Eggplant Hot Pockets – Meatless Monday Vegan or Vegetarian Fare

Vegan or Vegetarian Options, Grain or Gluten-Free for Meatless Monday

With lots of people avoiding gluten and grains, I thought I’d invent a comforting and delicious faux sandwich in the Raw Fusion Kitchen for my sandwich-loving hubby.

Food combining has always been a tried and true way for me to maintain a healthy weight; While I believe that occasional indulgences are de riguer for a long-term successful weight management program, for the most part avoiding combining starchy carbs with animal protein is better all-around for proper digestion and weight loss.

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AND — If you even suspect that you might have a sensitivity to wheat or if it’s been hard for you to lose and maintain weight loss, I strongly urge you to read this article from February by one of my integrative medicine heroes, Dr. Mark Hyman “3 Hidden Ways Wheat Makes Y0u Fat”.  More reason to be creative when it comes to sandwiching…

This recipe was satisfying and savory in both vegetarian and vegan versions, using either goat cheese (a smaller protein molecule and easier for humans to digest — raw is always best if you can find it.)  For the vegan version I used a combination of Tofutti’s Better than Cream Cheese and an almond or soy-based cheese.

Here’s a little tip from my Raw Fusion Kitchen:  For “breading” the eggplant and other veggies, I simply dip or soak them in Living Harvest Unsweetened Vanilla Hemp Seed Milk and then dredge in either brown rice flour (gluten-free) or almond flour (grain-free, paleo-friendly).  Even if you are doing a vegetarian version, no need to double up on your animal protein by using an egg as the hemp milk works very well and adds plant-based protein and omega 3’s.

I served these (with a huge thumb’s up from hubby!) alongside a Marinated Kale Salad – a raw vegan deceptively simple salad.  The secret ingredient here is Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, a spectacular non-GMO fermented soy flavoring that has been in my kitchen for 25 years.  More info on this below.  Try these out and let me know what you think!

Eggplant Hot Pockets with Marinated Kale Salad

Serves 3-4

Ingredients for Hot Pockets:
1 medium to large purple eggplant
1/2 cup hemp milk (unsweetened)
1/2 cup soft goat cheese or “better than cream cheese” spread
Slices of either raw goat cheddar cheese or vegan soy or almond cheese
bunch of basil
1/4 cup sliced red onion
3-4 TB. brown rice flour or almond flour
sea salt to taste
1/3 cup coconut oil

Optional:  Top with nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese.

Directions:  Slice the eggplant in circles that are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.  Place in bowl and lightly salt and pour the hemp milk on top, making sure to dredge all the pieces in the hemp milk.  Slice the cheese — mine was a small square so I used 2 slices per pocket. Spread the brown rice or almond flour on a large plate.

Heat about 2 TB. of the coconut oil on medium as you dip each eggplant round into the gluten-free flour.  Spread a little of the goat cheese or vegan cream cheese on one round and press in some basil leaves and red onion.  Place the harder cheese on top and cover with another flour dredged eggplant round.  Brown on one side and if you need to, add more coconut oil as the eggplant absorbs it quickly.  Adjust heat as needed.  When both sides are browned. Remove from heat and cover frying pan so that the eggplant steams and cooks through.

Top with either nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese and serve with Marinated Kale Salad:

Ingredients:

3-4 curly kale leaves, washed and dried
2 TB. (or more) Bragg’s liquid aminos
1.5 tsp. extra virgin olive oil.

Tear kale off the rib into bite-sized pieces.  Drizzle on oil and pour on the Bragg’s.  Distribute thoroughly and add more Bragg’s if needed, but don’t overdo or it will be too salty.  Place in covered bowl and refrigerate for several hours to allow flavors to marinate.  Top with leftover red onion slices.  Leftovers will keep for 2 days.

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Author, therapist, raw foods chef, natural wellness expert, and creator of Worksite Wellness and Heart Healthy Living, Dr. Rose has over 25 years of experience as a hypnotherapist. She has published numerous books and has appeared on Daytime TV and over 75 eHow videos. Most recently, she has pioneered an affordable online Holistic Health & Life Coaching program and S-Tox™: A Smarter Way to Detox.

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