If you pressed your ear against the window’s of my house hoping to see what Josh and I fight about, (well, for starts you need a new hobby, my friend) you’d be pretty bored with what you heard. 99% of the time, what we fight about is food. I spend a ridiculous amount of time planning a weekly menu, making the grocery list, and ensuring we have enough snacks to not gnaw our own hands off while Josh spends a normal human amount of time eating food. I’m constantly on his case about contributing to the meal plan, to which he responds, “Why can’t we have vegan buffalo mac and cheese every day?” <– I’m not kidding.
Much to my surprise, Josh asked a few weeks ago if we could have eggplant parm sandwiches but not as sandwiches. Even though that was the most confusing wording ever, I squealed with glee that he was actually contributing (AND at an appropriate time! Not when I was already making dinner and he was just wishing for something else to eat). At first, I thought maybe he was trying to say he wanted it with pasta or something pretty normal, but he made it clear he wanted a crispy, crunchy, cheesy quesadilla. It sounded so crazy delicious that I made it for dinner the next night and haven’t stopped thinking about it since (Especially during this no dairy, probably-shouldn’t-have-tortillas cleanse we’re going through now, ughhhh).
You have a crunchy tortilla, crunchy coated eggplant, melty cheese, and marinara sauce — what is there not to love about this? It’s pretty quick to pull together and you could even use left over eggplant if you just made eggplant parm for dinner yesterday. Look at me, always thinking of you and trying to make your life easier.
½ c breadcrumbs (I prefer whole wheat, can use GF)
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
2 tbsp. Parmesan or nutritional yeast
¼ c marinara sauce
½ c part skim mozzarella (Daiya will work nicely for a vegan option!)
4 whole wheat tortilla shells (fajita sized)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Slice the eggplant into ¼ inch slices. If you don’t like the skin of eggplants, peel before slicing.
Put the flour on a plate and the milk in a shallow bowl. Mix the breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, and Parm (vegans use nutritional yeast) and spread it out on a plate.
Dredge the slices through flour, dip in milk, and firmly press into the bread crumb mixture, flipping to ensure both sides are coated. Arrange on a baking sheet.
Bake eggplant for 20 – 25 minutes, until slightly browned and crispy, then remove from the oven.
Heat a skillet (or a quesadilla maker if you have one!) over medium heat. Spritz one side of each tortilla with nonstick spray. Spray side down, assemble with 2 tbsp. cheese, a few tbsp. of sauce (adjust the amount to your preference), half of the eggplant slices, and the remaining cheese. Top with another tortilla, spray side up. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Grill each quesadilla on one side until slightly browned and crispy (the cheese should begin to melt). Carefully flip (unless using a quesadilla maker) and grill remaining side until slighted browned and the cheese is melted.
If your cheese is not melty enough or you have more quesadillas to make, you can put them on a baking sheet in an oven on low (as low as it will go).
Nutritional estimate will vary greatly based on the tortillas used, so I did not include it in this recipe. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled and you can bake all of the eggplant at once. For bonus points, add fresh chopped basil.