Are you craving a delicious and satisfying Italian dish that is plant-based and bursts with flavors? Look no further than the vegan-friendly eggplant parmesan Stacks! This innovative twist on the classic Italian favorite will amaze you at how versatile and mouthwatering vegan cuisine can be.
Eggplant parmesan is a time-honored dish that traditionally consists of fried and breaded eggplant rounds layered with cheese and tomato sauce. Nevertheless, this plant-based adaptation substitutes the cheese with a luscious and zesty plant-derived alternative, catering to individuals adhering to a plant-based regimen or those with lactose intolerance. And instead of frying, they are baked! This means these eggplant stacks are a calories saver!
In this blog post, I will guide you through creating these vegan-friendly and baked eggplant parmesan stacks step by step. With this baked version, you can still achieve a flavorful and satisfying eggplant parmesan experience without needing flour, breadcrumbs, or frying.
Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Stacks
1 hour and 20 minutes
1. Set your oven temperature to 375°F (190°C) prior to use.
2. Cut the eggplants into rounds that are approximately 1/2 inch thick. Apply a sprinkling of salt to both sides of the eggplant slices and allow them to rest for approximately 15 minutes. This step helps draw out excess moisture and reduce bitterness. Gently press the slices with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture.
3. Combine dried oregano, dried basil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, stirring them together.
4. Arrange the eggplant slices on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush both sides of the slices with olive oil. Evenly distribute the herb and spice mixture over both sides of the eggplant slices.
5. Place the eggplant slices in the preheated oven and bake them for about 20-25 minutes or until they reach a tender and slightly golden state.
6. Take out the baked eggplant slices from the oven and allow them to cool for a brief period.
7. To create the eggplant parmesan stacks, begin by spreading a thin layer of vegan marinara sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Next, place a baked eggplant slice on top of the sauce, and then sprinkle vegan mozzarella cheese and grated parmesan cheese over the eggplant slice. Repeat this layering process until all the eggplant slices are used, finishing with a layer of marinara sauce and a generous amount of shredded vegan mozzarella on top.
8. Put the dish back into the oven and bake for an extra 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and developed a golden brown color.
9. After baking, take the dish out of the oven and allow it to cool for a brief period. Adorn it with fresh basil leaves as a garnish for an extra touch of freshness and flavor.
Tips & Notes
Salt and drain the eggplant slices: To remove excess moisture, improve texture, and reduce bitterness, sprinkle salt on the eggplant slices and let them sit for 15 minutes. Afterward, gently pat the slices dry with a paper towel before continuing with the recipe.
Opt for a vegan mozzarella alternative: Various vegan mozzarella cheese options are available, ranging from store-bought brands to homemade versions. Select a cheese option with excellent melting properties and a taste and texture that you find pleasing.
Arrange the stacks carefully: Assemble the eggplant parmesan Stacks with a layer of tomato sauce, a slice of baked eggplant, and a sprinkle of vegan mozzarella cheese. This layering technique ensures each stack is well-balanced and flavorful.
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g
Saturated Fat 2g
Total Carbohydrate 34.1g
Dietary Fiber 10.1g
Total Sugars 6.4g
Vitamin D 0mcg
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
What are Eggplant Parmesan Stacks
Eggplant parmesan stacks offer a delightful twist on the traditional Italian dish, showcasing the flavors of eggplant parmesan in a unique and appealing presentation. The traditional eggplant parmesan consists of breaded eggplant slices and then fried. After frying the eggplant slices to a crisp golden brown, they are carefully layered with cheese and tomato sauce, creating a harmonious combination of flavors. The stacked layers are then baked to perfection, resulting in a delicious and satisfying dish.
However, in this eggplant stack, there is no frying involved. The eggplant slices are baked instead of fried, making this version a healthier and lighter alternative without compromising on flavor and texture.
What Ingredients Will You Need To Make Eggplant Stack?
Look for firm and glossy eggplants. They have purple skin and white or light green flesh. Renowned for their robust texture and subtle taste, eggplants serve as an excellent alternative to conventional meat in this recipe, offering a delightful and satisfying substitution.
