Saturday, February 27, 2010

An Oozy Eggplant Stack

Still struggling through life without meat, I've been trying to get creative with some new vegetarian dishes.  Eggplant is a great meat substitute as it is a very hearty vegetable with a solid, meaty texture.  However, it does not contain any of the nutritional benefits of meat, so make sure you are getting your protein elsewhere. 

I wanted to achieve a different taste sensation in each layer - the sweet tomato sauce, the meaty eggplant, the creamy mozzarella, a hit of hot peppery arugula''.  I knew I was about to get a little piece of heaven when I saw the mozzarella come oozing out with my first cut.  I was not disappointed when I shoveled a massive bite into my mouth, it was absolutely delicious, DELICIOUS.

Although, eggplant is not as bitter as it once was, when I'm using a
large eggplant, I usually salt it to draw out the additional moisture.  Place the slices on a rack and generouslly sprinkle with course salt.  After 30 minutes, quickly rinse and pat dry.


2 1/2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
1 14-oz can (400 g) whole tomatoes in juice
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup basil, finely chopped
2 eggplants, sliced into rounds
1 cup flour
1 ½ cups canola oil
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
4 cups arugula (rocket), chopped
2 mozzarella balls, sliced into rounds


1. Heat 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cooks, stirring, until softened.

2. Meanwhile, blend tomatoes with juice in a blender until almost smooth. Add tomatoes, water, and sugar to saucepan and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in basil and season.

3. Add canola oil to deep sauce pan over high heat. Place flour in a shallow dish and dredge eggplant slices, shaking off excess. Pan-fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towel.

4. Add remaining tbsp oil to a small saucepan over medium-high heat and cook remaining garlic with red-pepper flakes, stirring, until golden, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir through arugula, and season.

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). To arrange stacks, use 4 ring molds on a baking sheet. Place 2 tsp of tomato sauce on the bottom of each and top with a slice of eggplant. Arrange mozzarella over eggplant and top with 2 tsp of tomato sauce. Add another layer of eggplant and top with 1/4 of arugula mixture. Top with another slice of eggplant and 2 tsp of tomato sauce. Bake for 15 minutes.

6. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and garnish with basil strips and torn mozzarella.

Who needs meat?


  1. yummy looks good, I will try this when eggplant is in season thsi summer, cant wait!

  2. Awesome! If you like eggplant at all, you will love this!



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