Food & Drink

Gluten-Free Eggplant Parm

January 3, 2020

Gluten-Free Eggplant Parm

I’ve never really enjoyed eggplant parm. Mostly because my stomach doesn’t love fried, heavy dishes and I find that eggplant, in particular, absorbs a tremendous amount of oil when fried or sauteed. Still, I love eggplant and wanted to find a healthier way to enjoy this Italian classic with my kids. So I thought, “I’ll just bake the eggplant.” Except how do you replicate the crunchy texture you get from breading and frying? It hit me. Toasted quinoa and pine nuts! It’s crunchy and nutty AND gluten-free! This gluten-free eggplant parm is my favorite recipe of 2019. Give it try and let me know what you think.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large eggplants
  • 1 cup of grated Ricotta Salata or grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup + 2 TBS of olive
  • 1.5 cups of tomato sauce (preferably homemade)
  • 1.5 cups of cooked quinoa drained well
  • 3/4 cup of pine nuts
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup of fresh chopped parsley

HOW TO BAKE THE EGGPLANT

Preheat the oven to 450. Coat two baking sheets with a thin layer of cooking spray. Then cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch circular disks and brush both sides with olive oil. Place the eggplant on the baking sheets and brush each side with olive oil. Once the oven hits 450, bake the eggplant for 15 minutes or until they begin to turn golden brown, then flip and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove eggplant and allow to cool to room temperature.

Tip: Set a timer to be sure you do not overcook the eggplant. Once it begins to brown, it cooks quickly. The first time I made this dish I forgot to set a timer and ended up burning 1/2 the eggplant.

TOASTING THE QUINOA

Heat a large skillet to medium/high heat and add 2 TBS of olive oil. Once the pan is hot, add the quinoa, pine nuts, and salt. Then use a rubber spatula to move the mixture while it cooks so that it does not burn. Cook until both the quinoa and pine nuts begin to toast. Once the quinoa turns a deep golden brown, remove from heat and set aside.

Tip #1: Try to remove as much moisture from your quinoa as possible. I do this :by allowing it to cook a bit longer with the lid removed and then draining it in a colander.

Tip #2: Make extra to add to salads and roasted veggies!!

BUILD THE GLUTEN-FREE EGGPLANT PARM

In a 9X9 baking sheet begin to build the eggplant parm. First add a layer pasta sauce, followed by a layer of grated Ricotta Salata. Next, add the eggplant without overlapping. Continue to layer (Sauce, Cheese, Eggplant) until you have run out of the eggplant. Add any remaining sauce to the top as a final layer.

Tip: Once you’ve come to this point in the recipe you can choose to refrigerate it for a day or two.

When you are ready to serve your gluten-free eggplant parm, top it with the toasted quinoa and pine nuts mixture and warm it in the oven at 350 for 15/20 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and devour!

If you enjoy this recipe, check out my recipe for Grilled Carrots Gremolata!

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