You may already know that Eggplant Parmigiana is a pretty old-school Sicilian dish, and super easy to make vegan. You probably already know the original dish is more heavy on the vegetables, and not baked over pasta. Though, you could also point out that there’s an area in Italy called Parma, and that they often bread their cutlets with Parmesan cheese there – so Sicilians should stop acting like they invented eating. Even though they did. Just kidding. A little.
The chicken version of this classic Sunday dinner dish is more of an international take. In places like London, New York, and Sydney, Chicken Parmesan was transformed into a popular pub sandwich, or served over pasta in sit down restaurants. I think most of us have come to expect some form of that version when we have vegan Chicken Parmigiana/Parmesan for dinner. So this take is my hybrid of the classic vegetable dish I grew up with, and Betty’s more American version.
I love how it turned out. We’ve made Vegan Chicken Parmigiana a few times in the past, and what I love about it is that no matter how many nights you have leftovers, it always holds up. We never feel an obligation to eat our leftover Vegan Chicken Parmigiana–we look forward to it. (Ed. note: I’m looking forward to it right now.) We’re even a little sad when we finally polish it off. Which isn’t something you can say about every dish.
I’m also looking forward to having one of these cutlets with some of the extra Marinara sauce on some of that organic bread I’ve fallen in love with. I mean, who doesn’t love a good sandwich?
OK. Enough chatter. Let’s do this.
2-3 cups Match Vegan Meats Chicken (Formed into 6-8 cutlets/breasts a little larger than your palm. Now, you can also use Boca’s Chik’n Patties and skip a bunch of steps. Will it be as good? It won’t be bad. Before we discovered Match, we used to make this with the Boca patties all the time. You can skip the Bread Crumbs and Nutritional Yeast and breading steps if you go with the Boca.)
2/3 cup Bread Crumbs (You can get this with Italian Herbs already mixed in. We went that route and we’re pretty pleased with the result. Be sure and read your labels though, because some Bread Crumbs have some crazy stuff in it – whey, powdered milk, powdered egg whites. A little trick we learned is searching for bread crumbs that we start reading labels with the packages that are labeled Kosher. Kosher doesn’t equal vegan; but because you’re not supposed to mix meat and dairy, the bread crumbs are usually vegan.)
1/3 cup Nutritional Yeast
Heat oven to 350.
In a large bowl, mix Bread Crumbs and Nutritional Yeast. Then, take the Match Cutlets and dip them in the Bread Crumb mix. You want to get a very heavy, even coat on all the sides of each Match Cutlet. If you used the Boca Patties, skip the breading steps.
Evenly space the Breaded Cutlets in a glass lasagna dish. You don’t want them to touch; they’ll get stuck together.
Bake for 10-15 minutes. You want the Cutlets to have a golden brown crust, but remember that they’re being baked again over the pasta, so you want to pull them out before they’re completely baked. If you decide to go with the Boca patties, use the baking instructions on the package as a guide for how long to keep them in there. Your patties will probably be thinner, but they’ll also be frozen. So keep that in mind. After you pull them out, don’t turn off your oven. You’re going to need it at that temp for baking the final dish.
Marinara Sauce (heavy on the extras)
1 can Crushed Tomatoes (Italian Herbs if you get it)
2 cans Diced Tomatoes (Italian Herbs if you get it)
2 cloves Garlic (minced)
3/4 cup Red Wine
1/4 cup Kalamata Olives (It’s OK to get some Oil in there… in fact I think it adds a bit of something.)
1/4 cup Mushrooms (sliced Portabella)
1 can Artichoke Hearts (drained)
1/2 Large Red Onion (diced)
1/3 cup Baby Spinach (raw)
1/4 teaspoon Celery Seed
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley (chopped)
2 teaspoon Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids
2 teaspoon Oregano (save some to sprinkle over the top)
1/4 Fresh Basil (chopped)
Toss this all in a pot (except fresh basil) and let simmer for around an hour. You need to stir it frequently, but not continually. Taste it a lot to make sure you like the flavor. If you want it more savory, add more Braggs. If you want a brighter, fresher flavor, add more Celery Seed.
1 package Whole Wheat Spaghetti (cooked per package instructions)
2 cups Daiya Vegan Mozzarella (shredded)
1 cup Sheese Smoked Cheddar (shredded)
1/4 cup Vegan Parmesan (if you can’t get this, you can always use Nutritional Yeast)
6-8 Vegan Chicken Cutlets (you remember them from the recipe above)
1 Batch of Marinara (that’s also up there)
In a large bowl, mix the cooked Pasta and 3/4 of the Marinara Sauce. Try to get the extras/vegetables in the Pasta Mix. Move the Pasta Mix into the same lasagna dish you baked the Vegan Cutlets in, and spread it out so you get an even layer. With a ladle, take half of the remaining Marinara Sauce and cover the Pasta Mix. You’re going to want to keep the rest of the Marinara warm on the stove to serve over the top later.
Sprinkle 1 Cup of Daiya Mozzarella over the Pasta. Place the Vegan Cutlets on the pasta, evenly spaced. Then, sprinkle the Sheese over the dish, focusing on getting most of it on the Vegan Cutlets. Spread the rest of the Daiya Mozzarella over that. Sprinkle with the Vegan Parmesan again, focusing on the Vegan Cutlets, and then head over to the oven.
Bake uncovered for 20 -25 minutes. You want the all the Daiya melted and the cutlets to be a deep golden brown. If you want to, get a a little bit of a crust to it – you can pop it in the broiler for no more than 5 minutes after the Daiya melts.
Sprinkle some Oregano over the top and serve with the rest of the Marinara sauce poured over the cutlet or on the side. You may even want to save a little extra to make a sandwich with one of the cutlets later… who knows? Every day is a new day.