as the colder months roll around i start looking for ways to incorporate more greens into the diet. summer salads are out and dark, leafy greens are in season. cooking greens can be a little intimidating. i remember the traditional southern cooked greens that i saw in the few months that i lived in south georgia: cooked with fatty meat and butter and heavily salted, they didn’t feel very, well…green. greens are a lot more in fashion now, and i cook them often. so my friends, i’ll offer up some of my favorite recipes that incorporate greens.
first up we have a vegan version of an italian staple: eggplant parmesan. typically cooked with eggs, milk, bread crumbs and wheat flour and topped with cheese, it’s hard to imagine a vegan, gluten free version, but i made this last night and it was mighty tasty. instead of pasta i served it with some crispy kale, also known as “kale chips” to the masses. i love using greens with italian dishes instead of pasta, it always seems to compliment.
a couple of tips: set up a bowl with the almond milk wash and separate plates with the flour, and with the bread crumbs to coat the eggplant assembly line style. once you have coated the eggplant, set it on a baking sheet (make sure not to stack the pieces or the coating will come off) to have the pieces ready for frying. you won’t want to be scrambling to get the pieces ready while your oil is hot because it will burn and smoke. also, when you are coating the eggplant slices, it’s best to hold on the outer rim of the eggplant and try not to touch the eggplant too much because the coating will come off easily.
- for the eggplant: 1 eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
- pinch of sea salt per slice of eggplant
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten free flour (more as needed)
- 1 cup gluten free bread crumbs
- 1 1/2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- canola oil for frying
- for the kale: 1 bunch of fresh kale, torn into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- sea salt to taste
- slice the eggplant and put a pinch of salt on each slice and let sit, 15 minutes to half an hour. this will draw the moisture out of the eggplant and make it optimal for frying
- pre-heat oven to 425
- on a baking sheet, drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil, then lay the kale pieces out (not overlapping) and drizzle the other tablespoon olive oil on top. set aside and prep the eggplant
- in a bowl combine the almond milk with the flaxseed meal, this will make a paste similar to an egg wash
- dip a slice of eggplant in the flour, both sides. they should be lightly coated
- dip the floured slice into the almond milk. do this quickly on both sides, making sure there are no dry spots
- next put the slice into the bread crumbs, dredging quickly, and then set aside and repeat for each slice of eggplant
- put the kale into the 425 oven and let roast until crispy, about 8 minutes
- warm your marinara sauce in a saucepan
- cook the eggplant: coat the bottom of a large pan with canola oil and heat over medium heat
- add in the eggplant, and cook each side until tender with a fork and golden brown. you will need fresh oil between each batch, make sure to the oil is heated before adding more eggplant
- remove eggplant from oil & place on a paper towel lined plate
- stack the eggplant slices, topping 2 slices with a few tablespoons of warm marinara and then covering with 2 more slices of eggplant, then topping with more marinara. serve along with the crispy kale. you can top with vegan cheese or serve without, it’s delicious either way.