I had eggplant hanging out in my fridge already so when I spotted vegan ricotta at Whole Foods, I thought I’d make lasagna magic happen. However, no matter how much garlic and spices I added to that vegan ricotta, I could not make it edible. It just had the taste and consistency of creamy plastic. So, into the garbage disposal it went. This recipe uses eggplant slices instead of noodles to cut down on the carbs and calories. Eggplant has a tendency to become mush if overcooked so baking them first with breadcrumbs helps them maintain structure. I’m a big fan of leaving the skin on vegetables with the exception of eggplant in a bake. Eggplant skin can be tough to cut through with a fork so strip that veg before slicing.
If you can’t find a good vegan mozzarella, I think this would taste good even without it.
Vegan Gluten Free Beyond Beef Eggplant and Spinach Bake
1 large eggplant
1 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
11 oz. bag Beyond Beef Beefy Crumble
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. anise seeds
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 jar marinara sauce
2 cups cut baby spinach leaves
1 10 oz. package vegan mozzarella shredded
vegan parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and slice eggplant lengthwise. Place breadcrumbs on a plate. Spray both sides of each eggplant slice and then dip each side into breadcrumbs and place onto a non-stick cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
While the eggplant is baking, place the Beefy Crumble in a frying pan over medium heat. As the crumbles defrost, stir in the garlic, fennel, anise and red pepper. Cook for 3-5 additional minutes, stirring often and remove from heat.
Place 2 cups of marinara in the bottom of a 9×13″ baking dish. Place a single layer of eggplant followed by beef, spinach, half the mozzarella. Top with a second layer of eggplant slices, the remaining marinara sauce, the remaining mozzarella and a sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and remove from oven. Let sit for 15-20 minutes and serve.