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Gluten-Free Eggplant Parmesan

I found a great recipe the other day for Eggplant Parmesan so I thought I would share it.  Before going gluten-free, I always liked the Eggplant Parmesan at the Olive Garden, thinly sliced and crispy, topped with marinara, shredded mozzarella and fresh grated Parmesan… yummy.

I don’t know about you, but I have never had great luck making my own Eggplant Parmesan, it always ended up with a rather undesirable mushy texture.  I came across a technique in the following recipe that totally eliminated that mushiness.  One thing that I did not do for this batch, but will definitely do next time, was peel the eggplant.  We didn’t care for the cooked eggplant skin at all.  Click here for some info on working with eggplants.

I got this recipe from AllRecipes.com, you can find the original recipe here.  I will also list the original recipe on my blog with my GF tweaks/suggestions in red.

One last thought, if you are allergic to or avoid Nightshades, I think this recipe would also be great using zucchini slices instead of eggplant and replacing the tomato based spaghetti sauce with this tomato-free marinara sauce.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

3 Eggplants, peeled and thinly sliced (I only used 1 eggplant and sliced it with a mandolin. I love my mandolin, just be careful… very sharp! ;-) )

2 Eggs, beaten (I used the eggs, but you could also use water if you have an egg allergy)

4 cups Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs (I used Cracker Crumbs that I crushed from Ener-G Crackers in my food processor, then I added about 2 Tbs. of Italian Seasoning)

6 cups Spaghetti Sauce, divided (Make sure it is Gluten-Free)

1 16-ounce package Shredded Mozzarella, divided (I have been hearing great things on Daiya Vegan Cheese, it is not only dairy-free, but soy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, corn-free, rice-free and nut-free as well! I am waiting on my shipment* (see below) to arrive to do a review!)

1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (I’ve read a few good reviews on this dairy-free version of Parmesan Cheese, called Parma! Vegan Parmesan)

1/2 tsp. Dried Basil

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • Dip eggplant slices in egg, then in bread crumbs (or cracker crumb/Italian Seasoning mixture). Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes on each side.
  • In a 9 x 13 inch baking dish spread spaghetti sauce to cover the bottom. Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Repeat with remaining ingredients, ending with the cheeses. Sprinkle basil on top.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

If you use a mandolin… USE the guard, it is there for a reason!!  I have a few ER bills to prove it too! ;-)  I really like the mandolin, you get nice, uniform, and thin slices.

Cover your eggplant slices in cold water until you are ready to use them to prevent browning.

I just had to showcase my new eggs that I got in my first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box from Los Poblanos Organics in Albuquerque.  Aren’t they pretty? :-D

I have never seen a store-bought egg this vibrant in color!

We really like these crackers, although I wish they came in a smaller size.  They remind me of a day-old Saltine, with no salt.  The Ener-G Crackers are a staple in our house and we use them to make cheese and crackers, peanut butter and crackers or even top with homemade garlic butter (Earth Balance that I add some Garlic Powder to) and have in place of bread with meals.  You can read the ingredients here.  They are gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free and rice-free.  They do contain corn, soy and yeast though.

To 4 cups of cracker crumbs, I added 2 Tbs. of Dried Italian Seasoning.

After dredging the eggplant in egg (or water) and the Italian cracker crumbs, lay the slices on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes on each side in a 350° F. oven.  Do not skip this step, it makes a BIG difference in the final texture!

In a 9 x 13″ pan, begin with spaghetti sauce (I used a bottled Puttanesca sauce with olives and capers),

add a layer of oven-baked eggplant slices,

top with shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese, then repeat layers until you use up all the ingredients.

Top with dried basil and bake at 350° F. for 35 minutes.

This turned out VERY well (it got a 4 1/2 star rating out of 1,148 reviews on AllRecipes.com!). Mike thought it was one of the best Eggplant Parmesan’s he had ever had… even Luke, my “if it ain’t chocolate, I will fight you all the way to the bitter end” boy liked it!

* Daiya Vegan Cheese Note:

I recently received an email from Daiya about store availability:

Hello Heidi,

Thank you for your interest in Daiya and our deliciously dairy free cheese.

We currently do not produce a retail packaged product.  However, the wait is nearly over as our retail product will hit the shelves of Whole Foods at the end of March.

We received a national listing, so it will reach all stores, timing will however depend on the individual store location.

