Eggplant doesn’t always have to be “parm-ed” and served with spaghetti. This Meatless Monday recipe for Crispy Gochujang Eggplant uses classic Korean flavors to jazz up the baked eggplant that becomes custard-like under the spicy breading mixture. They are served atop a zucchini and summer squash “noodle” dish that bursts with fragrant notes of ginger, soy, and sesame.
1 large eggplant, sliced into ½-inch rounds
¾ cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons gochujang paste
2 teaspoon sesame oil, divided
3 tablespoons water
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
non-stick cooking spray
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
10 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 pound zoodles (zucchini and/or summer squash)
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 serrano chile pepper, seeded and minced
2 scallions, sliced into thin rounds
Preheat an oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Set out 3 separate flat bottom bowls or baking dishes. Add the flour to one dish. Add eggs, gochujang paste, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and water to another dish; scramble to combine. In the third dish add the bread crumbs, sesame seeds, salt, and ground pepper.
Gather a large sheet pan and place a baking or cooling rack on top; coat the rack with cooking spray. Working in small batches first coat eggplant rounds in the flour, then move to the gochujang egg wash, then transfer the eggplant into the breadcrumb mixture. Press down lightly to ensure an even coating of breadcrumbs.
Place each breaded piece of eggplant on the greased rack. Lightly spray the tops of the eggplant with non stick cooking spray. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the breading turns golden brown.
Meanwhile, make the zoodles by heating the canola oil in a large non-stick pan that’s set over high heat. Saute the shiitake mushrooms until browned and crispy then add the zoodles and cook, stirring or tossing frequently, until they begin to release liquid into the pan. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, grated ginger, soy sauce, minced garlic, minced serrano chile pepper, and most of the scallions; toss to combine and cook for 2 minutes.
Serve the zoodles with a sprinkle of sliced scallions then top with a few crispy baked eggplant slices.