Paleo Eggplant Parmesan With Pork Ragu by @SoLetsHangOut // #glutenfree #dairyfree #whole30 #eggplantparmesan #eggplant #italian #vegan #paleo

I might be having a bit of an existential crisis. I made an entire pan of eggplant parmesan without any actual cheese. And I liked it. A lot. In fact, not only did I not use actual cheese, I manufactured cheese out of nuts. Yup. Nut cheese. I’m still in the middle of a Whole30, which means no dairy for this girl. Enter the cashews.

There are several things I’ve been highly suspicious of in my life, and the culinary term “nut cheese” is definitely on that list. I mean, could it sound any less appetizing? It’s up there with bellybutton lint. Not something you want on top of your pasta. Or, anywhere near the kitchen for that matter. Just, no. But here I am, manufacturing cheese out of cashews. Nutting up a pan of eggplant parm, and trying to convince you that this recipe is so gosh darn good that I considered licking the pan. My husband, a fellow member of team “WHY WOULD THEY CALL IT NUT CHEESE?!” also couldn’t get enough of this stuff. So, in conclusion I think we can agree that the term “nut cheese” is totally gross, but we should put skepticism aside in order to make large pans of dairy-free comfort food.Paleo Eggplant Parmesan With Pork Ragu by @SoLetsHangOut // #glutenfree #dairyfree #whole30 #eggplantparmesan #eggplant #italian #vegan #paleo

Eggplant parm was one of the first “fancy” recipes that I learned how to make when I was a kid. It was reserved for special occasions since life was too busy to be frying that much eggplant on the reg. But, my goodness, it was delish and always felt special. A huge pan of breaded eggplant covered with wine-laden red sauce and tons of cheese. The cheese would bubble and get crispy on the corners. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.Paleo Eggplant Parmesan With Pork Ragu by @SoLetsHangOut // #glutenfree #dairyfree #whole30 #eggplantparmesan #eggplant #italian #vegan #paleo

I wanted to create a recipe that captured the same flavors without the traditional use of breadcrumbs or cheese. I was highly skeptical that this recipe would work out… I’ll just say it. I mean, how good could a pan of Italian food slathered in nut cheese be? At best, I thought this would be something I would eat in private and never tell my Italian Grandmother about. She wouldn’t need to know that I did this. I don’t need to tell my father. He doesn’t need to feel that kind of shame. But, YOU GUYS. It’s good. Like, I’d make this for my grandmother. I would feed this to my father and then break the news to him that he had a mouthful of nut cheese. I’M NOT KIDDING. I’M FREAKING OUT. SO MANY CAPS. ERMAGHERD. Oh, did I mention that I’m including some substitutions in the recipe notes to make this recipe vegan? Because, I totally like you even if you don’t like pork. High five.Paleo Eggplant Parmesan With Pork Ragu by @SoLetsHangOut // #glutenfree #dairyfree #whole30 #eggplantparmesan #eggplant #italian #vegan #paleo I know that it’s not typical to make eggplant parm with a meat sauce, but I couldn’t resist. It’s extra savory and hearty, and perfect for this cold winter weather. I really hope you enjoy this pan of comfort food as much as I did. Maybe a little less, since my obsession seems to be bordering on perverted. I’m gonna go now before I make anymore nut cheese jokes. It’s getting cheesy. Totally nuts. Imma stop now. K-thanks.

Paleo Eggplant Parmesan With Pork Ragu {Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free + Vegan Option}

Serves Serves 6-8     adjust servings


    Cashew Cheese

    • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or at least for a few hours
    • 1/2 cup filtered water
    • Juice from 1 lemon
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • 1 tsp granulated garlic

    Breaded Eggplant

    Pork Ragu

    • 1 Tbs olive oil
    • 1 lb ground pork
    • Salt, pepper & granulated garlic, to taste
    • 2 cloves or garlic, pressed
    • 1 25oz jar of your favorite tomato sauce
    • 1 cup red wine


    1. First, start with the cashew cheese. Drain your soaking cashews and rinse them well. Add them to a high speed blender with the water, lemon juice, salt and granulated garlic. Blend together until it is creamy and smooth. You might need to use the tamper that comes with your blender. Taste the cashew cheese once it is a smooth consistency and adjust the seasoning as needed. Put the cashew cheese into a storage container and set it in the fridge while you work on the other pieces of the dish.
    2. Cut the eggplant into rounds and set aside. Combine the almond meal and spices into a shallow dish. Beat two eggs into another shallow dish and set aside. Generously coat a large frying pan with olive oil and heat it up over medium to high heat.
    3. Dip both sides of the eggplant into the egg, and then dip each side of the eggplant into the almond meal mixture. This should coat the eggplant and make it look breaded. Place coated eggplant rounds into the hot frying pan and allow them to cook for a minute or two on each side, or until the eggplant is soft and the breading is crispy and brown. Repeat this step over and over until you've fried all of your eggplant. You might need to add more oil to the pan between each batch. Place all of your fried eggplant rounds onto a clean plate and set aside while you make the sauce.
    4. Heat up the olive oil in a large saucepan. Once the oil is hot, add the ground pork and season well with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Add in the pressed garlic and brown the meat and garlic together until the pork is completely cooked through. Once the pork is cooked, add in the jar of sauce and stir. Add in the red wine and stir again. Allow the sauce to simmer and reduce for 15 to 20 minutes over low heat.
    5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Once the sauce is ready, it's time to assemble the Eggplant Parmesan in a baking dish. Layer the sauce on the bottom, and place fried eggplant round on top of the sauce. Cover the first layer of eggplant rounds with more sauce. Using a silicone spatula, add a layer of cashew cheese on top of this sauce layer. It doesn't have to be perfect. Add another layer of fried eggplant on top of the cheese layer. Cover the eggplant with sauce and then once again with cashew cheese. Bake for 35-40 minutes. The sauce should be bubbling, the eggplant soft, and the cheese should harden and crisp up a bit on top.
    6. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes before cutting into it. Top with a little chopped fresh basil. Serve and enjoy!


    Recipe Notes

    To make this recipe vegan, make the following substitutions: Instead of eggs, use a 1/2 cup of almond milk whisked with 1 tsp. of cornstarch. Instead of pork, substitute chopped up crimini mushrooms.

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