Thanks again and do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Regards,

 

Ryan Bennett

Vice President Sales & Marketing

I have made my own GF bread crumbs for years and prior to that, I bought the store-bought GF bread crumbs, but the end result in whatever I used them for, was never what I had hoped for, regardless of the cooking method I used. This was the first time I used cracker crumbs and I really think that had something to do with the great texture. I believe this so much, that I made up a huge container today to start using in place of GF bread crumbs.

If you are new to the gluten-free diet, or new to cooking more at home, I cannot recommend enough to invest in a deep freezer! I could not do what I do to make feeding a GF family of four cost effective without one (and I have two!). I store my less used GF flours, cracker crumbs, bread crumbs, etc. in the deep freezer to keep them “fresh.” This makes buying in bulk work. Might be something to consider as tax-return time is here!

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Comments

  1. Tammy McLeod says:

    Great looking eggplant recipe and you documented it very well. I love how you took photos at each stage.

    • Tammy,

      Thank you! I am glad the photos for each stage is helpful… I often wish when I read other recipes that I could have a photo to reference each stage to make sure I am on the right path!

  2. Dennis says:

    Gee, that looks great, am I invited for dinner?

  3. allie says:

    YUM.

    Eggplant Parm is one of my faves… I like the way you did this dredging, coating, THEN roasting, THEN making the parm….

    I usually roast the eggplant first, then put it together (although, i've been making it low-cal-ish, by no egg or carbs, just sauce and cheese). but this must make things a little easier!

    thanks

  4. Kim says:

    I just had eggplant parm for dinner tonight! I didn't bread mine, but it still tasted great! Love the cracker crumb idea!

  5. Tai says:

    This looks delicious! So you know we are new to the gf world…I didn't even think about marinara sauce have gluten!? Are there certain "regular" brands that aren't?

    • Tai,

      I have never personally encountered a spaghetti sauce with a gluten-containing ingredient, however there are many more moving parts that one needs to consider. I am working on a post about navigating the grocery store and all the questions that one needs to consider when choosing a "safe" product. I thought I could whip it out in an evening but I want to make sure I connect everyone to reliable resources so that might take me a day or two. Off the top of my head, I know Classico Spaghetti Sauces are labeled gluten-free, but I will follow up with more options soon.

      Great question, BTW!!!

  6. Becci says:

    I have never commented on your page before but I read it religiously. I was diagnosed about 6 months ago and I have learned so much from you. Prior to this…I was an eggplant parm specialist. I wanted to share a few things with you that you might be interested in. First, always peel, second, cost the eggplant with a thin layer of salt and let sit for a while. Then drain and rinse gently. This will remove the sometimes bitter taste. I usually coat mine with flour (better batter works great!) then egg, then bread crumbs. Makes a crispier crust. Then I fry them but I might try baking for the lower fat content. I layer them with sauce, eggplant, ricotta blend (like lasagna) then eggplant, sauce, cheese. We love the ricotta in the middle. So yummy. I think I will make it tomorrow…thanks again for all of the helpful tips!!

    • Thanks Becci!! I am so glad my silly blog has been helpful for you! I often wonder, just how goofy I come across to my readers (which I am still dumbfounded that it has gone much beyond my family). Over the years, I have adopted the attitude of "you just gotta laugh" at this crazy and often confusing lifestyle we have found ourselves in! If I don't laugh, I just might start crying and never stop! :-)

      Thanks for sharing your Eggplant Parm method too, I will have to try it! I personally do not care for ricotta cheese (it's a texture thing), but always sub cottage cheese instead (I do that in my lasagna too). It makes sense about the salt method to draw the moisture out of the eggplant, I discovered that technique this past summer when I made homemade pickles for the first time. I agree on peeling the eggplant too, another texture thing! It is very exciting for me to learn from others, thank you so much for sharing (and reading my blog)!

  7. Michelle says:

    I was just at my friends house last night and she made the this Eggplant Parmesan. It was so yummy I went on your site to look up the recipe. I do not need to eat a gluten free diet but my mom does. She has serious health problems. I just sent her your webpage. I had no idea this site existed. Thank you and you have given me a lot of recipes to try when my mom comes to visit. Thank you for all of the information.

  8. Elisa says:

    Thank you for posting your eggplant parmesan recipe! I'm making it tonight.

