out the moisture and seasons them well! Let it sit for about 30 minutes while you prep the rest of the meal.
2. Next work on the sauce. Start by browning the meat.
3. Then add all the veggies, except the tomatoes and zucchini. Let them cook down for about 5 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes and zucchini. Mix well. Add the tomato paste and all of the seasonings.
5. Once everything is heated through, stir in the goat cheese.
6. Let it simmer on medium-low for about 30 minutes.
7. Preheat the oven to 350.
8. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add enough coconut oil to coat the bottom.
9. Mix the almond flour and seasonings onto a plate.
10. Dip each slice into the egg mixture, then into the almond flour mixture (shaking off the excess), and into the frying pan for 2-3 minutes on each side (or until golden brown). Continue until you've cooked them all. Add more oil as needed.
11. Add the slices to the baking tray as they come out.
12. When you have a layer, spread some of the sauce on top along with fresh grated Parmesan. Repeat for three layers.
Place in the oven for 15 minutes until all the cheese is melted.