This healthy oil is used for brushing the eggplant slices and adds a delicious richness to the dish. The addition of olive oil not only contributes to the tenderness of the eggplant slices but also imparts a subtle flavor, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.
Oregano, with its aromatic essence, infuses the dish with a distinctly Mediterranean flavor, adding a delightful herbal note to the overall taste profile. Dried oregano works well in this recipe and complements the other flavors.
Basil, renowned for its popularity as an herb, boasts a delightful combination of sweet and slightly peppery flavors, contributing a distinctive taste to the dish. Dried basil adds an aromatic and earthy note to the dish, infusing it with a hint of freshness and depth.
Derived from dried garlic cloves, garlic powder introduces a savory and pungent flavor profile to the dish, enhancing its overall taste with its distinctive characteristics. It adds a subtle yet distinctive taste that enhances the overall complexity of the flavors.
Salt and pepper
Salt and pepper, acting as fundamental seasonings, are essential ingredients used to elevate the flavor of the dish, bringing out its delicious taste and ensuring a well-balanced culinary experience. They help balance the flavors, elevate the natural sweetness of the eggplant, and add depth to the tomato sauce and cheese.
Vegan mozzarella cheese
Vegan mozzarella cheese is a plant-based alternative to traditional dairy-based cheese. It provides a creamy and melty texture that mimics the characteristics of regular mozzarella. The vegan version is typically made from ingredients like cashews, almonds, or soy and adds a delicious cheesy element to the Eggplant Parmesan Stacks.
And if you don't have any dietary restrictions, opt for fresh mozzarella.
Traditionally, eggplant Parmesan recipes include grated Parmesan cheese as a key ingredient. If vegan parmesan cheese is unavailable, opt for nutritional yeast.
Fresh basil leaves
For the finishing touch, fresh basil leaves are employed as a garnish in this recipe, imparting a vibrant and aromatic element that enhances both the visual appeal and the overall flavor profile. They offer a bright and herbaceous flavor that complements the other ingredients. The aroma of fresh basil adds a wonderful fragrance to the dish and enhances its overall appeal.
Vegan Marinara Sauce
Marinara sauce is a key component of eggplant parmesan, providing a rich and tangy base. It typically consists of tomatoes, herbs, and spices. For a vegan version, ensure that the tomato sauce you use or make is free from any animal-derived ingredients. Homemade tomato sauce allows you to control the flavors and customize them to your liking.
How to store leftover eggplant stack
After allowing the eggplant stacks to cool, carefully transfer them to an airtight container or tightly wrap them with aluminum foil, ensuring a secure seal to shield them from air exposure. Place the container or wrapped stacks in the refrigerator. You can store the prepared eggplant stacks in the refrigerator for a duration of 3-4 days, ensuring their freshness and quality throughout that period.
When you are prepared to reheat the eggplant stacks, preheat your oven to a moderate temperature, usually around 325°F (163°C), to ensure they are warmed to perfection. Reheat the stacks in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until they are heated through and the cheese has melted.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can I use any type of eggplant for the recipe?
Yes, you can use different varieties of eggplant, such as globe, Italian, or Japanese eggplant. The choice of eggplant may slightly affect the texture and flavor, but all varieties can be used for this recipe.
How do I prevent the eggplant from turning mushy when baked?
To prevent the eggplant from becoming mushy, it's essential to slice the eggplant into even thickness and not too thin. In addition, applying salt to the eggplant slices before baking and allowing them to rest for a few minutes aids in extracting any excess moisture, leading to a firmer texture in the final result.
Can I substitute the vegan cheese with another type of cheese?
Absolutely! If you prefer a different type of vegan cheese or have dietary restrictions, feel free to substitute it. You can choose a vegan cheese that melts well and has a flavor you enjoy, such as vegan cheddar or homemade cashew cheese.
Can I make the recipe ahead of time and reheat it?
Indeed, preparing the eggplant parm in advance and reheating it whenever necessary is possible, making it a convenient option for meal planning or entertaining. After assembling the stacks, let them cool, then store them in the refrigerator. When you are ready to serve, simply reheat the dish in the oven at a lower temperature, typically around 325°F (163°C), until it is thoroughly warmed throughout, ensuring a delightful and satisfying dining experience.