Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dairy Free Eggplant "Parm" with Ground Beef

I have always loved Italian food. Cheese, carbs, tomato sauce, herbs, oh my! Once I realized I couldn't tolerate gluten or dairy, my Italian cooking become limited. I missed warm creamy, tomato dishes like baked ziti or lasagna. Then, I started a hybrid of the Paleo/GAPS diet. I dreamed of a dairy free, grain free version of Eggplant Parmesan for months before giving  Coconut flour is great for breading, and I figured a nut cheese would work well when baked with some tomatoe sauce. I sure was right about that! It really helps to make your own tomato sauce.

This dish is food for the soul. Especially for those of us who are so restricted. It takes a lot of effort. You can make the tomato sauce in advance. You can actually make all of the items in advance, and then the night of just layer everything and throw it in the oven. This way it only takes a little more than an hour the night of.

Nut "Cheese:"
1-2 cups of of nuts. (I use a mixture of cashews, macadamia nuts, and sunflower seeds or just cashews.)
1-2 TBSP Nutritional yeast
Garlic Powder, to taste
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Soak nuts in water for 1-24 hours. Strain. Blend in food processor, adding water slowly to make a ricotta like paste. Add nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste.

Tomato Sauce:
1 small onion, diced
8 tomatos
dried herbs, like thyme and rosemary
fresh basil
salt and pepper
a few beef bones, preferably with some meat on them
1 small can tomato paste

Saute onion,garlic, and herbs for a few minutes until slightly browned. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, beef bones, salt and pepper. Simmer for at least an hour (Move on to the next part of the recipe during this time). Add basil and any other  seasonings to taste and simmer for a few minutes more so the basil will infuse.

1/2 cup coconut flour
dried herbs or seasoning blend of choice, 1 TBSP
salt and pepper
1 egg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice eggplant in either direction, making it thin enough so it will cook through easily. Whisk egg. Dip eggplant slices into egg to coat, then dip in herbed coconut flour. Line the biggest pan that fits in your oven with tin foil and bake each side for 25 minutes, or more, until eggplant is browned on the outside and soft through. If your oven is small like mine, you may need to do two batches, for a total of 50 minutes each, or an hour and 40 minutes, plus extra time for removing one batch and adding the other. It's okay if your tomato sauce is simmering this whole time.

1 pound ground beef
1 half small onion, diced
herbs and seasoning of choice

While your last side of eggplant side is in the oven, saute onions and spices and add beef until browned.

Eggplant "Parm"
Layer the sauce, eggplant, beef, nut "cheese." Lightly sprinkle with remaining herbed coconut flour. Bake on 350 or 375 for 30-45 minutes. Broil for 15 minutes to brown the top.

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