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PlantPlate.com is here to provide the recipes, information, and practical advice needed to follow a healthy plant-based diet. Whether you're interested in improving your health, losing weight, or eating more sustainably, a whole foods plant-based diet may be the perfect solution for you.

My name's Emma, and I started PlantPlate in 2013 with the help of my husband Scott, a web developer and fellow plantivore. I’m a certified Plant-Based Nutritionist who loves to cook, and I've followed a plant-based diet for over a decade. Having lived in various locations throughout the world - sometimes on a shoestring budget, and often with irregular and demanding work schedules - I’ve had to constantly adapt my diet in order to make it work. It’s taught me a lot, and it’s motivated me to show others just how accessible and enjoyable this way of eating can be.

The recipes featured on PlantPlate are based on minimally processed plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. They're free from all animal products, processed oils and refined carbohydrates, and are made with simple and affordable ingredients. Our articles are aimed at providing you with plant-based know-how when it comes to shopping, cooking, nutrition and day-to-day living. We have answers to common questions and share practical knowledge that we have acquired through experience. Finally, the resources section contains links to books, DVDs, and video presentations from some of the world's leading experts on plant-based nutrition. It is our hope that these resources will help you to fully understand and evaluate the health benefits of this wonderful way of eating.

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Eggplant 'Parmesan' with Marinara Sauce (Oil-Free)

A classic dish with a healthy plant-based twist! Crisp, golden, oil-free eggplant rounds topped with a rich, flavourful veggie marinara sauce. It doesn't get much better than this.

Prep Time: 60 Minutes
Cook Time: 60 Minutes
Yield: Serves 4

Notes:

Eggplant is one of our favourite vegetables, and we always wanted to make an oven-baked, dairy-free version of this classic dish. Luckily for us, it works fabulously well! The batter and breadcrumbs become super light and crispy- even more so than when oil is used- and the eggplant in the centre is soft and creamy. We usually serve this simply, topped with marinara sauce and with some salad greens. However, you can also serve it on a bed of pasta, or load the slices into a burger bun with salad fixings to make a delicious sandwich.

Don't be intimidated by the list of ingredients and number of steps! It's actually a very simple recipe once you get the hang of it. And if you want to simplify things even more, you can skip making your own marinara and purchase a pre-made pasta sauce instead. Just be sure to look for brands that contain no oil or animal ingredients, like this one.

If eggplant isn't your thing, you can make this just as easily with sliced zucchini, sweet potato, regular potato, or even carrot chunks. Cooking times will vary slightly according to the vegetable; you can check by poking with a fork to see if the inside is tender.

The process of coating the eggplant can be a little messy, so it's a good idea to have a bowl of warm water on hand to rinse your fingers as you coat and crumb. Be sure to dry your hands well before returning them to the breadcrumbs, or you'll have a sticky mess!

Ingredients:

For the Eggplant:

  • 2 large eggplants, sliced into 1 cm (half an inch) thick rounds
  • 3/4 cup soy or almond milk
  • 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sparkling water
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs (make sure they're oil-free)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes

For the Marinara Sauce:

  • 1 medium onion, diced finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup sweet red wine (optional; can substitute extra 1/2 cup of stock or water instead)
  • 2 x 400g (14 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1.5 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Lay a clean kitchen towel (or 3-4 layers of paper towel) out on a large tray or chopping board. Place the eggplant slices on the towel in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt, then top with another clean towel. Leave for 45 minutes to draw out the moisture.
  2. While the eggplant rests, prepare the marinara (if you are making your own, otherwise skip this step.) Place the onion, garlic and vegetable stock in a pot or large saucepan. Sauté on a high heat for 5-6 minutes. Add the red wine (or extra stock) and sauté for a further 5-6 minutes. Reduce the heat, add all remaining 'marinara' ingredients, and allow the sauce to simmer for 20 minutes until thickened. (You can keep it cooking over a very low heat until ready to serve, so that the flavours develop even more.)
  3. Next, prepare the eggplant batter. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk the soy or almond milk together with the vinegar. Add the sparkling water, and whisk again. Add the flour, thyme, oregano and black pepper, and whisk gently until combined. Set aside.
  4. To prepare the crumbing, combine breadcrumbs and nutritional yeast in a large, shallow bowl. Toss to combine. Set aside.
  5. Place the eggplant in a colander and rinse with cold water. Pat dry with a clean towel, then transfer the slices to a plate or bowl. Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F, and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
  6. Now it's time to arrange a 'production' line with your eggplant slices first, followed by the batter and crumbing bowls, followed by the trays to place them on. Arrange it so you can move easily from one step to the next.
  7. Now you're ready to assemble! Take a slice of eggplant, dip it in the batter, then shake to remove any excess. Next, toss it in the crumb coating until it is well covered, then carefully place on the baking tray. Repeat with all remaining slices, leaving a 1-2 cm gap between each. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for a further 10-15 minutes until golden and crunchy.
  8. Remove from the oven, arrange slices on serving plates, and top with marinara. Serve immediately.