Eggplant Parmesan Stacks

I am so excited to be co-hosting Meatless Monday with AnnMarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, which means there will be meatless, plant-focus recipe every Monday. Food, Pleasure, and Health is not turning vegan or vegetarian; I just happen to love vegetarian food and would like to use this as a platform to share more plant-based recipes and inspiration with everyone. Feel free to join this weekly linkup (instructions below) and share your meatless creation with everyone. I made Eggplant Parmesan Stacks for my 1st Meatless Monday party; it's a vegetarian alternative to chicken parmesan and definitely healthier than your deep-fried eggplant parm.

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks vegetarian alternative to chicken parmesan and healthier than your deep-fried eggplant parm.

It really bothers me when I see vegetarian recipes that say "taste just like meat" especially when it is something like cauliflower wings, lentil chili, or veggie burger. As a meat eater, I find it difficult to agree to those statements 100% because there is no freaking way cauliflower wings will taste just like chicken wings, unless you've never had chicken wings. Can anyone relate to this?

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks vegetarian alternative to chicken parmesan and healthier than your deep-fried eggplant parm.

Don’t get me wrong. I love lentil chili, veggie burger, or anything tofu-based but I don’t like the idea of promoting or selling something as an exact replacement when it’s really not. Eggplant Parmesan Stacks are nothing like chicken parmesan (except for the taste due to marinara sauce) but they surely are delicious, vegetarian alternative, and great for feeding your self or an entire family. I hope people enjoy and appreciate ingredients as they are instead of trying to make them something they are not. End of rant. 

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks vegetarian alternative to chicken parmesan and healthier than your deep-fried eggplant parm.

Eggplants have a reputation of being watery/soggy but you will need to salt it prior to baking for crispy eggplant parmesan. I am finding that cooking/baking is all about techniques + patience, an area I am constantly working on. I served it as stacks because it’s just easier to serve 1-2 people + it looks pretty. I have few tips/tricks at the bottom of recipe section you might want to check out for feeding a large crowd.

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks vegetarian alternative to chicken parmesan and healthier than your deep-fried eggplant parm.
Eggplant Parmesan Stacks vegetarian alternative to chicken parmesan and healthier than your deep-fried eggplant parm.

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks

Author: Dixya @Food, Pleasure, and Health
Serves: 3

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant, rinsed and sliced into 1/2 rounds
  • about 1 cup whole wheat plain dry breadcrumbs
  • about 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 large eggs + 2 tablespoon water
  • 1-1.5 cups marinara sauce, warm
  • about 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon basil paste (may use finely chopped basil or dried basil)
  • salt, pepper
  • baking spray or 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Arrange eggplant rounds on a baking sheet and salt them.
  2. Allow them to sit for 15-20 minutes to drain water.
  3. Use a paper towel to soak moisture and pat them dry.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Brush a cooling rack with oil or cooking spray and set it on top of a baking sheet .
  6. Whisk eggs together with water in a swallow dish.
  7. In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  8. Dip eggplant rounds in egg mixture, letting excess drip off.
  9. Dredge them in breadcrumb mixture and place it on a cooling rack.
  10. Bake until golden brown on bottom, 30-35 minutes rotating at 15 minutes.
  11. Remove from the oven.
  12. Meanwhile, warm marinara sauce and mix ricotta cheese with basil paste.
  13. On a plate, spoon 2-3 tablespoon marinara sauce then place eggplant slice followed by 1 tablespoon of ricotta cheese.Repeat with marinara sauce, eggplant slice, and ricotta cheese for 2-3 more layers (or whatever you wish).

Notes

  • Salting an eggplant and patting it dry with paper towel is extremely important step you don't want to miss.
  • Swap whole wheat bread crumbs with gf-bread crumbs.
  • If you are feeding a large crowd, you can double or triple the recipe as needed. 1 medium eggplant made 12-1/2 inch round slices. I served 3-4 per plate so you might want to adjust accordingly.
  • For casserole type dish, you can arrange marinara sauce in a baking pan then arrange eggplant slices followed by ricotta cheese. Continue layering for 2-3 layers. Sprinkle parmesan or mozzarella cheese on top and bake for additional 10-12 minutes at 375.

I hope you guys will give Eggplant Parmesan Stacks a try very soon! Would for you to tag on instagram @foodpleasurehealth or pin it for later use. 

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks vegetarian alternative to chicken parmesan and healthier than your deep-fried eggplant parm.
 

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