This veganized take on chicken parm is made from chickpea cutlets that are cooked up with a crispy cornmeal crust, drenched in marinara sauce and sprinkled in cashew Parmesan cheese.
I almost never would’ve come up with this one. I don’t think I’ve ever actually even eaten chicken parm. Who needs it when there’s eggplant, right? And eggplant parm has always been a weakness. Growing up, it was my dish. What on earth else could a vegetarian order at a normal restaurant in the mid-nineties. Eggplant parm was a long time trusty sidekick. So of course it’s been on my list of things to veganize and blog for a while. Then the other day my husband suggested I try veganizing chicken parm, and it got me thinking. While eggplant will always have a place in my heart, this is different, this is vegan chicken Parmesan, and it’s pretty darn incredible.
Normally when I make something like this I coat it in panko to get a nice crispy crust. Lucky for me I got the idea in my head to try making these cutlets gluten free, so I went with cornmeal instead, both in the mixture and the coating. It was way better. Cornmeal on the inside helped give the mixture just the right texture, while cornmeal on the outside crusts up perfectly when pan-fried in a bit of olive oil.
I parmefied this dish by simply throwing on some marinara and sprinkling with cashew cheese. Feel free to put your own spin on it though. If you’re into store-bought vegan cheese, throw some on top. This would also be nice with some cashew ricotta. I ate my chickpea parm over pasta, but next time I’m definitely shoving it into a sandwich.
Vegan Chickpea Parmesan
For the Chickpea Cutlets
For the Batter
- 1/2 cup unflavored soy or almond milk
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 tbsp. ground flaxseed
For the Cornmeal Coating
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning blend
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- about 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2-3 cups marinara sauce store bought or homemade
- cashew Parmesan cheese
- cooked pasta plus extra marinara sauce (optional)
- Place all chickpea cutlet ingredients into food processor. Pulse just until well mixed and chickpeas are finely chopped. Transfer mixture to a container and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
- Stir all batter ingredients together in a small bowl. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes.
- Stir all cornmeal coating ingredients together in a separate bowl.
- Remove chickpea cutlet mixture from refrigerator and shape into 4 ovals, about 5 inches long and 3 inches wide.
- Generously coat the bottom of a large nonstick skillet with oil and place over medium heat. When oil is hot, dip each side of a chickpea cutlet into batter, then into cornmeal mixture to coat. Place in skillet. Repeat for as many cutlets will fit in the skillet without overcrowding. Cook until browned and crispy on bottoms, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook another 5 minutes on opposite sides. Repeat until all cutlets are cooked, adding oil to the skillet as needed between batches.
- Serve topped with marinara sauce, optionally over pasta and sprinkled with cashew Parmesan.
Recipe NotesPrep time includes chill time for the chickpea cutlet mixture.
This recipe makes more than enough batter and cornmeal coating.