Eggplant Parmesan (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

The last few weeks have been filled with some drastic food changes. It deserves it's very own post, but the short version is our 9 month old has lots of food intolerances. She is still exclusively breastfeeding, so January 1st I took those foods out of my diet. It's been an interesting adjustment. I had taken dairy out when she was about two months old because she was having obvious reactions. Her recent symptoms were so mild, & honestly, if we didn't have Ry to base things off of, I'd probably brush it all aside. But since Ry was getting his testing mid-December anyway, I wanted Ella to also have some done. She had a record 13 foods show up- dairy, eggs, all meat, wheat, rice, corn, green bean, peas & peanut. In a strange way, it's not too hard. We're so familiar with making foods that taste good, that are also free of all those things, that it sort of comes naturally these days. But it's also a little disheartening because Ry has gotten a lot of those foods back, so the words 'here we go again' seem to reverberate in the back of my head. Luckily she tested negative for soy. Not that I'm a big soy-proponent by any means, but I have to get some protein some how. I'm only eleven days into it, but it hasn't been too bad; I was hungry a lot the first few days. I'm drinking a lot of smoothies. My latest discovery is TVP (textured vegetable protein); it kind of grosses me out, but it serves it's purpose. It actually taste almost identical to ground meat, when it's mixed in with a ground burger-requiring dish.

A few nights ago, I came up with this eggplant parmesan recipe. I was scouring the internet, determined to find something, to no avail. So I decided to come up with my own. We all loved it. Ry devoured his, asking for 'more meat.' Silly guy had no idea it was eggplant. I think the batter mixture could certainly have some flexibility. I went with what we had in the pantry & the fact that I'm fairly limited in what I can eat, such as no breadcrumbs or crackers (unless I make them myself). The millet really gave it a nice crunch; the tapioca egg is something I read about in another recipe & it worked great. There is no form of cheese in the recipe, though, in case you we're hoping for that. We can't use the daiya cheese & I haven't attempted to make our own, yet. I think the cashew cheeses sound very enticing, but for now, I'm avoiding all nuts, in hopes that Ella doesn't develop an intolerance or allergy to them. Honestly, I know this change in diet is good for me. While we already eat relatively healthy, I now have to all the time, & it's a good opportunity to see if any foods affect me negatively. I can't imagine our kids are developing these all on their own- I'm sure our genetics are playing a big role.

I'm slightly embarrassed by the photos for this post. With our short bits of daylight this time of year, I just don't make anything in time to use up our lovely natural light.

Eggplant Parmesan

1/2 cup chickpea flour

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup potato starch

1/2 cup millet grain

1/8 cup teff whole grain

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon parsley

1/4 teaspoon crushed chili peppers

1/4 teaspoon paprika

tapioca egg: 1-1/2 cups hot water & 1 tablespoon tapioca flour

coconut milk or other non-dairy milk, to fill shallow dish about 1 inch

eggplant

spaghetti sauce of choice

1. Mix together dry ingredients in a shallow dish.

2. Whisk tapioca into water in small saucepan, & bring to slight boil, whisking the entire time. Remove from heat when it just starts to gel; you don't want it to thicken too much.

3. Pour coconut milk into shallow dish, where you can dip eggplant into it before coating.

4. Bring olive oil to frying temperature in a large pan on the stovetop (I check by putting tiny piece of batter in, to see if it fries).

5. Slice eggplant thinly, while oil is heating up.

6. Dip eggplant into coconut milk, then batter, then tapioca egg, then batter. It will get nice & coated, then place in hot oil in pan. Cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side, until it is brown & soft.

7. Repeat eggplant dipping steps (yes, I'm that formal in my directions), until you've used everything up.

8. Serve with noodles, spaghetti sauce, alone, etc. We had trouble not eating them before we all sat down- good thing they were hot ;)

*this recipe was good for one small eggplant & fed two adults & two little kids (one of whom refused to eat it)