It was a cold January week and I was craving something warm and hearty. A dish with a great marinara sauce sounded delightful, but the thought of meat was drowning my hopes. I’m not exactly sure why, but I’ve been craving vegetarian dishes more and more. Vegetables with marinara provide a lot of options, but eggplant parmesan was calling my name. I just couldn’t resist…
1 large eggplant
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs italian seasoning
1/2 c red wine
28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 c flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c breadcrumbs
1/2 c parmesan cheese, grated if using
12 ounces grated mozzarella cheese if using
The morning of slice eggplant into 1/2 inch slices. Lay on a baking sheet lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Layer eggplant with salt and paper towels until all are covered. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.
In a large pot heat 1 tbs olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic and italian seasoning, cook until onions soften about 5 minutes. Add red wine to deglaze the pan, cook until liquid reduces by half. Add crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat covered for 30 minutes. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make an assembly row with flour in a plate, eggs in one bowl, breadcrumbs in a plate (in that order). Remove eggplant from frig and discard paper towels. Working one at a time dredge the eggplant slices first in the flour, then dip in the beaten eggs, and then dredge in the breadcrumbs. Meanwhile heat a large saute pan over medium high heat and add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add eggplant slices without crowding the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides, you will need to work in batches. Once cooked place on a paper towel lined plate until all are cooked.
Spread 1/4 c of the tomato sauce onto the bottom of a 8×8 inch dish. Place a third of the eggplant rounds in a single layer on top of the sauce. If not dairy free layer 1/3 of the mozzarella and parmesan on top of the eggplant. Repeat 3 times. Bake for 30 minutes or until thoroughly warmed. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Every once in a while pizza just doesn’t cut it and you need a calzone. Seemingly many Italian dishes are not the same when prepared dairy free, but I promise you won’t be missing it here. You have the savory sausage paired with the sweet peppers and depth of flavor when it combines with pesto and you dip in marinara. If you’re looking to compromise on flavor you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Calzone with Sausage, Roasted Red Peppers and Pesto
1 c ground sweet italian sausage
2 shallots, chopped
3 portobello mushrooms, chopped
1/2 c prepared pesto
7 oz jar of roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1 (13 to 16-ounce) ball store bought pizza dough
1 ball of fresh mozzarella cheese,chopped (optional)
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water
1 c marinara sauce
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large saute pan. Add sweet italian sausage, shallots, and mushrooms cook until sausage is cooked through. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes,then stir in pesto and roasted red peppers. Place the pizza dough on a floured surface and roll out into a 12-inch circle then place onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Lay the sausage mixture over one half of the dough then sprinkle with fresh mozzarella if using. Brush the egg wash around the edge of the dough, then fold the other side of the dough over the filling, pinching to seal the edge. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Slice calzone into 4 pieces and serve with marinara sauce.
Sometimes you just need a slice or two or even three of pizza. It’s the college student inside all of us that won’t let it go. Except unlike college you’re not craving the same nasty, greasy pizza you used to eat at 2 am…your taste buds have matured. So if you are looking for a healthy pizza that will be ready in under 30 minutes, this one is for you.
1 (1lb) ball of store bought pizza dough
1/2 c tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 shrimp, chopped
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
5 basil leaves, chopped
2 c arugula
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 14 inch diameter circle. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Spread tomato sauce over dough, then sprinkle with garlic, shrimp and mozzarella. Bake for 20 minutes or until dough is lightly brown. While pizza is cooking toss basil with arugula. Mix lemon juice with dijon mustard and extra virgin olive oil then use to dress arugula mixture. Once pizza is out of the oven top with arugula and serve.