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October 13, 2008

Dianne's Guest Blog Week: Allie's Gluten-Free Eggplant Parmesan with Tofu

Allie's Gluten-Free Eggplant Parmesan with Tofu

Allie and I met in Internetland over a the blog CelebCause, where we both contributed. Since CelebCause closed its doors we've kept up with each other and are frequent visitors to each other's blog. As strange as it may seem to some we've become friends, even though we have never met in person, but I guess that is how it works here in Internetland. But for now let's talk some Gluten-Free Eggplant Parmesan with Tofu!

Allie blogs about everything green over at Allie's Answers.

We get a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) bag every week from June through November. We pay up front for the whole season, and get to pick up a bag of 12-18 pounds of organic vegetables at our drop off location every Saturday morning. It averages out to about 16 dollars a week. It is fantastic. The majority of the veggies are picked on Friday, and everything tastes so fresh. It's a great way to try new things and support local farming.

What's in the bag every week is something of a mystery, since it's completely dependent on what's ready to be picked. This makes planning out meals a little more of a challenge. In the winter, I pick my recipes and shop for the ingredients to make them, but during the growing season, I have to form recipes to fit my ingredients.

When the contents of a recent bag included two beautiful eggplants and I had leftover ingredients from Friday night pizza, I decided it was a good time to make eggplant parm.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and since I only had half of a 1 lb. tub of ricotta in the fridge, I decided to add some tofu. My husband was actually surprised when I mentioned (after dinner) that there was tofu in the eggplant parm, so this might be a good way to get an adament non-tofu eater to give tofu a try.

Like Jamison, I can't eat wheat, so I used my friend Michele's trick of making a "breading" for the eggplant out of rice flour and dried herbs. I used homemade sauce, but I also like Amy's Kitchen Organic Tomato Sauces, or Classico Tomato & Basil Sauce. Both are free of High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Here's the full ingredient list.

* 1 large eggplant, or two medium ones, sliced to 1/4 inch thickness
* 1 jar of tomato pasta sauce
* 1/2 lb ricotta cheese (half of a small container)
* 1/2 brick (8 ounces of a 16 oz brick) of extra firm tofu
* 1lb fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
* Olive oil
* 1 egg
* 1 tablespoon milk
* 1/2 cup rice flour
* 2 tablespoons dried parsley
* 1 tablespoon dried oregano
* 1 tablespoon dried basil
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 420 degrees. Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet and spread with a spatula so the entire sheet is covered.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix rice flour, salt, pepper, and herbs together. In a small bowl, beat the egg and milk together until the mixture starts to foam. Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture, coating completely, then dip in the rice flour mixture, again, coating completely.

Arrange the coated eggplant slices in a single layer on the baking sheet, and bake at 420 degrees until browned (about 12 minutes). Flip eggplant slices over half-way through. Be careful not to let them burn. When you're done baking the eggplant (I had to do this in two batches), turn the oven down to 350 degrees.

While the eggplant is baking, purée the tofu until it's the consistency of cream cheese. Mix in the ricotta until blended evenly.

Coat a 3 quart baking dish with olive oil, and begin the layering process with a thin layer of tomato sauce.

Allie's Gluten-Free Eggplant Parmesan with Tofu

Line the dish with eggplant slices. Spoon 1/3 of the ricotta/tofu mixture on top of the slices and smooth over. Add another layer of sauce, then a layer of cheese. Repeat, eggplant, ricotta/tofu, sauce, cheese, ending with a layer of cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees until the top layer of cheese is lightly browned and bubbling (about 20-30 minutes). Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

This is a great dish to freeze in single serving sizes so you can pop it in the microwave for a quick meal later in the season.

Thanks for letting me "visit" with you over here while Dianne's away!

Posted by Dianne at October 13, 2008 7:56 AM

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I have two eggplant questions: about how thick do you slice the eggplant? do you peel the eggplant?

This looks very good! Thanks.

Posted by: Nella at October 13, 2008 1:04 PM

Hi Nella,

I didn't peel the eggplant, and I sliced it to about 1/4 inch.


Posted by: Allie at October 13, 2008 1:54 PM

This looks fabulous Allie! Thanks so much for filling in for me! :o)

Posted by: Dianne at October 15, 2008 3:49 PM

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