Gluten-Free Eggplant Parmesan

Get ready for the most amazing recipe ever.  If you want a man to fall in love with you, cook this for him.  If you want a woman to forgive you for being a jerk, make this for her.  I have been making this amazing eggplant parmesan for years now.  I haven’t made it since my celiac diagnosis, but last night I made my first gluten-free version and it was just as good, if not better, than the original.  The only things I had to adjust to make it gluten-free were to find an alternative to the Italian-style breadcrumbs and be sure to use gluten-free marinara and cheeses.  I already have an awesome marinara recipe that I have been using recently and I had some random packages of gluten-free bread in the freezer.  Several packages had just the end piece(s) left and others just had broken bits.  I’m sure you can find gluten-free breadcrumbs somewhere, but I decided to go all out and make my own using all those frozen bread scraps that I had just taking up valuable freezer space.

 

Italian Bread Crumbs

Ingredients:

5-6 pieces of gluten-free bread (any variety)—I used a combo of 3 different types

3 garlic cloves

1 tsp basil flakes

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions:

1.  Cut thawed bread into cubes and process into crumbs (they don’t have to be too fine yet)

2.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit to remove moisture and slightly brown.  Mine took about 20 minutes with occasional stirring.

3.  Let breadcrumbs cool, and process again with garlic and spices.

 

Simple!

 

Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients:

2 large eggplants

2 jars or at least 1.5 batches of my homemade marinara sauce

2-3oz fresh spinach

Shredded mozzarella cheese (Kraft Naturals*)

Shredded parmesan cheese (Kraft Naturals*)

bread crumbs (2 cups or so)

2 eggs

basil

oregano

 

*Many shredded cheese brands coat the cheese in flour to prevent clumping.  Sargento and Kraft Naturals (and perhaps other brands that I am not aware of?) use potato starch or cellulose powder instead to coat their pre-shredded cheeses.

 

Directions:

1.  Peel raw eggplants and slice into circular discs of about 1/3-1/2” diameter

2.  Sprinkle salt liberally on each side and lay out on a plate for at least half an hour.  The eggplant should appear to start sweating (beads of moisture will form).  The purpose of this is to remove some of the water from the vegetable so your casserole isn’t too watery.

Don't worry if it turns a little bit brown.

3.  Rinse the eggplant slices in water very well to remove the salt.  Pat dry with a paper towel.

4.  Dip eggplant slices in beaten egg mixture, being sure to cover the whole thing.

5.  Let excess egg drip off of eggplant and dip egg-coated eggplant slice in bread crumbs to cover the entire slice.

6.  Lay slices out on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-10 minutes (until slice becomes a bit softer).  Flip slices and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

 

Pre-baking

Start layering casserole dish:

1.  Pour marinara sauce in bottom of dish to cover surface.

2.  Put a layer of breaded and baked eggplant slices on top of the sauce.  You can use a sharp knife to cut slices in half to form a complete layer.

3.  Put a spoonful of marinara sauce on top of each eggplant slice and spread to mostly cover the eggplant slice.  Sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan cheese over the entire layer.  Add basil and oregano on top of the cheese.

4.  Add a layer of spinach for extra greens.

One layer.

5.  Add another layer of breaded/baked eggplant, then sauce, then cheese, then spices, then spinach, as done for the first layer.  Continue doing this until pan is mostly full.  Top with more sauce, cheese, and spices.

6.  Bake the entire dish at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes until the top is brown and the sauce is all bubbly.  If the cheese starts to burn, cover with aluminum foil.

It tastes as good as it looks!

7.  Serve with generous portions of red wine.

Some meals just aren't as good without wine.

 

I was moving all day yesterday.  I had a good workout in the morning with a 5-mile run, some sprints, push-ups, and ab work.  Then my husband and I went for three separate walks (totaling at least six miles!).  One was for errands, one was for fun, and one was for ice cream.  The weather was so nice, we went down to the river to walk around and take some pictures.  We found lots of pretty flowers and a snake!

 

James River

 

Pretty!

 

Eek! I took the picture and ran!

Today, I might take my bicycle out for a long ride.  I’m trying to lay off the longer distance running for a bit.  My right hip flexor has been bothering me on runs over 8-9 miles for the past few months.  After last week’s 11-mile run, I’ve decided to back off the mileage and focus on interval training and shorter runs/other forms of cardio for awhile to see if I can resolve this.

I hope the Easter bunny left everyone lots of chocolate.  I didn’t get any and I am very disappointed!  I’ll just have to hit up the clearance sales tomorrow!

Happy eating!

-c

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