Dinner · recipes · Side Dish

Naturally Made… Vegetarian Eggplant Parmesan and Roasted Maple Acorn Squash

Eggplant Parmesan and Roasted Acorn Squash

What makes a meal great? Real food and real ingredients.  The more I go out to eat, the more disappointed I become.  Real food is lacking in the restaurant industry.  Why?  Because real food takes time to make.  And I get it, everyone needs to make money, so out with whole  and real food ingredients and in with pre packed food to save steps in the kitchen.  Unfortunately, doing so creates a loss of value in food, nutrition, and most importantly our health.  Real food and real ingredients are what it takes to make a good meal a great meal. We all need to stop eating out and start eating in.  Relearn the value of food, good food, and teach it to our children.

I am partial to Italian food.  Since, studying abroad in Italy, I truly learned the value of wholesome ingredient.  That less is more.  That food should be cooked and eaten slowly to enjoy it.   Italy is my heart (and yes I had to even marry an Italian so we can have Italian babies!).  Many of the meals I cook are Italian and are staples in our home.  It has taken me years to get many these recipes just right.

I will never forget the trip my husband and I took (pre-babies) to Positano, Italy.  We found this little restaurant on a secret beach where the locals would go.  We ordered an appetizer of eggplant parmesan that was so phenomenal and so unforgettable that I have been trying to replicate since coming home.  This dish is as close as it comes.  It is layered like a lasagna made with wholesome, fresh ingredients, my Homemade Maranera Sauce, and freshly grated cheeses for melt in your mouth flavor!  Perfect to enjoy with a refreshing glass of Chardonnay, or homemade Sangria.  I served it with a Roasted Maple Acorn Squash, but a fresh green salad with a drizzle of Olive Oil and balsamic vinegar would also be great.

 

Naturally Made Vegetarian and Gluten-Free Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients (Choose Organic when possible)

  • 1 large Eggplant or 2 smaller Eggplants
  • 2 free-range organic eggs
  • 3/4 cup Almond meal
  • 3/4  cup Parmesan Cheese plus two more for topping
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • A few grinds of Himalayan Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 batch of my Homemade Marinara Sauce (or two jars of  an all natural store-bought sauce)
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Roasted Maple Acorn Squash

Ingredients

  • 1 Acorn Squash
  • 4 tsp real butter
  • 2 tsp of sucanat (a natural sugar full of minerals and molasses)
  • 1 Tbs of Real Maple syrup
Begin by slicing your eggplant as thin as possible, an 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch.  Lay out on paper towels or kitchen towels and grind some himalayen salt on each side.  This will help to remove the bitterness and any water from the eggplant.  I do this  for 3-4 hours.  While the eggplant is "resting,"  cook your marinara sauce and let simmer for at least 1 hour.
Begin by slicing your eggplant as thin as possible, an 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch. Lay out on paper towels or kitchen towels and grind some himalayen salt on each side. This will help to remove the bitterness and any water from the eggplant. I do this for 3-4 hours.
While the eggplant is “resting,” cook your marinara sauce and let simmer for at least 1 hour.

 

 

Cut Acorn squash in 1/4 and  place into a large dish with 1/4 inch of filtered water at the bottom. Add butter, sucanat, maple syrup, and little Himalayan Salt to the tops and place in a preheated at 400 oven for 60 min.
Cut Acorn squash in 1/4 and place into a large dish with 1/4 inch of filtered water at the bottom. Add butter, sucanat, maple syrup, and little Himalayan Salt to the tops and place in a preheated at 400 oven for 60 min.

 

Mean while, in one dish add beaten eggs and the other mix together the almond flour, parmesan, herbs, salt, and pepper. Dip each slice of eggplant into the eggs covering both sides and then into the almond flour mixture coating each side.  Place onto a greased (I used coconut oil) baking sheet.
Mean while, in one dish add beaten eggs and the other mix together the almond flour, parmesan, herbs, salt, and pepper.
Dip each slice of eggplant into the eggs covering both sides and then into the almond flour mixture coating each side. Place onto a greased (I used coconut oil) baking sheet.

 

Bake eggplant for 25 or 30 minutes flipping them half way through.  I used two baking sheets.
Bake eggplant for 25 or 30 minutes at 400 degrees flipping them half way through. I used two baking sheets.

 

Cover bottom of 9x9 baking dish with sauce, layer eggplant, sauce again then grated Mozzarella. Continue two more times.
Cover bottom of 9×9 baking dish with sauce, layer eggplant, sauce again then grated Mozzarella. Continue two more times and then sprinkle remaining 2 Tbs parmesan on top.

 

Place into oven at 350 degrees for 30 min or until golden and bubbly on top.
Place into oven at 350 degrees for 30 min or until golden and bubbly on top.

 

Eggplant Parmesan and Roasted Acorn Squash

 

Eggplant Parmesan and Roasted Acorn Squash

 

Eggplant Parmesan and Roasted Acorn Squash

 

Eggplant Parmesan and Roasted Acorn Squash

In Italy, they served us the Eggplant with a basked of freshly baked bread.  I though squash would be a delicious change.  These don’t necessarily go together normally, but it sure was good!

Salute and Buon Appetito!

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2 thoughts on “Naturally Made… Vegetarian Eggplant Parmesan and Roasted Maple Acorn Squash

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