Having returned from Italy about two weeks ago, I am already missing the abundance of fresh tomato, basil, and balsamic vinegar. Sometimes I get caught up in making complex and complicated food, but this recent trip to Europe reminded me that simple, fresh ingredients really are the best. Now that I am back, I had the chance to snag a bag of Miyokos Mozzarella (insert happy dance!!). What better to make than something simple, fresh, and Italian inspired, such as these Eggplant Caprese Stacks.
I love eggplant. Like really, really love it. I ate it 1-2 times a day in Greece and just as much in Italy. I recently had a conversation about eggplant with one of my best friends, a non-eggplant lover. For her it was a texture issue and sort of bland taste. However, she and I can agree that crispy breaded eggplant (think Eggplant Parmesan) was a happy meeting point for eggplant lovers and eggplant haters. Combining this with fresh basil, heirloom tomato and some delicious vegan mozzarella just takes the eggplant over the top! These eggplant caprese stacks literally took me back to Capri and dining while overlooking the ocean. It was divine.
One of the keys I have found to homemade eggplant dishes is to let the eggplant “sweat.” This means coating your slices in salt and allowing them to sit for a good 30 minutes. This draws out the extra moisture and results in a tender, as opposed to chewy, final product. Don’t forget to wash the salt off (I speak from experience), or you will wind up with a horribly salty, inedible eggplant dish! I hope you enjoy these eggplant caprese stacks and that they transport you back to your favorite Italian experience! If you haven’t been, here is a picture of the Amalfi Coast to help 🙂
- 1 eggplant
- 1 tbs salt
- 1 c whole wheat flour
- 1 c unsweetened non dairy milk, I use Silk Almond Milk
- 2 c panko bread crumbs
- 1 tbs Italian seasoning (optional)
- 2 large heirloom tomatoes
- 8-12 slices vegan mozzarella (depending on how many stacks you make)
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves
- Olive oil and balsamic vinegar to drizzle
- Preheat oven to 450F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Thinly slice eggplant (1/4 to ½ inch or about 12 slices) and coat with salt. Allow to sit for 30 minutes to sweat.
- Rinse eggplant well.
- If using italian seasoning, mix with bread crumbs.
- Dip slices in flour, the milk, then into bread crumbs. Coat both sides of eggplant with bread crumbs, pressing them in if needed to stick.
- Bake at 450F for 10-12 minutes per side until tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.
- Place one slice mozzarella onto eggplant and bake for 1-3 minutes until melted.
- Slice tomato into 12 slices.
- Layer eggplant/cheese, a 2-3 leaves of basil and tomato three layers high.
- Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Repeat until all eggplant and tomato slices are gone (about 4 stacks).
- Serve immediately and enjoy!