• Eggplant parmigiana with cashew cheese (Nadia Fragnito)

Battered eggplant slices meets "cheese" in this vegan-friendly eggplant parmigiana. The Chefs' Line 

Serves
4

Preparation

40min

Cooking

40min

Skill level

Mid
By
Average: 3.1 (26 votes)
Yum

Ingredients

Pomodoro sauce

  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with a knife
  • 700 ml tomato passata
  • a small handful of basil leaves
  • salt, to taste

Eggplant

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 375 ml (1½ cups) regular soy milk
  • 225 g (1½ cups) plain flour
  • 15 g (¼ cup) nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano, plus extra, to serve
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Rice bran oil, for shallow frying

Cashew Parmesan

  • 80 g (½ cup) raw cashews
  • 15 g (¼ cup) nutritional yeast flakes
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ‘chicken’ flavoured vegan stock powder

Melted cheese sauce

  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 375 ml (1½ cups) regular soy milk
  • 30 g (½ cup) nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1-2 tsp ‘chicken’ flavoured vegan stock powder
  • fresh oregano leaves, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.

Instructions

To make the Pomodoro sauce, heat the oil and garlic over low-medium heat. Stir for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant, ensuring the garlic doesn’t brown. Stir in the passata and basil leaves, then season to taste with salt. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes or until thickened and reduced. 

To make the eggplant, using a mandolin or large knife, thinly slice the eggplant into long strips. Pour the soy milk into a medium bowl and in another bowl, combine the flour, nutritional yeast flakes, oregano and salt. Dip each eggplant slice in the soy milk, then coat in the flour mixture.

Heat the rice bran oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry the eggplant slices in batches until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towel and set aside.

To make the cashew parmesan, place all the ingredients into a nut or spice grinder and grind to a fine or chunky meal depending on your preference. Set aside.

To make the melted cheese, place the cornflour in a small bowl with enough of the soy milk to dissolve it. Place the remaining soy milk and cornflour mixture in a saucepan with the nutritional yeast flakes and stock powder. Whisk over medium heat until the sauce thickens. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Preheat the oven to 180˚C.

Spread a ladle of the Pomodoro sauce over the base of a baking dish (mine was 16 cm x 26 cm). Place a layer of the fried eggplant slices over the top and drizzle with a generous amount of the melted cheese sauce and sprinkle with some of the cashew parmesan. Repeat the layering until the eggplant is all used, then finish with a final layer of the Pomodoro sauce, cheese sauce and cashew parmesan. Drizzle over some extra olive oil and scatter with the fresh oregano. Bake for 20 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling. Rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Garnish with any remaining cashew parmesan and a pinch dried oregano.

This recipe is from Series 2 of The Chefs' Line airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Episodes will be available after broadcast via SBS On Demand. Join the conversation #TheChefsLine on Instagram @sbsfood, Facebook @SBSFood  and Twitter @SBS_Food. Check out sbs.com.au/thechefsline for episode guides, cuisine lowdowns, recipes and more!