Crispy Vegan Eggplant Slices with Mushroom Gravy (and a basic hemp milk recipe)

Recently, in an issue of Vegetarian Times, there was an article that contained a recipe for eggplant roll-ups.  I know this because that particular issue happens to be in my bathroom and I might, ahem, happen to have read it a few times.  So when I was at the store Saturday stocking up on fruits & vegetables I decided to go out on a limb and buy some eggplant.  See, we don’t like eggplant here.  Mark will tolerate it if he must but he really doesn’t like it and I have never had much of an opinion on it one way or another so we just don’t buy it.  But I did.

Then Sunday night came around and I decided to use the eggplant but I didn’t want to go to all the work of making roll-ups.  And, as I didn’t have a lot of the ingredients and I am trying very intensely not to run to store for things for a recipe I decided to go in a different direction.  I got my inspiration from all sorts of places but Chez Bettay, What do I know, and Natural Fertility Info all played a large roll in this dinner coming together so thanks!

T doesn’t eat either eggplant or mushrooms so this one was not made gluten free.  I think there are some reasonable subs that could make it gf so if you try it I’d love to know how it went!

You could make these 3 recipes separately and use them in different ways, of course.    I made the hemp milk because they only soy milk I had was vanilla and I thought that would take it in a whole different direction.  I found the hemp milk to be a fine replacement in a pinch and would make it again for this type of thing.  Feel free to use any plain non-dairy milk you’ve got.  The mushroom gravy would be good on lots of things.  (I may or may not have heard a person who eats meat saying “This mushroom gravy is good on my meatloaf, honey.  Thanks.”  But I can neither confirm nor deny.)  And I’m looking forward to eating the eggplant slices in different ways.  I think they would be good on top of pasta with sauce, or on a sandwich.  I cooked a few too long and they were like eggplant chips and would be good with dip.  So many possibilities!

So here’s how I’d do it.  I’d make the hemp milk first and let it sit.  Then I’d make the eggplant slices, using the hemp milk, and put them in the oven.  While they are baking I’d make the gravy and then I’d assemble everything at the table or right before.  But, of course, do what works for you!

Basic Hemp Milk to be used when you desperately need a plain dairy free milk & you’re in a pinch

1/2 cup raw hemp seeds

3 cups water

Blend the water and seeds in your high speed blender for at least 3 minutes.  Refrigerate anything left.  It will separate in the fridge.  Just stir.  For the record I did not enjoy just drinking this but it’s good, in a pinch, for recipes.

Crispy Eggplant Slices  

2 eggplants

1-1.5 cups matzo meal (or other chunky type breadcrumb)

1-1.5 cups quinoa flour (or kamut flour or other whole grain flour)

1-1.5 cups hemp milk (or other non-dairy milk)

1 tbsp dijon mustard

salt, pepper, spices that go with what you want (I’d start with something basic like Italian seasoning)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  If you’ve got a pizza stone feel free to pre-heat it.  If not, no worries.  Regardless of whether or not you’ve got a pizza stone put 1 long piece of parchment on a cookie sheet.

Peel the eggplant and slice.  You could certainly do long slices that look like cutlets if you’d like.  Put the milk in one container, the matzo meal in another, and the flour in a third.  Add your spices to the matzo meal.

Make a sort of assembly line.  Dip one slice into the flour, then into the hemp milk, and then into the matzo.  Turn the slices over each time so they are well coated.  Put them on the parchment paper.  Once you’ve filled the paper you can either lift the parchment off and put the whole thing on the pizza stone or just put the cookie sheet in the oven.  If you lift the parchment get someone to help you.  Take it from me.  This step is crucial.  Not that I know or anything….

You could spray the slices with a little cooking spray if you want.  Bake for about 15 minutes and then turn the slices over.  Bake for another 15 minutes.  If you happen to oh, I don’t know, get involved in something and let the slices go too long don’t despair!  They make good chips.  (Yes this is, once again, experience talking!)

While the eggplant is baking make the gravy!

Mushroom Gravy

2 tbsp olive oil

16 oz sliced white mushrooms

1 leek, sliced

2 cups veggie stock

1/2 cup red wine

3 tbsp quinoa flour (Or other flour – I’d like to try brown rice or sorghum)

1/2 tbsp Italian Seasoning

3 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

Heat the oil in a large saucepan until hot.  Add the mushrooms and stir occasionally for about 6 to 8 minutes on medium high.  Add the leeks and stir some more, cooking about 5 more minutes.  Add the red wine and turn the heat down to medium.  Stir occasionally until the wine is just about gone.

While the wine is cooking down mix the flour into the stock and make sure it’s well combined.  Add the stock and flour while stirring.  When well combined add the spice and Worcestershire sauce.  Stir until thickened.  Taste to see if it needs more Worcestershire, spice, or a little salt.  Turn the heat to low and let simmer.  If it gets too thick add a little of that hemp milk!

This made a great dinner and I’m excited to have the extra slices to do things with.  My husband, the one who hates eggplant, actually ate them!

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