These Eggplant Parmesan Stacks are an architectural redesign of classic eggplant parmesan only healthier because the eggplant is baked, not fried. These scrumptious towers of eggplant parmigiana make a festive appetizer, lunch or dinner.
The cooking theme on Fridays at my house is usually about what I can make that goes well with a cocktail. It's the end of the week and we're ready to give ourselves over to celebratory exhaustion. Dinner is casual to the point of not even sitting at the dinner table. It's platters of appetizers and small bites out on the coffee table, so we can plop down on the couch and stay there.
I concocted these eggplant parmesan stacks a couple of weeks ago for a Friday night, casual, on-the-couch dinner with friends. I wasn't even planning to blog about them, but they were a "wow!" As soon as they came out of the oven, I took one look at these towers of breaded eggplant rounds, held together with layers of thick rich tomato sauce and melted cheese, and I decided I had to share the recipe with you.
All I really did was change the architecture of one of my favorite comfort foods casseroles, keeping the flavors essentially the same.
Vertical eggplant parmesan has a very different vibe from a casserole. They're both delicious but the towers are very fun and festive, perfect for a celebratory occasion.
HOW TO MAKE EGGPLANT PARMESAN STACKS:
- Bread the eggplant by dipping it into milk and then crumbs.
- Bake breaded eggplant in a 375º oven for 40 minutes
- While the eggplant bakes, make the sauce.
- The sauce and the eggplant should be ready at about the same time.
- Assemble the stacks by layering eggplant slices with sauce, cheese and fresh basil. Set the stacks on a parchment-lined baking sheet
- 20 minutes before dinner, put the stacks in the oven and bake.
- One stack per person is great for a starter or for a light supper with salad and bread on the side.
- Serve two stacks per person for a more filling dinner.
These eggplant towers are so photogenic! I couldn't stop taking pictures of them.
If you're a fellow fan of eggplant parmigiana, don't miss these other similar recipes on Panning The Globe : no-noodle eggplant lasagna and no-fry-eggplant parmesan
Want a great cocktail to go with your eggplant stacks? Try Eddie's Perfect Manhattan
HERE ARE A FEW MORE DELICIOUS 'STACKED UP' RECIPES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
- Cooking Light's Tomato Stack Salad with Corn and Avocado
- Cooking Light's Chicken Enchilada Stacks
- Panning The Globe's Spicy Moroccan Sweet Potato Stacks
- Panning The Globe's Grilled Zucchini Caprese Salad Stacks
Here's the recipe for Eggplant Parmesan Stacks. If you cook this recipe, I hope you'll come back to leave a comment and a star rating. I'd love to know what you think.Print
Eggplant Parmesan Stacks
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 mins
- Yield: 8-10 stacks 1x
Baked eggplant, stacked up with tomato sauce and cheese. These towers of eggplant parmigiana make a festive appetizer, lunch or dinner.
- 2 medium eggplants (1 ¼ lbs each) cut into ⅓-inch rounds (12-14 slices per eggplant)
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 cup milk (I used 2% but whole is fine too)
- salt and pepper
- Canola oil or cooking spray (for the baking pan)
- Parchment paper to line the baking pan
- Tomato Sauce*
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced (2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (I use San Marzano or Organic whole plum tomatoes and crush them in my blender)
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (optional)
- 1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese (3 ½- 4 cups)
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon finely ground parmesan cheese (I use Parmigiano Reggiano)
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves, slivered
- Garnish: A sprinkling of slivered basil
- Bread and Bake the Eggplant: Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly oil a baking sheet or jellyroll pan. Mix Panko with basil and ½ teaspoon salt and spread onto a plate. Pour milk into a shallow bowl. Dip each eggplant slice into milk and turn to coat. Shake off excess. Press an eggplant slice down into the breadcrumbs. Flip and press the other side in to help the crumbs adhere. Arrange breaded eggplant on lightly oiled baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the slices. Sprinkle eggplant slices with a little salt (1 teaspoon or so) and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Flip slices and bake for another 15 minutes until the eggplant is softened and lightly browned in spots. Remove tray from oven and let eggplant cool for a few minutes so you can handle it. (leave oven set at 375ºF)
- Make the Tomato Sauce: While the eggplant is baking, make the sauce: heat olive oil in a large cooking pot or dutch oven oven medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook for about 8 minutes until very soft and starting to brown. Stir in dried basil, salt, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and honey. Cook sauce at a simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Add minced garlic (if using) and simmer 10 minutes longer. Remove from heat. The sauce will be thick.
