Baked Eggplant Stacks with Cashew Ricotta

Baked eggplant stacks with tofu ricotta

A twist on a classic Italian meal features baked eggplant slices stacked with cashew ricotta, balsamic infused baby spinach and your favorite marinara sauce. Just add a colorful salad and fresh whole grain bread (or a simple pasta or grain dish) for a fantastic meal. Make sure to start soaking the cashews and pine nuts for the “ricotta” well ahead of time. Contributed by Jennifer Strohmeyer, from Virtually Vegan Mama.

Serves: 6

  • 2 medium eggplants, sliced lengthwise
    into 1/2-inch slices (18 slices)
  • 28-ounce jar good-quality marinara sauce, your favorite flavor
  • 1 bag of baby spinach, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable stock
  • Dried parsley flakes
  • Dried basil flakes
  • Sea salt (optional) and freshly ground black pepper

Cashew Ricotta:

  • ¾ cup raw cashews, soaked in water 4 hours
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, soaked in water for 4 hours
  • 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tablespoon mellow white miso
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • Non-dairy milk, for thinning
  • Sea salt (optional) and freshly ground black pepper 

For the Eggplant:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

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.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until golden brown on both sides. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Decrease oven to 375 degrees F.

eggplant stacks2For the Cashew Ricotta:
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:
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.

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).

Bake in a 375-degree F. oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until well heated through.

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15 comments on “Baked Eggplant Stacks with Cashew Ricotta

  1. rdwaters

    Looks great, but 500 degrees and parchment paper? My brand says only up to 428 degrees. What do you think?

  2. Jajo

    Made this the other night and my kids (8 and 12) LOVED it.

    Easy and very yummy. Might add portobellos to the mix next time …

  3. Jane

    These look SO delicious!! I love Italian eats, and it’s great that this recipe incorporates more veggies, so there’s no pasta overload!

  4. Linda

    I made this last night and served to company. It was sensational! I made it ahead, assembled it to the uppermost layer of eggplant, covered and refrigerated. Brought it out one hour before I wanted to put it in the oven. Transferred the bundles to a parchment lined cookie sheet. Right before I put it in the oven I topped the eggplant with some sauce and a dot of cheese. Covered with parchment paper, then foil and baked in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Uncovered and baked for an additional 10 minutes. Next time I am going to try baking it uncovered the whole time.

    I made so much that I saved two bundles (uncooked) and will have them tomorrow (2 days after making them). I will let you know how they come out. I love, love, love things that I can make ahead for the holidays or serving to guests.

  5. gebuh

    I made these last night with a couple of changes, I purged the eggplant first, reduced the amount of nutritional yeast by 1/2 and added some red pepper flakes to the cashew ricotta.
    It turned out very well. I’ll definitely make these again, my sister renamed them “eggplant sliders”.

  6. Nava

    Thanks for your input! These have been a hit with VK readers, and I’m glad they turned out well for you. I’m always interested in tweaks that readers suggest.

  7. Jim

    Looks great Did I miss a reference to the “sweet red pepper sauce” in the recipe? It is referenced in the description but not the ingrediants.

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