Ah, the humble eggplant. Although it may be used comically in emoji-form by teens across the world, I believe it has been one of the most underutilized and under-appreciated veggies there ever was. Unlike squash, eggplant keeps its shape and form when cooked- making it the perfect robust base for a bake.

I first came across my love of eggplant parm when I was in high school. One of the local restaurants in my hometown made an eggplant parm that was breaded and fried before it was baked with mounds of marinara and stringy mozzarella. Although it tasted heavenly, it sure did a number on my arteries. 

Thankfully, this recipe has allowed me to continue to enjoy eggplant parm in its healthiest and vegan-ized form. If you're feeling adventurous, you can add a layer of hearty squash to max out your fiber for the day. 

Vegan Eggplant "Parm"

  • Prep Time:40 mins
  • Cook Time:25 mins
  • Total Time:1 hr 5 mins
  • Servings:5
  • Medium


  • 2 eggplants cut into 1/2" thick rounds.
  • Salt and additional to taste
  • 12oz. jar tomato sauce
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tbsp. avocado or olive oil.
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews soaked
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • Ground Black Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • Optional Basil to garnish
Sara Klimek
  • Step 1

    Preheat oven on broil. (Note: "broil" means really-friggin'-hot. If you use parchment paper during this recipe with an oven on broil, you might set your stove aflame) Place sliced eggplant on baking tray(s). Generously sprinkle salt on the top side of each slice. Let rest until eggplant begins to sweat.

    Sara Klimek
  • Step 2

    Add avocado or olive oil, 2 cloves-worth of garlic, and onion to medium-sized skillet. Cook on medium-high until onion starts to soften (3-4 minutes).

    Sara Klimek
  • Step 3

    Add tomato sauce and Italian seasoning to pan. Stir to incorporate & let simmer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

    Sara Klimek
  • Step 4

    In a blender, combine other 2 cloves of garlic, lemon juice, water, soaked cashews, salt, pepper, onion powder, nutritional yeast, and cornstarch. If you want a more "cheesy" flavor, you can add more nutritional yeast. Blend until combined; the sauce will resemble an alfredo of sorts. If the sauce appears too watery, add 1 tbsp. more cornstarch and blend again.

    Sara Klimek
  • Step 5

    Once eggplant sweats (should be about 15-20 minutes in), use paper towel to dab off excess water. Broil in oven for 6 minutes, or until tops of eggplants start to lightly brown. Remove from oven and put aside. Turn down oven to 400°.

    Sara Klimek
  • Step 6

    Time to start assembling your dish! Place the first layer of eggplant slices into an oven-safe casserole dish.

    Sara Klimek
  • Step 7

    Scoop 1/3 of quinoa (approximate) into the dish. Spread evenly across eggplant slices.

    Sara Klimek
  • Step 8

    Pour 1/3 of tomato sauce into dish. Spread evenly.

    Sara Klimek
  • Step 9

    Pour 1/3 of cashew cream into the dish. Using spatula, swirl into tomato sauce.

    Sara Klimek
  • Step 10

    Repeat with another layer of eggplant, quinoa, sauce, and cashew cream. Depending on how many eggplant slices you have, you might have to go for a third layer.

    Sara Klimek
  • Step 11

    Top with basil garnish and bake uncovered for 25 minutes.

    Sara Klimek
  • Step 12

    Slice and serve! You can store this dish in microwave-safe containers for 3-4 days in your fridge. I ate this for dinner with some roasted zucchini!

    Sara Klimek