- Assemble the Stacks: Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper. Divide the total number of eggplant slices by 3 and that's how many stacks you'll have. You should have enough for 8-9 stacks. Arrange the 8 (or 9) largest eggplant rounds on the prepared parchment-line pan. Top each round with two tablespoon of tomato sauce, a teaspoon of parmesan, 2 tablespoons of mozzarella, and a sprinkle of slivered basil (don't add basil to the top of the stacks) Repeat with two more layers, using the larger slices for the middle layer and the smaller ones for the top. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve hot.
- Garnish each stack with a sprinkle of slivered basil.
*Time saving tip: If you're short on time, use a 32-ounce jar of your favorite tomato sauce for this recipe. Add a can of tomato paste to thicken it. A thick sauce is great glue for holding the stacks together.
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Oven baked
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Eggplant parmesan stacks, towers of eggplant parmesan, baked eggplant parmesan stacks
Very good but sauce is too thick for my preference. Next time I make it I will add 1-1 1/2 cup of water or vegetable stock to the sauce. I used fresh mozzarella and fresh basil. Also, next time I may only stack two high. Really good and am looking forward to making it the next time.
Thanks for your note PJ - I'm glad you enjoyed!
Made your eggplant stacks with polenta on the side tonight. Changed it up a bit-only made two high and was lazy and opened up a jar of Rao’s. Also used sliced fresh mozzarella And it turned out nice and crispy. Great dish!
Hi Alina - I'm so glad you enjoyed the eggplant stacks. I often 'cheat' with Rao's too - so good! I like the idea of the polenta on the side. 🙂
Can this be made a day ahead of an event so all I have to do is quickly put it in oven to reheat?
Hi Dana, Great idea! I haven't tried making these ahead of time but I'm quite sure it will work. I've done this with conventional eggplant parm and it works well. You can either make the separate components and stack it all up just before popping in the oven, or you can get the stacks assembled, maybe inside a big plastic container or on the baking sheet (covered with saran) if you can fit it into your fridge. You'll need a slightly longer cooking time if the stacks are going directly from the fridge to the oven. I hope you enjoy. Please let me know!
I made these stacks last night and they were absolutely delicious! I used fresh mozzarella with the parmesan along with fresh basil in the layers. So good!! I will definitely make these again. The honey in the sauce was perfect! Thanks Lisa!
Absolutely delicious. Everyone in my house hold loved them. I couldn't really taste the parmesan cheese so I might add a bit more in the future and omit the honey in the tomato sauce, it was beautiful, but partner didn't like the sweetness.
Amazing!! I love eggplant parmesan and from now on I’m always making it like this – in stacks. So fun and delicious. Thank you!
I just stumbled upon your website and I love it all! Cannot wait to try your recipes.
I'm so glad to have you aboard! I hope you enjoy the recipes. Keep me posted!!
I made these tonight. They taste as good as they look!
I'm so glad you enjoyed them Carol. Aren't they fun?! Traditional eggplant parm is great too but there's something really special about the stacks.
These not only look lovely but taste great too. I also added 1 fresh basil leave underneath each layer - recommended especially if you love the taste of basil like me.
I'm so glad you enjoyed them Rachel, and I'm with you on the fresh basil - the more the better!
Oh my gosh these are AWESOME! Gorgeous photos too. 🙂
These are beautifu--and the perfect food to pair with a cocktail on Friday night. LOVE
This recipe is a delicious beauty.
Perfect for your next vegetarian dinner party!
Ok, you need more comments other than your husband 🙂 These look amazing and seem fairly simple. I am going to try them out next time I buy eggplants - Thank you!
Thanks Barbara - I didn't want Eddie's comment there all by itself! I hope you do try making these. They're really fun and delicious. 🙂
Can these be frozen? Cooked first or just assembled?
Hi Deb. I suggest you prepare the eggplant, bake it and freeze it. You can also prepare the sauce and freeze it. Defrost, assemble and bake just before serving. Hope you enjoy!
This dish is absolutely delicious (plus the chef is beautiful!!)
Thanks Eddie 🙂 xo