Friday, December 16, 2011

Eggplant Parm with Cashew Cheese over Pesto Spaghetti Squash

I know what you are thinking, where the eff did this crispy picture come from?!  Well, I gots myself a real camera, no more crappy crackberry pics for me! :)  This is a true Vegan Beezie original I came up with today.  It is a mix between a couple of dishes I have whipped up in the past.  The idea for this dish came to me as I was riding home from the YMCA with a backpack full of donated food I stole (with permission) which included basil, slider buns, and pizza dough (slider and pizza recipes soon to come).  I decided to make a dish out of the basil since the other two items freeze well and since I'm trying to kick-up my whole foods intake this recipe seemed like a good way to do it.  It seems like a lot of work if your a lazy ass like me but if your funemployed like me you can still be a lazy ass and make awesome dishes like this.  All joking aside this recipe is totally awesome and I totally suggest you give it a try.  I will leave some possible shortcuts at the end for those of you with lives.

The Squash

1 large spaghetti squash split in half and innards removed
olive oil

1.  Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Rub olive oil on the cut side of the squash and sprinkle with a generous amount of salt.  Place squash on a baking sheet cut side down and bake for 30-40 minutes until you can easily stick a fork in it.

2.  Once squash is complete scrape the "meat" out with a fork as to create a spaghetti pasta like consistency. See picture below...

While the squash is baking you can prepare the rest of the recipe...

Eggplant Parm

1 large eggplant sliced into 1/4 inch circles
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Italian seasonings
salt and pepper
olive oil

1.  Begin by covering the eggplant with a generous amount of salt and let stand for 30 minutes for the water to begin to be pulled from the eggplant.  This is a very important step when making any kind of eggplant.  If your eggplant usually sucks it is probably because you are skipping this step, don't skip it!!! (while eggplant is standing make your cashew cheese and pesto)

2.  Once 30 minutes is up thoroughly rinse salt from the eggplant and prepare yourself for some serious assembly line dipping.  Place soy milk, flour and bread crumbs in shallow bowls or plates or anything that you can easily dip the eggplant into to.  Mix the garlic powder, Italian seasonings, salt and pepper into the bread crumbs and your ready to begin dipping.  First dip eggplant into the flour till it is evenly coated, then the soy milk, then the bread crumb mixture.

3.  Once eggplant is covered in the bread crumbs place on a baking sheet that has a generous layer of olive oil and repeat the dipping until all eggplant has been covered.  Once the spaghetti squash is done bring the oven up to 425 degrees and throw the eggplant in for about 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned on both sides.


2 cups loosely packed basil
1/2 cup of walnut halves
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

1.  Place all ingredients in your blender or food processor and blend until a nice sauce forms.

Cashew Cheese

1 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until a smooth cream is formed.  I put my finished cashew cheese in a cleaned out agave container for easy presentation and storage.  See picture below.

Finishing off the dish

Mix the pesto in with the spaghetti squash, you can add some veggies to the spaghetti squash at this time if you wish, I added tomato and spinach to mine but you can add anything or nothing.  Other ideas for veggies that would work are mushrooms, bell pepper, onion or asparagus (cooked or raw).  Place a big plop of the pesto squash on a plate, lean 3-4 eggplant slices on the squash and finish with cashew cheese.

Some possible shortcuts you could do would be to use store bought vegan pesto instead of homemade or vegan cheese that you melt onto the eggplant instead of cashew cheese.

Note: All recipes in this post are very versatile and can easily be adapted to other recipes.  I put the cashew cheese on like everything these days, pizza, tacos, pasta, crackers... the possibilities are endless. Obviously the pesto can go on a ton of things, the spaghetti squash can be used in place of pasta in any dish and the eggplant can go on sandwiches, pizza or anything you can think of.  Be creative and have fun!!!!

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