Vegan Main Dishes/ Vegan Recipes

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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  • Reply
    November 12, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Can u make this without the nutritional yeast? Thanks!

    • Reply
      November 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      Yes; just omit it. Hope you enjoy this!

  • Reply
    November 12, 2013 at 8:57 pm

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

    • Reply
      November 12, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      I think you’re right. I was wondering about that myself. Will edit, thanks!

  • Reply
    Carola Lewis
    November 13, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    This looks delicious and decadent! I LOVE Italian food and eggplant, good combo!

  • Reply
    November 27, 2013 at 8:12 am

    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 …

  • Reply
    November 28, 2013 at 6:19 pm

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

  • Reply
    December 14, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      December 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      Linda, I’m so glad you enjoyed these. Love all your tips, too. Thanks for sharing!!

  • Reply
    January 19, 2014 at 10:59 am

    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”.

    • Reply
      January 19, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      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.

  • Reply
    The Omnivore
    February 22, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    These are such a great idea; I love how easy they are to make and eat!

  • Reply
    Sadhna Grover
    June 12, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    I love eggplants, very nice recipe. I will try,Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      October 24, 2014 at 6:27 pm

      Jim, the reference was supposed to be to marinara sauce. Sorry for the confusion!

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