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Lightened-Up Eggplant Parmesan MICHAEL SYMON, CLINTON KELLY

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Eggplant Parmesan is always a favorite, but it sometimes can be super heavy. Clinton and Michael created the most perfect recipe that is light and delicious!

1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion (peeled, finely diced)
2 cloves garlic (peeled, minced)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bunch fresh oregano (tied with kitchen twine)
1 can whole peeled tomatoes (crushed with your hands, 28 ounces)
1 bunch basil (torn, to garnish)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
2 medium eggplants (sliced 1/4-inch thick, peeled)
olive oil (spray)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
1 cup raw cashews
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (roughly chopped)
2 tablespoons parsley leaves (roughly chopped)
1 teaspoon dried oregano

For the Pomodoro Sauce: Preheat a medium saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil. Add the onions and garlic. Season with salt. Cook until translucent, about 8-10 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, tomatoes, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove oregano and discard. Using an immersion blender, puree on low to preserve the red color. Add basil and stir to combine. Set aside.
For the Eggplant: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place two racks inside of two baking sheets.
On the racks, place the eggplant rounds and lightly spray both sides with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
For the Cashew Parmesan: In the bowl of a food processor, add the cashews, nutritional yeast, salt, and garlic powder, and pulse to combine until it becomes a fine meal.
Heat a nonstick saute pan over medium-low heat and add the bread crumbs. Allow to toast until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the basil, parsley, and oregano and toss to combine. Pour the panko bread crumbs into a large bowl, add the cashew mixture and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
To Assemble: Decrease the oven temperature to 325ºF.
Spray a 9×9-inch baking dish with olive oil, place one eggplant round and top with one heaping tablespoon of the sauce, followed by a heaping tablespoon of the cashew parmesan. Top with another eggplant round and repeat the process 2 more times, finishing with a fourth eggplant round with sauce.
Assemble the remaining eggplant parmesan stacks in the baking dish with the rest of the eggplant rounds. Place in the oven until heated through, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle the cashew parmesan over each eggplant stack.
Tip: The cashew parmesan will keep for 1 month in the refrigerator or freezer stored in an airtight container. Use to garnish pastas, soups and salads just like you would Parmesan cheese!

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