8ozspaghetti, use gluten-free spaghetti or spaghetti squash to make gf
fresh basil and pepper flakes for garnish
Pasta Sauce: at oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for a few seconds. Add onion and a pinch of salt and cook for a minute. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Cook for 5 minutes. if the mixture is too thick, add 1/2 cup water.
Reduce heat to medium low. Partially cover and continue to cook for another 6 to 8 minutes. Taste and adjust flavor. (Sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated for 3 days. Or use store bought marinara or pasta sauce)
Mozzarella Cream:(See notes for nut-free) Blend everything under mozzarella cream until smooth. Add to a skillet over medium heat. Cook until the mixture thickens evenly. about 3-4 mins. Mix and stir occasionally so the thickening mixture at the bottom doesnt stick. (Can be made ahead and refrigerated for upto 3 days. Or use store bought vegan mozzarella and top the baking eggplant in the last 10 mins of baking. at step 7)
Eggplant Parmesan: Slice the eggplant. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for 15-20 mins. Then rinse and dab in paper towels. (You can skip the salting step. Salting helps reduce the bitterness of the eggplant, but can be skipped to reduce work)
Assemble the breading stations. In a shallow bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with nutritional yeast, herbs, salt. In another bowl mix the milk with cornstarch, garlic and a good pinch of salt. Mix well. Add flour to another bowl.
Brush oil liberally on a baking dish. Dip each eggplant slice into flour, then milk then breadcrumb mixture to coat all sides, then place in the baking dish. Repeat for all slices. Spray oil on top.
Bake at 425 deg F (220 F) for 25 to 30 mins or until golden. (You can also pan fry the eggplant in a cast iron skillet at medium heat so the slices cook through.)
Cook the pasta according to instruction on the package if you haven't already. Assemble plates with spaghetti topped with pasta sauce and crisp eggplant. Add dollops of the vegan mozzarella or sprinkle some vegan parm and serve.
Mozzarella Substitute:nut-free vegan alfredo or vegan parmesan.For Gluten-free: Use gluten-free spaghetti or spaghetti squash. For the Eggplant Parmesan, use gluten-free breadcrumbs instead of regular breadcrumbs and a mix of 2 tbsp rice flour, 2 tbsp oat flour and 2 tbsp cornstarch or potato starch instead of the flour. Nutrition is for 1 serve with half the amount of cashew cheese as you might need all of it.