    • Lisa says:

      I just bought an eggplant yesterday with thinking I would give it a try and found your recipe.I stumbled across your site googling GF eggplant. I will definetly return, Great site! I am going to try the parm recipe
      tonight and can't wait. Can you tell me what stores carry the Ener- G crackers? Thanks so much

  9. Bonnie says:

    This is my first time to visit this site. I am really excited we've been a house free of gluten coming up on 5 years. When we first started it was our 1 year old who was diagnosed, now we're gluten free and my sister's 1 year old was diagnosed about 3 months ago. This is a REALLY big problem that nobody has paid nearly enough attention to. I'm so grateful to see how far we've come in a short time period. Thank you for sharing your recipes they are very clever! I will be sharing this with my sister!

  10. Morgan Pocorobba says:

    Hey there, just wanted to thank you for this recipe. I made it tonight and it was delish!

    Our family is also gluten free and mostly dairy and sugar free, too.

    Just fyi ~ when I discovered I had gluten sensitivity (celiac), I learned there are a couple things other than gluten that affect us. Citric acid, which is found in loots of stuff – (as a preservative, is one of the things that are bad for us celiacs. It's typically made with aspergillus niger – a mold.. Generally celiacs have issues also with yeast and fungal-type issues. Another is maltodextrin or dextrin.. just fyi – daiya has citric in it. I was bummed when I read the ingredients..

    Thank you for this site, I will be perusing your blogs in the future!

    Morgan

    • Hi Morgan,

      Thanks for the info on aspergillus niger, I wasn't aware that is was used in the production of citric acid which is typically made from corn and that is why I now avoid it (I have a corn allergy). I read some interesting stuff on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspergillus_niger (it's also used in the production of high fructose corn syrup).

      Maltodextrin and dextrin are also *usually* made from corn so while they are technically gluten-free, there may be other good reasons to avoid them as you point out. "Real Food" is a great way to go! :-D

  11. Katie says:

    I am currently eating this, and it is changing my LIFE. So good. Question, though…what do you think about reheating? I'm always skeptical of leftovers of things like eggplant as they can get mushy and icky. If you have any tips let me know! Thanks for making my dinner a success!

    • Hi Katie!

      Wow, that is one impressive statement (it is good, isn't it?). :-D

      I agree with you on your assessment about reheating things like eggplant, but it might work out if you reheat it in the oven, loosely tented with foil at about 325 deg. F. for about 20 minutes or so….it's at least worth a shot!

      Hugs,
      Heidi

  12. lisa says:

    Where do you find ener-g crackers? I live in Tx.

  13. Kimberly says:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! I am going to try this tonight and am pretty pumped! I also have a mandolin form Pampered Chef and I LOVE it! :) Cheers!

  14. Runn Vermel says:

    Hi There!

    I found this through searching google for a Gluten Free Eggplant Parmesan recipe. I've now tried making it twice, with marginal success. first one was my mistake – with the lack of a mandolin, I had to cut it by hand, and I cut it too thick. So… the eggplant wasn't cooked enough, no matter how long I left it in the oven (you can guess how well that worked out)…

    But the second time around, I cut the pieces very thin, and although it was better, the eggplant still wasn't cooked enough. My wife claims I need to add oil to the eggplant at some point to make sure it does cook. She suggests frying the eggplant with the breading.

    I'd love to hear what you have to say – perhaps you have an idea of what I'm doing wrong?

  15. Teresa Foster says:

    I didn’t have the crackers but I used Skinny Crisp gluten free cheese crackers along with cracker crumbs made from GF bread. Added shredded zucchini as well – and provolone cheese instead of mozzarella. Tastes delish!

  16. lindsey_313 says:

    I discovered I had an allergy to practically every grain out there including wheat. Since removing it from my diet I have felt 10 times better, I only wish I discovered it years ago.
    This looks totally yummy. Usually I have problems with eggplant going mushy. Will have to find some GF crackers and try it tonight. I miss breaded coatings but my digestive system is probably better with out it.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] My favorite gluten free “Saltine Style” cracker goes to: Ener-G (these are fairly large crackers but they make for great cheese/crackers or peanut butter/ crackers.  I also used to use them as bread crumbs in my all time favorite Eggplant Parmesan recipe). [...]

  2. [...] got the recipe from Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom and adapted it a little. It is also baked which greatly adds to the health factor! ;) Here is her [...]

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