You might not be able to judge a book by its cover, but you can certainly judge a recipe by the silence it creates while being enjoyed. I give you exhibit A above: a baked eggplant marinara sandwich I made for dinner the other night. Dan was nearly silent the entire time he ate it and when I asked him what he thought of it he responded, "It's so good that I can't even talk while I eat it." Odd compliment but I'll certainly take it.
This sandwich is eggplant parmesan's handheld child, and I love it. Panko-coated eggplant is baked to tender perfection, cocooned between toasted bread, and laid to rest beneath melted mozzarella, marinara, and peppery arugula. The combination is dangerous in a I-could-probably-eat-three-of-these kind of way. This sandwich is hearty and satisfying, yet won't leave you feeling overstuffed. It's the perfect meal for Meatless Mondays, a Friday night in, or for that dinner party when you just want everyone to shut up and eat.
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled and thinly sliced longways (¼-inch thick)
- 1 ¼ cup plain almond milk
- ¾ cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 8 ounces sliced or shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1 french bread loaf, cut into four pieces
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 1 cup arugula
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.
- Spread eggplant slices out onto a large baking sheet. Sprinkle liberally with salt (about ¼ teaspoon or so per slice). Let stand for 30 minutes (you'll start to see the eggplant sweat). Rinse eggplant slices thoroughly and pat dry.
- While the eggplant sweats, whisk together the almond milk, whole wheat flour, parsley, basil, crushed red pepper, garlic salt, and apple cider vinegar in a medium bowl.
- Pour panko breadcrumbs into a large bowl.
- Take one eggplant piece at a time and dip it into the almond milk coating and then into the panko breadcrumbs, being sure to coat both sides evenly. Place on a lightly-greased baking sheet. Repeat with all eggplant slices.
- Bake eggplant slices in oven for 8 minutes. Turn slices over and bake for another 8 minutes.
- While eggplant bakes, slice your french bread rolls along one side making sure to leave one side attached. Fill each of the rolls with 2 ounces of mozzarella, drop on a baking sheet, and pop into oven with eggplant for 4-5 minutes or until cheese melts.
- Remove bread and eggplant from oven and begin assembling the sandwiches. Open the french bread and layer 3 pieces of baked eggplant within it. Top with ¼ cup marinara and a small handful of arugula. Serve immediately.
- To reheat the eggplant to make sandwiches at a later time, heat oven to 425 degrees and bake for 5 minutes on each side to crisp the panko up again.
I made this for dinner tonight, It was delicious!