The Baked Eggplant Caprese Stack is a fun take on the Caprese salad, which is the English terminology for Insalata Caprese, or the “Salad of Capri.” Historically, the Caprese salad originated from Capri, Italy and was designed to reflect the colors of the Italian flag (green, white and red).
It is one of the easiest salads to make, as it only uses very few ingredients — tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil and olive oil. To prepare the salad, the tomatoes, cheese and basil are sliced and layered in a circular pattern on a plate, then drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with a little bit of salt and pepper.1
As the name implies, the Caprese stack takes the ingredients of the Caprese salad and places them on top of each other. It’s a fun way of eating a time-honored dish. But to make the stack even better, you can add other healthy ingredients like an eggplant to make your own unique version.
This Baked Eggplant Caprese Stacks recipe from Paleohacks shows you how you can turn an ordinary salad into a form of culinary artistry.
- 1 large organic eggplant (ends cut off, sliced into ¼ inch slices)
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese (sliced into ¼ inch slices)
- 2 large organic tomatoes
- 2 pasture-raised eggs (beaten)
- 2 cups organic almond meal
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. dried basil
- ½ tsp. oregano
- ½ tsp. Himalayan salt
- 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 10 to 12 basil leaves
- In a small bowl, beat the eggs. In a separate shallow bowl or plate, combine almond meal, garlic, dried basil, oregano and sea salt.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dredge each eggplant slice in the eggs (be sure to shake off excess eggs).
Afterwards, coat each slice with the almond meal mixture. Set onto the baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet on the center rack in the oven, then bake the eggplant slices for 10 to 12 minutes.
Carefully flip them and bake for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the slices oven and allow them to cool five minutes.
- Begin layering the Caprese stacks on a serving plate, starting with a baked eggplant slice on the bottom followed with a slice of mozzarella cheese, tomato, and one basil leaf.
If your tomatoes are small, place two slices on each layer. Repeat once. Drizzle each stack with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Eggplants Add Durability and Nutrients to the Stack
Eggplants are a wonderful addition to this recipe, because their firmness adds durability to each layer, making it easier for you to stack the ingredients. They also have a fairly neutral taste, allowing the recipe to retain much of its classic Caprese salad flavor.
In addition, eggplants contain an impressive array of vitamins and minerals, such as folate, potassium, manganese and vitamins C, K and B6. They’re also rich in phenols, especially the Black Magic variety. Phenols are compounds that are known to help eliminate free radicals, which can help lower your risk of certain cancers.
Tomatoes: An Essential in Italian Cuisine
Tomatoes play a big role in Italian cuisine, serving as the foundation for many dishes, such as pasta. They’re rich in various nutrients, mainly vitamin C, A and K and do not contain any harmful fat or bad cholesterol. They’re also famous for their lycopene content, a compound that may help reduce your risk of skin cancer and osteoporosis.
In addition, tomatoes may help with lowering your risk of prostate cancer, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. The researchers noted that high amounts of tomato consumption in your diet can help you achieve this benefit.2
Mozzarella Cheese Is Perfect With Tomatoes
Mozzarella cheese is probably most famous for being used in pizza, as it goes well with tomatoes, has a smooth taste and melts easily. Aside from that, it provides amazing health benefits thanks to the vitamin B variants present in it, most notably riboflavin (B2) and niacin (B3).
Riboflavin is important for daily function, as it helps your body metabolize fats and proteins for energy production. Aside from that, it may help prevent the formation of cataracts and migraines.3 Niacin, on the other hand, has been shown to help with improved blood circulation and lowered risk of inflammation.4
Almond Meal Adds Important Nutrients and a Nutty Flavor to the Recipe
Almond meal is an ingredient used in cooking, consisting of ground almonds with the skin intact. This is important, as a lot of the health benefits associated with almonds are found on their skins.
For one, almonds are rich in antioxidants, which include phenols, phenolic acids and flavonoids. According to a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 1 ounce of almonds almost has the same amount of polyphenols as a cup of steamed broccoli or green tea. Almonds may also help with lowering your bad cholesterol levels, thereby reducing your risk of heart disease.5
However, almonds are high in protein — nearly 1 gram per almond — so be sure not to overeat them. Excess protein can be harmful to your health.
Herbs and Spices Are Essential to Any Dish
Basil, an herb essential in making a Caprese salad or stack, is well-known for its aromatic properties. Not only that, it’s also full of nutrition, even if taken in small amounts. Just 2 tablespoons of it already provides 29 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting. It’s also rich in beta-carotenes, which are powerful antioxidants that help protect cells from free radical damage.
Similar to basil, oregano is well-known for its fragrance that works well with soups, salad dressings or eggs. And just like basil, oregano contains powerful compounds that provide great health benefits. It is known for its antifungal and antibacterial abilities, which may help fight with Listeria6 and MRSA7 (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), a type of bacteria that causes skin infections, and in severe cases, internal organ infections.8
About the Author:
Paleohacks is one of the largest Paleo communities on the web. They offer everything Paleo: from a Q&A forum where users get their top health questions answered, to a community blog featuring daily recipes, workouts and wellness content. You can also tune in to their podcast, where they bring in the top experts in the Paleo world to share the latest, cutting-edge health information.
Sources and References
Tags: Baked, Fruits and Vegetables, Side Dishes