This Paleo Eggplant Parmesan is a healthy twist on the classic Italian dish. It’s loaded with layers of tender eggplant, tomato sauce and a cashew based “ricotta” that is all baked in the oven until bubbling. This is a real crowd pleasing dish that no one will even know is Vegan and Whole30!
Why you are going to love this Paleo Eggplant Parmesan:
- This eggplant parmesan is just as delicious as the traditional Italian dish, but completely free of grain, gluten and dairy!
- With tender layers of grilled eggplant, creamy “ricotta” and rich tomato sauce, it’s an incredibly comforting dish to eat, without being too heavy
- It’s perfect for feeding a crowd, and you can make it all a day or two in advance and quickly simply bake it before serving.
- Leftovers taste just as good the next day!
How to make this Eggplant Parmesan:
- Prepare the eggplant by cutting them into long 1/2 inch thick slices using a knife or alternatively a mandolin. Place the slices on a baking sheet and bake them in the oven for 20 minutes until they are tender and golden in colour.
- While the eggplant is cooking, make the tomato sauce. Saute onion and garlic and then stir in canned tomatoes, chili flakes and balsamic vinegar. Leave it to simmer for 10 minutes, but as is the case with most sauces, the longer you leave them to simmer the better!
- Make the “ricotta” by blending together soaked cashews, garlic and almond milk until smooth.
- To assemble layer tomato sauce, followed by eggplant slices and a thin layer of ricotta and then repeat until there are 3 layers of eggplant.
- Bake it in the oven for 20 minutes until it’s hot and bubbling on the edges.
This is a great dish to make in advance. You can make all of the layers and assemble everything in a baking dish up to 2 days ahead and then simply bake it in the oven 20 minutes before serving. You can also freeze the prepared casserole (not baked) for up to 2 months, allow it to fully thaw before baking.
Leftovers will last for 4 days in the the fridge and are best reheated in the microwave or oven for 5 minutes until warmed through.
Eggplant Parmesan is traditionally topped with bread crumbs which add a nice crunchy texture to the dish. For this grain free version I created a topping made with brazil nuts and almond flour which are pulsed into a fine crumbly texture and then mixed with nutritional yeast and ghee. If you are not on a grain free diet then feel free to swap the almond flour and nuts with 1/2 cup of gluten free bread crumbs for an equally delicious topping.
Here are a few more Italian inspired recipes….
- Eggplant Cannelloni
- Classic Beef Lasagna
- Butternut Squash Pasta with Alfredo Sauce
- The Best Italian Meatballs
- Eggplant Polpette (Meatless Meatballs)
- Spaghetti Bolognese Casserole
If you make this recipe let me know in the comment section below, I would love to hear what you think or take a photo and tag me (@everylastbite_) on Instagram, I love seeing your photos!
- 3 large eggplant
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium onion finely diced
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 14-oz cans chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes
- 1 cup cashews soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes
- 2/3 cup almond milk
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup chopped basil
- 1/4 cup brazil nuts
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or 1/4 cup parmesan for SCD)
- 2 tbsp melted butter or ghee (or coconut oil for vegan)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius).
- Cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch thick slices. Brush the eggplant slices on both sides with 1 tbsp olive oil, sprinkle with salt and place on a baking tray. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes flipping half way through baking to ensure they brown evenly.
- While the eggplant is baking, in a skillet heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add in the diced onion and minced garlic and cook for 4 minutes until the onion becomes translucent. Stir in the chopped canned tomatoes, tomato paste, chili flakes and balsamic vinegar and leave to simmer for 20 minutes until the sauce has begun to thicken.
- While the sauce is simmering, in a nutribullet container or high speed blender combine the drained cashews, almond milk and garlic cloves and blend until smooth.
- In a 10x6 (or thereabouts) sized baking dish start by spooning in a layer of the tomato sauce. Evenly place a layer of the baked eggplant slices overtop, followed by another thin layer of the tomato sauce, a layer of the cashew cream and a sprinkle of chopped basil. This should be followed by one more layer of eggplant, tomato sauce, cashew cream, basil, eggplant and then finally cashew cream. Cover the top of the dish with tin foil and place it in the oven to bake for 20 minutes.
- While the eggplant parmesan is cooking, make the optional crumbly topping. Place the brazil nuts in a food processor and pulse for 5 seconds until they have broken down into a crumbly consistency. Transfer the brazil nuts to a bowl along with the almond flour, nutritional yeast (or parmesan) and melted ghee or butter. Stir to combine.
- After 20 minutes of baking, remove the tin foil and top the eggplant parmesan with the crumbly brazil nut mixture. Return to the oven to bake for another 10 minutes until the top is golden in colour and the edges are bubbling.