Baked Eggplant Stacks and a Review

Baked Eggplant Stacks (vegan, gluten-free)

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Before we get to the recipe, I want to tell you about this gourmet sauce that the good people over at Rose Romano’s Italian Gourmet Toppings shared with me. I can honestly say, this is one of the BEST jarred sauces on the market. It’s worth trying out if you are not into making your own sauces and want a truly gourmet sauce to liven up your dishes.

“My food is basic. Italians don’t smother their food in their sauce. They use sauces to complement and enhance their food, and not overpower it. And I wanted a Gourmet Topping that would be worthy of that tradition. And I’m proud to say that Rose Romano’s is.” – Rose Romano.

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This sauce was the perfect complement to my dish. It combines all the flavors I love in a good sauce. It was sweet, mild and low-sodium so you can really enjoy all the delicate flavors it has to offer. It tastes like you simmered your own sauce all day and no one would guess it came out of a jar. It is also all natural and does not contain any synthetic preservatives. Take a look at the ingredients…

Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Fresh Red Bell Peppers, Fresh Onions, Brown Sugar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Fresh Basil, Fresh Garlic, Sea Salt, Fruit Juice for Color, Citric Acid, Spices.

Perfectly simple and perfectly delicious.

A big thank you to Rose Romano’s for sharing this wonderful sauce with me and my readers!

I posted the picture of these Eggplant Stacks on Facebook and it created quite a buzz!! So, at 7:23 am in the morning, I am writing away to share this with you all before the day gets away from me. And caring for three small children, it will do just that. ;)

I guess everyone loves Eggplant as much as I do!

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Baked Eggplant Stacks
 
A twist on a classic Italian meal with baked eggplant slices stacked with cashew ricotta, balsamic infused baby spinach and a sweet red pepper sauce.
Author:
Recipe type: entrée
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6

Ingredients
  • 2 medium eggplants, sliced lengthwise into ½ inch slices (18 slices)
  • 1 (16 oz) Rose Romano’s Italian Peppers Marinara with Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 (9 oz) bag of baby spinach, rinsed
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or vegetable stock
  • sea salt (optional) and freshly ground black peppers
  • dried parsley flakes
  • dried basil flakes
For Cashew Ricotta:
  • ¾ cup raw cashews, soaked in water 4 hours
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, soaked in water for 4 hours
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tbsp mellow white miso
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • non-dairy milk, for thinning
  • sea salt (optional) and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
For the Eggplant:
  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
  2. Place eggplant slices on non-stick baking tray, baking mat or parchment lined tray. Lightly brush both sides of slices with olive oil. Alternately, you can brush each slice with vegetable stock. Sprinkle both sides of slices lightly with dried parsley, basil and salt (if using) and black pepper.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until golden brown on both sides. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Decrease oven to 375 degrees F.
For the Cashew Ricotta:
  1. Drain soaked cashews and pine nuts. In a food processor or high-powered blender, add remaining ingredients and process until smooth and creamy. Use some non-dairy milk to thin it out if needed. You want a ricotta-like consistency. If it is too thick, when you bake the stacks the cashew ricotta will harden.
For Spinach Layer:
  1. Heat a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach and balsamic vinegar. Toss until wilted and most of the water has evaporated, 2-3 minutes. Season with sea salt (optional) and fresh black pepper. Set aside.
To make the Eggplant Stacks:
  1. Lightly spray a non-stick baking tray with cooking spray, or line a tray with a non-stick baking mat or parchment paper. Make your stacks. Begin with eggplant on bottom, ladle sauce on top, baby spinach and then cashew ricotta. Repeat to make two layers ending with an eggplant slice, tomato sauce and a dollop of cashew ricotta (makes 6 stacks).
  2. Bake in 375 Degree F preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until heated through.

Notes
If you want higher stacks you will need one more eggplant and you will need to double batch the cashew ricotta and the spinach.

Now you have a light and healthy meal to enjoy tonight for dinner. These eggplant stacks are bursting with flavor and will rock your world! You are definitely going to enjoy this recipe and it will be in your rotation for sure!

Enjoy and have a great day! Please share your thoughts to liven up this place!

xoxo,

Jen =)

 

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18 comments

    • Jennifer says:

      Hi Tami!

      They are really good and I love the cashew ricotta…the only thing is I think I went a little heavy on the lemon…I love the flavor but can’t decide if it needs less…another thing is these are even better when you stack them higher then the recipe calls for, but you need more eggplant, cashew ricotta and spinach for that…=) I need to add some notes to the recipe…I still absolutely love the results though, it’s super yummy!!

      thanks for leaving a comment, it makes my day to talk with you all!!

      xoxo

      Jen

  1. Melissa says:

    I made this over the weekend and it was just amazing!!! I loved the amount of lemon in the cashew ricotta, it gave it sucha zing and the whole dish was full of flavor…I took your advice and used one more eggplant and doubled the spinach and ricotta to make taller stacks and it was a great idea. I will definitely be making this again. thanks for this recipe!

    Melissa

    • Jennifer says:

      Thanks for leaving some feedback Melissa, I really love this recipe and it’s so nice to hear how it worked out for you!

      xoxo

      Jen

  2. Kyle says:

    Hi Jennifer.
    These are delicious! I do all the cooking and although I am not a vegetarian, my wife is and I’m always on the search for interesting stuff in order to avoid the menu rut. I made these last night and knocked it out of the park.

    I added some fresh basil to the oil I put on the eggplant and added garlic here there and everywhere. No vampires could live within a mile of my kitchen.

    I started making cashew ricotta about a year ago and soak them in your list of ingredients as well as a bit of smoked paprika and garlic and then enough vegetable stock to cover. Once soaked I strain the solids and mix back in whatever liquids are needed for the right consistency.

    I’ve just found your blog and am looking forward to many more great recipes.

    Thanks
    Kyle

    • Jennifer says:

      Hi Kyle,

      Thank you for the feedback. =) I love this recipe and I love that you added to it…that’s the best part of cooking, adding personal touches to it. =) Thanks for the tips on your cashew ricotta, I love the idea of adding smoked paprika and I love garlic just as much as you do..I’m just conservative on the recipes I post on the blog!)

      Thanks again for stopping by!

      xoxo

      Jen

  3. Anja says:

    I so enjoyed this tonight! I am currently doing only fruits and veggies and wanted to try eggplant so I searched the web and found your recipe. I used some water (from steaming cauliflower a few days ago) in place of the oil/broth for the eggplant and the vinegar on the spinach. I also used some homemade tomato sauce with lots of herbs and veggies, and added some yellow pepper to the spinach. (I obviously skipped the ricotta, though look forward to trying it in the future!)

    It was so good! It has been hard finding ways to eat vegetables that actually satisfy me and that aren’t bland or repetitive (I can only eat so much salad!) and this fit the bill perfectly!

    Thanks!

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