Dipped in this gluten-free batter and baked, eggplant comes out crispy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside, and it’s perfect on a poboy sandwich.
When I was creating my last recipe, Oven-Fried Okra, I suspected that the batter I used, a combination of cornmeal and brown rice flour, would make a wonderfully crunchy breading for other vegetables. I lost no time checking that theory out on one of my favorite summer veggies, eggplant. I’m happy to say that I was right!
Dipped in this batter and baked, eggplant comes out crispy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside, and it’s perfect on what we Louisianans call a poboy–a sandwich on French bread that those from other states might call a sub or hoagie or probably several other names that I’m not familiar with. But to me sandwiches like this, particularly those whose main ingredient is battered and “fried,” will always be poboys because they remind me of the seafood sandwiches I grew up with.
After dressing my bread with homemade vegan mayo and layering it with lettuce and homegrown tomato, I slathered my eggplant with some oil-free marinara sauce, which made it taste a lot like Eggplant Parmesan. I didn’t have any fat-free cheese sauce on hand, but if I had I would have drizzled a little on to give it the full Parmesan effect. Add some if you have it, but even without, these were some of the best sandwiches I’ve ever made. My husband is already requesting them again!
I know someone is going to ask for a recipe for the bread. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it myself. But I recently splurged on a new bread machine when it went on sale, and I’m working on a recipe for whole wheat buns and baguettes. I’ll let you know as soon as it’s perfected.
Oven-Fried Eggplant PoBoy Sandwiches
- 1 large eggplant (approximately 1 1/4pounds)
- 3/4 cup non-dairy milk of choice
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup brown rice flour
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt if desired
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (more or less to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- Peel the eggplant and trim off the ends. Slice it into rounds about 1/2-inch thick. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400F.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all remaining ingredients and mix well. You should have a batter a little thicker than pancake batter. If it seems dry, add a splash of non-dairy milk.
- Dip each eggplant slice into the batter and turn it to coat both sides and edges well. Holding the slice between two fingers, allow any excess batter to drip back into the bowl, and place the eggplant on the baking sheet. Repeat with as many slices as you can fit on the baking sheet, being careful that they do not touch. (If your baking sheet is small, you may need to make two batches; batter can thicken between batches, so add more liquid if necessary.)
- Place in the oven. After 20 minutes, remove and gently turn each slice–you may have to hold the parchment paper and peel it from the eggplant. Replace and cook until outsides are brown but not burning, about 15 more minutes.
- Serve hot on hoagie rolls or French bread with marinara sauce, lettuce, and tomato.
I used soy milk, which thickens with the addition of lemon juice. If you use another plant-based milk, you may need to add a little extra flour if the batter seems thin.
Other flours should work, but I have only tested it at this time with brown rice flour. If you use a different flour, use your judgement about whether the batter needs to be thinned with extra milk or thickened with extra flour.
Nutrition info is for eggplant only (not bread) and uses plain soy milk.
We lost a family member last week–Jazzy, who would have been 10 years old in September. In the early years of this blog, Jazzy made regular appearances, but when Facebook came along, I started posting fewer animal photos here and more over there. I wrote about her life and her loss in her Facebook photo album. It’s been a tough week, but I appreciate all the kind words that people have posted on her album and on the FatFreeVegan page.
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