Monday, March 14, 2016

What Do Vegans Eat: Vegan Eggplant Parm with Almond Ricotta Cheese

Yes, you heard me correctly.  Almond Ricotta Cheese.  I am obsessed.  Almond Ricotta Cheese is one of those things you hear about and say, there's no way in heck that's going to work.  But it does!  The Tyrant and the Hubby both thought it was real ricotta, that's how real it tastes.  I ate my whole serving before to remembering to take a picture, so don't mind the dirty plate.  That's a picture of my second serving.  I'm eating last of it for lunch today.  Like I said, I am obsessed.  Let's begin...

If you're like me, you buy almonds with the skin on.  That's fine, but first you have to blanch and de-skin them.  Seems like a pain in the ass, but really, it's no big deal.  I mostly followed the directions from Tori Avey's blog, Every Day Inspired by the Past..  First, I started soaking a cup of almonds when I woke up.  That night, I dropped them in boiling water for a few seconds (you do need to let them sit a full minute if you didn't pre-soak them), then drained out the boiling water and replaced it with cold, then drained them again.  I sat with them and the Tyrant and we just popped the almonds out of their skins.  She compared it to skinning tomatoes, but easier.

Then I mostly followed Hot For Food's Almond Ricotta recipe.  Basically, throw in the blender your soaked, blanched almonds, water, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and seasoning and blend.  My Vitamix started making a weird noise and it was obvious nothing was swirling about in there, so I added an additional 1/3 cup of water.  Initially, I thought, since her directions say to drain it, what's the difference if you add more water?  I have to say, with the additional water, it was loose enough to really blend everything, but not soupy enough to require draining. I wouldn't say an additional 1/3 is definitive amount, add water slowly till it starts moving.  I would compare my extra-water/non-drained version to store bought ricotta texture and her recipe to homemade ricotta.  

I used to make homemade dairy ricotta.  Non-dairy, almond ricotta is much easier to make and healthier.

The rest is the basic eggplant parm recipe.  Dip your eggplant slices (I never pre-salt and drain, I think that's pointless) in whatever egg replacer you fancy, then breadcrumbs (I did half in panko and half the standard sawdust looking store stuff and I felt like the panko was much greasier than the regular breadcrumbs) and fry them at 350 till golden brown.

I bought jar sauce, because I was being lazy.  I will say that Wegmans 3 pack for $3 is actually a pretty good jarred sauce.  It is now my go to.  See, vegan can be inexpensive.

Then layer sauce, eggplant, almond ricotta, handful of Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds, and repeat.  I'm guessing you know that part, I think everyone knows that part.

This is definitely a recipe you can feed to non-vegans and they'd have no clue.  Repeat after me people, what do vegans eat?  The same stuff you do, just healthier and no poor mama cow had to have her baby stolen and killed, while she cried and howled for weeks begging the universe to bring her baby back.  Torture and misery never leads to a good meal.  Just saying.

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