Vegan Eggplant Parmesan with Cashew Ricotta
I love affirmations, and they have seen me through some tough times. If you are not familiar with them, affirmations are thoughts, ideas and stories to reprogram your consciousness to change your reality. Our consciousness creates our reality, and how our consciousness is programmed is how our body, life and perceptions are programmed. You can change your everyday reality and re-invent yourself when you reprogram your consciousness with affirmations. If you practice affirmations on a regular daily basis, it will transform the way you think, your emotions, your perceptions and how you experience the world. It also influences your health. Your body is the battleground for the war you wage in your mind. By changing the conversation that is happening in your mind, you influence the body so your body will become stronger and healthier.
If you want to start using affirmations, I suggest you write down an affirmation on a piece of paper or record it on your smart phone. Read or listen to that affirmation, a few times a day especially in the morning when you wake-up and before you go to bed. I like to put them on my phone calendar with an alarm, so it pops up throughout the day. Affirmations are also a great tool to achieve goals. Will Smith, Oprah Winfrey and Jim Carrey are just a few well known people who used positive affirmations to achieve their success.
Today I will accept myself just as I am. I will reaffirm that I am a beautiful person just as I am. Today I will accept myself just as I am. I will reaffirm that I am a wonderful person, just as I am. I will love myself just as I am. I am grateful for who I am. Knowing this I will see the world just as it is. I will accept the world just as it is. In the clarity of that awareness, I will feel peace, harmony and love.
On to food. This week I tried making vegan eggplant parmesan. I love ricotta cheese in my eggplant parmesan so as a substitute I blended together a combination of nuts, tofu, lemon juice and fresh herbs to mimic the flavor and texture of ricotta. It tasted pretty good, and once everything was baked together, I didn't miss the ricotta at all. This would be a nice dish to take to a Superbowl party on Sunday. Hope you enjoy this vegan eggplant parmesan as much as I did. If you don't want to miss any of Ordinary Vegan's free recipes, sign up here.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ medium onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 28 ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
- 2 large eggplants
- fresh ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, or 1 tbsp minced fresh oregano
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 bunch fresh basil, stemmed and leaves torn into large pieces
- 1 recipe Cashew Ricotta (see below)
- 1 cup dried bread crumbs
- ½ cup non-flavored, non-dairy milk
- ¾ cup raw cashew pieces (4 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 grinds of black pepper
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent (about 4-5 minutes). Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and their juices and cook, stirring occasionally until thick, 25-30 minutes. Let cool, then transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with a little olive oil.
- Trim the ends of the eggplants, then cut the eggplants lengthwise into ¼ inch thick slices. Place the non-dairy milk in a bowl and the bread crumbs on a plate. Dip each slice into non-dairy milk and then into the bread crumbs until each slice is coated lightly in the crumbs. In a large skillet, heat a tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Put as many eggplant slice as will fit in the skillet and cook until golden brown, turning once, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then season lightly with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining eggplant.
- Stir the oregano and 1 tablespoon of the parsley into the cashew ricotta.
- Spread one-fourth of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the prepared pan, then arrange one-third of the eggplant slices on top of the sauce. Sprinkle one-third of basil leaves over the eggplant, Spread one-third of the cashew ricotta (about ½ cup) evenly over the basil leaves. Repeat the layers two more times: sauce, eggplant, basil and cashew ricotta. Spread the remaining sauce over the last layer of cashew ricotta. If you have some extra bread-crumbs, you can also sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top to give it a crunchy top.
- Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until the juices are bubbling. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
- In a food processor, combine cashews, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 garlic clove, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, tofu, ½ tsp salt and 2 grinds of pepper. Process until smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Set aside.