With the final countdown to sporting my bikini on the beach in sunny Punta Cana, I decided to cook vegetarian meals this week. To be honest, I wish I could go completely vegan but I love cheese way too much!
I saw these eggplant towers on Pinterest awhile back and thought they looked divine. Recently, one of the food blogs I follow posted them as well so I decided to give them a try. And let me tell you, they were divine.
Eggplant is a great way to keep those carnivore cravings away as they have a very meaty texture and taste to them. I knew I might have those cravings kick in midweek so I picked an eggplant up at Trader Joes on Sunday. I was glad I did because I had a lot of fun with this recipe and I hope you do too!
-1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce
-3 Roma tomatoes
-¼ cup water
-¾ panko breadcrumbs
-¾ cup of Italian breadcrumbs
-1 teaspoon dry basil
-1 teaspoon dry parsley
-8 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese
-1-2 cups of Parmesan cheese
-1 lb of fresh spinach
-1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper
-5 garlic gloves
-2 tablespoons olive oil
Heat your oven to 400 degrees F.
Start your prep by chopping the eggplant, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese in about ½ inch slices.
Crack and whisk 4 eggs in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl mix your water, panko and Italian breadcrumbs, basil, and parsley. After, whisk in 2 eggs and set aside.
Spray a cooking sheet with cooking oil.
Next, you need to saturate the eggplant in the egg moisture and then dip in breadcrumb mix until fully covered. Transfer to a cooking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes or until they look golden brown.
Now you can begin cooking your sautéed garlic spinach.
To start, add olive oil, minced garlic, and crushed red pepper to large stockpot or French oven. Add medium heat to pan but do not let the garlic get too brown! Add spinach, salt, and pepper and stir until all the spinach is completely covered in EVOO. Cook for 2 minutes with the lid on. After 2 minutes, stir the spinach then turn heat to high and cook for another 2 minutes. It only takes 4 minutes total to cook so be very attentive!
Using a baking pan layer the bottom with your favorite marinara sauce. When eggplant is finished baking you can begin the fun part – layering! The order is really up to you. My layering order went in this order: eggplant, Parmesan cheese, tomato, mozzarella cheese, spinach, tomato, eggplant, and last but not least more Parmesan cheese. To finish, break cooking skewers in half and pierce the layers using the sharp end first to avoid splinters.
Bake another 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and perfectly browned! Serve with more tomato sauce, ground pepper, and fresh basil or thyme.