This vegan eggplant Parmesan pizza is made with crispy panko crusted eggplant, marinara sauce and creamy cashew ricotta!
I didn’t do that on purpose, but in hindsight, it does make sense. Covering things in panko is what I do when I don’t want to fry them, and I associate frying with entertainment food. I also associate pizza with entertainment food. I may not be a sports fan, but I’m always down with pizza and a movie night. So, if pizza is game day food, and panko-crusted un-fried things are game day food, pizza topped with panko crusted stuff must be the ultimate game day food.
If I’m way off on this let me know. I’d be happy to post some gnocci or whatever it is people actually like to eat while watching football.
As far as crispy panko crusted things to put on pizza go, I could think of nothing better than eggplant. Eggplant goes with everything, especially pizza. I happen to already have a killer recipe for marinara sauce, and one for cashew ricotta. Yeah, traditional eggplant parm has mozzarella, but I opted to keep things simple, and there isn’t much that simpler than cashew ricotta. There also isn’t much that’s more delicious atop a sloppy tomato sauce and crispy eggplant covered crust, as I recently learned.
Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Pizza
For the Crispy Eggplant
- 1/2 medium eggplant 1/2 pound
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tbsp. ground flax seeds
- 1/2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 cup panko
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1 tbsp. olive oil divided
Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Pizza
- 1 lb. vegan pizza dough
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 cups marinara sauce store bought or homemade
For the Cashew Ricotta
- 1/2 cup raw cashews soaked in water 4-8 hours, rinsed and drained
- 3 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. unflavored soy or almond milk
- 1/4 lb. extra firm tofu drained
Prepare the Crispy Eggplant
- Preheat oven to 400º. Brush baking sheet with 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
- In small bowl, whisk together water, flour and flax seeds. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes.
- In another small bowl, stir together panko, oregano, salt and pepper.
- Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch thick triangles. Dip in or brush the top and bottom surfaces of each with flax mixture, then gently place the top and bottom half in panko mixture to coat. Arrange in an even layer on baking sheet. Lightly brush or spray the tops with remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Bake 15 minutes, gently turn, and bake another 15 minutes, for 30 minutes total baking time, until lightly browned.
Prepare the Crust
- Place baking sheet or pizza stone in the oven, which should already be set to 400º, to preheat.
- On lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 14 inch circle. Carefully transfer to baking sheet or pizza stone and brush the top with olive oil. Bake about 20 minutes, until lightly browned.
Prepare the Cashew Ricotta
- While eggplant and crust bake, place cashews in food processor bowl and blend as smooth as possible (doesn't have to be perfectly smooth), stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add remaining cashew ricotta ingredients and pulse just until blended and slightly chunky, similar to the texture of ricotta cheese.
Assemble the Pizza
- Spread marinara sauce in an even layer over crust. Top with eggplant slices and dollops of cashew ricotta. The resulting pizza will be messy as heck but super delicious.
If your eggplant is a few days old, or shows some browning inside when you cut it, you'll probably want to salt it before cooking. Sprinkle slices generously with salt and allow to sit for about 20 minutes. Rice well and proceed with the recipe. This process draws out any bitterness that may have developed as the eggplant aged.