One of our favorite local restaurants serves the most amazing zucchini parmesan. I’m so used to avoiding cheese and I really never feel deprived in this area. Well, almost never. But this zucchini parm is amazing, so I usually just take a tiny taste and then move away. Quickly. I mean, I physically have to push the dish to the other side of the table far from my reach. (I have to do this with bread baskets too.) I’ve been saying for years that I am going to create a vegan version of this luscious dish, so that I can enjoy it too. Finally, the time has come. Here’s the recipe. And it’s awesome!
My daughter came home from college the other day and I was figuring out what to cook for her first night back at home. She’s a lover of that same zucchini dish, so I figured I’d give it a go. I always like to make something special for her when she comes home, and while I thought this vegan skillet zucchini parmesan would fit the bill, I was also a bit concerned because she really doesn’t love most vegan cheeses. So, I used 3 different types of vegan cheese that I’ve never tried before but have been reading rave reviews about… success!
I went to Whole Foods and I bought a vegan ricotta, a vegan mozzarella, and a vegan Parmesan cheese… in various brands that I’ve been wanting to try. These cheeses were so much better than I expected them to be; even Shelby was pleasantly surprised. And that makes me really happy.
If you’re looking for another vegan comfort food dish, you also have to try my Vegan Macaroni And Cheese recipe!
This dish is not only delicious, but here are some of the reasons why it’s also a healing dish:
Zucchini cools your body off and makes you feel better during those hot days of summer. It helps your body release excess heat and it will make your mind feel more calm.
Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. Recently, I recommended that a patient with bronchitis put sliced raw onions in her socks when she went to sleep… she woke up so much better; they actually can rid the body of bacteria. (I know I’ve told you this before, but it really is awesome!) Onion is a superhero in the food world!
Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….
In Chinese medicine, we use tomatoes to aid in digestion and to help detoxify the body. They are also good to combat excess cholesterol, lessen inflammation and curb asthma. Tomatoes can also quench thirst, and they can help fight some kidney infections.
Cashews are really a multi-tasking nut. I use them all the time so I say it all the time: Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts. Most of the fat in cashews is unsaturated and is made up of oleic acid; this is the same acid that is found in olive oil, making these nuts a heart-healty choice. I know some of you have a problem finding raw nuts sometimes — I’m happy to try to help you locate them if you need shopping suggestions, so just leave a comment and I will try to help. I buy then whenever and wherever I see them. I’m also lucky enough to live near a Whole Foods, so I sometimes buy them from the bulk bins here. For this recipe I found a great store-bought vegan cheese made from cashews, but I’ve been seeing so many delicious-looking recipes to make cashew cheese at home, so I’m going to try that next time… and please, if you have a great cashew cheese recipe, let me know!
In Asian medicine, nuts are known to be good for your brain, heart, skin and reproductive system. Almonds are particularly nutritious. They are a good source of protein and they give you energy. And, they are gluten-free. Almonds will help relieve a cough and asthma and are also good for constipation. I used an almond-based vegan ricotta cheese in this recipe, and I loved it!
Basil has anti-viral and anti-bacterial capabilities. It also is good for settling your stomach, and it’s good at lessening the symptoms of the common cold and its accompanying cough. Basil is a spiritual herb — the scent actually calms you; you can boil some in a pot and let the aroma fill the air, you can just leave some around the house, you can toss a bunch in your bath water (I love to do this), or you can use an essential oil with basil to get some great calming effects.
- 1 med onion, chopped
- 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
- sea salt
- 2 med zucchinis, cut in half horizontally, then cut into thin vertical slices
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 28-oz can fire-roasted chopped tomatoes
- 1 Tbs coconut sugar (I like this one)
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 3 oz vegan ricotta cheese
- 6 Tbs vegan shredded Parmesan
- 8 oz vegan mozzarella cheese, cut or spooned into small chunks
- 8 oz bruschetta mix or sun-dried tomato pesto (make your own or use store-bought)
- 8 basil leaves, julienned
- In a large, ovenproof sauté pan or deep skillet, heat the oil.
- Add the onion, seasoned with a bit of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in the tomatoes, coconut sugar, and balsamic vinegar.
- Turn off the heat, and slide the zucchini slices into the sauce so they cover the bottom of the pan under the sauce. Repeat 3 more times, stacking the slices on top of each other until you have stacks of 4 slices of zucchini covering the whole pan. Make sure you push each slice down into the sauce before adding the next, so that there is sauce in between each slice.
- Put dollops of the ricotta cheese all over the top of the zucchini.
- Then sprinkle the Parmesan all over.
- Next put chunks, shreds, or spoonfuls of the mozzarella all around the top.
- Cover the pan loosely with foil, turn the heat back on and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
- Preheat your broiler.
- Uncover the pan and place spoonfuls of the bruschetta mix or pesto all over the top.
- Place the pan under the broiler until the cheese is gooey and starts to brown.
- Sprinkle the basil over the top.
- Remove from the oven and let cool a bit, then serve with a big spoon and enjoy!