Finally, I have made my way back into the kitchen! Life has been really hectic with business travel lately and I have not been cooking as much as usual or as much as I would like to. Such is life.
Sunday I finally got into the kitchen to cook, where I sampled the shredded vegan mozzarella style shreds that Galaxy Nutritional Foods had sent to me to try. You may know that I am not a big fan of commercial cheese replacements. I do love my Baked Almond "Feta" but those you can find in the grocery store I find a little off-putting. But, when Galaxy asked me to try their product I decided to keep an open mind and give it a try.
In terms of commercially available vegan "cheeses" I think this one may be the best tasting that I have tried. It melted well and was a nice compliment to my eggplant "lasagna". (I use the term lasagna loosely as I did not use any pasta noodles in it; instead I used thinly sliced multi grain bread as the "noodles"). It was quite enjoyable and I froze what I had left over to use for lunches next week when I am *finally* back in the office in Philly.
What I liked about the Galaxy shreds is that they have some nutritional value, including a good amount of calcium. The ingredient list also does not contain palm oil, a controversial ingredient due to the negatie impact it's production can have on the natural habitat of orangutans.
I will certainly use what I have left of what Galaxy graciously sent me. And, the next time I am in the grocery store and decide to purchase a commercial vegan cheese substitute I suspect I shall reach for Galaxy.
1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced thin, lengthwise
~1/2 cup olive oil for frying*
1 cup marinara sauce
1 large tomato sliced thin
1/2 cup Galaxy Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds
2 tbsp + 1 tsp vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast (optional; I used Parmela vegan parmesan)
6 thin slices whole grain bread
Basil, chopped fine, for garnish (optional)
Place sliced eggplant sprinkled liberally with salt in a colander in the sink for about f15 minutes and allow to drain. Remove from colander and pat dry using paper towels.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet over medium high heat put a few tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot, add eggplant slices n a single layer and allow to fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove and place on absorbent paper (such as a brown grocery bag) to cool and absorb excess oil. Repeat until all slices of eggplant have been fried.
In a 9x9 baking dish place some marinara sauce on the bottom, add a layer of eggplant, a layer of bread 1/2 the Galaxy shreds, and one tbsp vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast. Cover with slices of tomato. Add some more marinara reserving a bit for the top and repeat the process ending with a layer of tomato on top. Cover with the remaining marinara and sprinkle with the last tsp of vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the Galaxy shreds are melted and the sauce begins to bubble.
Allow to cool for about ten minutes before cutting and serving.
Garnish with basil if desired.
*Note: eggplant will act like a sponge and soak up the oil so you will need to keep adding oil as you go. You may use as little or as much oil as you like- the half cup measure is approximate.