Gluten free eggplant Parmesan is a healthy, wheat free version of a classic Italian comfort food favorite!
Day One of the October Unprocessed/Gluten Free Woodman Household Challenge.
So far so good. They (my family) were mostly concerned about what they couldn’t eat, rather than focusing on what they could eat. I think that’s the panic that sets in with everybody. When I first found out, 7 years ago, that my 4 year old could no longer eat gluten or cow dairy products (goat and sheep is fine!), part of me panicked. No macaroni and cheese or pizza? Birthday cake was forbidden? No milk or ice cream? What kind of life is that for a 4 year old?
But a mom’s gotta do what she’s gotta do. It helped that daddy would be eating all the same foods too. I made my usual macaroni and cheese recipe, substituting evaporated goat’s milk for the evaporated regular milk. What about the cheese? Sheep or goat’s cheese. I subbed brown rice pasta for the wheat pasta, and voila’ – gluten free, cow free macaroni and cheese!
My friends sometimes tease me because we’ve never had pizza delivered to our house, but Sophie is the main reason! I have to make pizza with goat or sheep’s cheese, so homemade it is.
Instead of focusing on what you can’t eat, focus on what you can eat! Chicken, beef, fish, pork, all veggies and fruits, oats (as long as they are certified gluten free, because sometimes they share equipment with wheat), quinoa, corn, rice, dairy, nuts, dried fruit (it tastes like candy), dark chocolate, wine! Am I missing anything? Since wheat is a appetite stimulant, eating wheat makes you hungry for more wheat. Since eliminating it from my diet, I’m almost never hungry.
When I started cooking gluten free eggplant Parmesan , Sophie said, “are you mad at dad?” (Spencer hates eggplant. It’s a texture thing.) When he came home, Sophie said, “Daaad, you’re not going to like this….It’s eggplant!” Blah, blah, blah. I knew he’d
probably might like it. So, I took a chance.
He ate the first bite tentatively…and then another, and another. He liked gluten free eggplant Parmesan well enough to have seconds! Last night was leftover night, with grilled chicken, soup, and a couple remaining servings of the eggplant. Spencer opted for the eggplant! You just never know.
I adapted the gluten free eggplant Parmesan recipe from the Three-Cheese Eggplant recipe in Wheat Belly.
The recipe uses a mere 8 ounces of ground turkey in the sauce. A teaspoon of fennel seeds gives the ground turkey an Italian sausage flavor, but you could leave the meat out for a vegetarian version. I also added 1/2 lb. of sliced mushrooms, just because.
- 1 eggplant cut crosswise into 1/2 inch-thick slices
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 to 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 3 to 4 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes
- 4 to 6 cups of fresh spinach leaves
- 1/2 lb. mushrooms sliced
- 1/2 lb. ground turkey
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped oregano
- 3 cups marinara sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzerella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- fresh basil leaves chopped or chiffonade (One Minute Food Byte how to chiffonade basil)
Preheat oven to 325*
Place eggplant slices in a baking dish. Brush both sides of the slices with the olive oil, reserving about 2 tablespoons. Bake eggplant for 20 minutes. Remove the eggplant from the oven, but leave the oven on.
Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add chopped onions and sauté for a couple of minutes, add ground turkey, sliced mushrooms, garlic and fennel seeds and continue cooking until meat in cooked through. Add spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and seasonings and cook just until spinach is wilted. Add marinara to pan and taste for seasoning.
Mix ricotta and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese together in a bowl.
Mix remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella and parmesan cheeses together.
In a 13 X 9" baking dish, layer eggplant slices to cover bottom of dish. Top with 1/2 of the sauce, dollops of cheese mixture. Top with a second layer of eggplant slices and repeat. Finish with remaining sauce and sprinkle with parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.
Bake, uncovered at 325* F. until bubbling and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. Garnish with chopped basil.