Meatless Monday: Pan Fried Mozzarella Marinara

Just another meatless Monday… Who doesn’t love fried cheese? I sure do – especially with homemade marinara sauce – and it’s easy to prepare!

You can make it even easier if you use store bought marinara sauce! Just skip the steps to prepare the sauce.

Or if you want to use fresh tomatoes for the sauce, you can find my recipe for that here…

Cook/Prep Time – about an hour

Servings – 2


For the Marinara sauce…

  • 1 – 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 small celery rib
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 small bell pepper
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

For the Mozzarella….

  • 3 – 1/4 inch slices of loaf mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (for frying the cheese)

For the sauce, finely chop the carrot, shallot, celery, pepper and garlic. Place the olive oil in a saucepan or Dutch oven on medium heat and add the chopped vegetables. Sauté while stirring for about 10 minutes. Add the red wine and cook another 5 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and turn heat down to low. Chop the basil coarsely and stir it in. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on low heat, stirring frequently for 30 minutes.

While the marinara is simmering, prepare a cheese marinade by adding the olive oil, red wine, basil and crushed garlic and a dash of salt and pepper to a dish and add the sliced mozzarella and marinate for 15 minutes.

For the breading, whisk the egg and add the milk and stir together. Set up a breading station with a plate or dish of flour, and another with the panko mixed with the Italian seasoning.

Keeping one hand wet and one hand dry, grab a slice of cheese with your wet hand and place it in the flour and press the flour onto both sides with your dry hand. Place the floured slice into the egg wash and wet both sides with your wet hand. Remove the slice with your wet hand and place it in the panko mixture, pressing it onto both sides with your dry hand. Repeat the process with the rest of the slices.

Heat the canola oil in a skillet on medium heat. When the oil gets hot, fry the cheese slices until browned and flip and brown the other side. Remove from skillet and top with the hot marinara sauce. Serve with your choice of pasta. (I used pappardelle)


Suggested songs to listen to while preparing the goodness…..

How about Luciano Pavarotti‘s “Pavarotti: The Duets” released in 2008 featuring duets with Elton John, Eric Clapton, Mariah Carey, Sting, Frank Sinatra and others?

“Manic Monday” – written by Prince and made famous by the Bangles from their 1986 album Different Light. Just substitute the word “meatless” in place of “manic” while preparing this dish!

Potato Leek Soup

Potato Leek Soup & fresh Italian bread

This is a great easy to make hearty soup for a cold winter day or a Meatless Monday!

This would also be an awesome meal to prepare for St. Patrick’s Day, which is just around the corner!

Cook / Prep Time – about an hour

Servings – 4


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes (I used the baby ones)
  • 1 1/2 lb leeks (white and pale green parts) washed and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup chives, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the onions, celery, leeks and the shallot. Cover and and cook from 7 to 10 minutes, stirring often. Do not brown them. Add the stock, potatoes, bay leaf and half of the chopped chives. Cover and reduce to low heat and cook for another 30 – 40 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Remove and discard the bay leaf. Turn the heat off and add the milk ,half and half and nutmeg.Using a blender or an immersion blender, and process until smooth. Put it back on the heat to heat it back up and serve. Top with the remaining chopped chives. That’s it!

Suggested music to listen to while preparing the soup….

Since the very talented singer / songwriter Carole King had a birthday this week, how about “Tapestry” her classic album released in 1971?