Eggplant Parmesan is a glorious creation. Saucy, cheesy, yummy...and healthy? Well, fried eggplant certainly isn't on the top of the list for the health conscious and I've yet to find a restaurant that services this dish gluten-free. For a while, I'd venture down the painstaking path of making a gluten free breading, and frying individual eggplant strips to quench my eggplant parm craving, but I barley have time to keep up with the dishes, let alone spend an extra hour slaving away at the stove.
When I found a recipe for an eggplant parm casserole, I decided it was simpler and worth a try. The flavor was incredible and I didn't even miss the friend eggplant! After years of making it, (and a couple more kids) I adapted it to be something I could make on my stove top, in less time, but would still be loaded with cheesy Italian goodness. Oh, and quinoa.
Quinoa is the core of this meal, and you won't even miss the breading of traditional eggplant parm, making this a gluten free dream. Plus, is freezes beautifully... if you don't eat it all first. Even my three year old shadows me in the kitchen while I cook this.
To start, dice up an onion and a partially skinned eggplant (I like a little skin, but find not skinning some of the eggplant makes the dish a bit too chewy). I use a handy veggie chopper to speed up the process. Then soak the eggplant cubes in a bowl of water with 1 tsp of dissolved salt. Allow this to sit for 20 minutes. This softens the eggplant and takes away the bitterness, so don't skip this step!
While the eggplant soaks, start the quinoa. In a small sauce pan, cook 1 cup rinsed quinoa with two cups of water until the water is dissolved and set aside.
When the eggplant is finished soaking, prepare a large frying pan with your oil of choice, the cut onion, and 1 tsp Italian seasoning. Squeeze the eggplant of any excess water and add it to the pan.
Sauté for about 10 minutes, storing frequently as it'll stick to your pan.
Finally, add in one jar of marinara sauce (Newman's Own Organic Maranara is AMAZING), 1/2 c of parmesan cheese (or more), and the cooked quinoa to the pan.
Cook on low for about 20 minutes. Then top with more cheese of choice and enjoy!!
Gluten-free Eggplant Parmesan Quinoa
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is a writer & tired homeschooling mom of five.