Baked eggplant caprese stacks make a wonderful appetizer or a delicious and filling lunch.
I adore eggplant. I realize that this nutritious vegetable’s strong flavor means that not everyone likes it, but I sure do. And in this recipe, stacking it with tomatoes, cheese and basil, then melting the cheese, turns it into a wonderful treat.
The eggplant stacks are very pretty, too. I make this dish often, both for family meals and when we have guests over.
The ingredients you’ll need
You’ll only need a few simple ingredients to make eggplant caprese. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need:
Eggplant: You can leave it unpeeled when you make this recipe. Pick a firm eggplant with a smooth, blemish-free peel. 🍆
Tomato: Try to pick a large, ripe-yet-firm tomato.
Olive oil: I love cooking with this delicious oil. But if you’d rather use an oil with a higher smoke point, you can use avocado oil instead. It won’t be as flavorful, though.
Balsamic vinegar: I like to use a 5-year aged vinegar when cooking, which is actually considered fairly young.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the dish could end up too salty.
Basil leaves: Basil doesn’t keep for long in the fridge, so it’s best to get it no longer than a day or two before making this recipe.
Fresh mozzarella: The fresher you can find, the better. Truly fresh mozzarella is exquisite.
How to make eggplant caprese
It’s so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Bake the eggplant. Slice the eggplant, season, and bake the slices until soft, about 10 minutes per side at 425°F.
Bake the tomato. Now, bake the tomato slices for just 2 minutes.
Build the pretty stacks. Form the stacks by stacking eggplant, tomato and mozzarella slices, and fresh basil leaves.
Briefly bake the stacks. Place the stacks in the oven for just a couple of minutes to melt the cheese.
How to serve eggplant caprese
These pretty stacks are perfect as an appetizer. But you can also serve them as a side dish. And if you make this recipe for just two people, this is actually a perfectly sized lunch.
When I serve these stacks as a side dish, I like to serve them with a main dish that I can bake in the same 425°F oven. So I often serve them with one of the following:
What about leftovers?
You can store leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them gently, in the microwave on 50% power. They are also surprisingly good cold – kind of like cold leftover pizza!
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- 1 medium eggplant (1 lb.)
- 1 large firm tomato
- Olive oil spray
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 fresh basil leaves
- 8 thin slices fresh whole milk Mozzarella (4 oz)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Slice the eggplant and tomatoes crosswise into ½-inch-thick slices.
- Place 8 eggplant slices in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet coated with olive oil spray.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Brush the mixture over the eggplant and tomato slices. Set the remainder aside.
- Bake the eggplant slices for 10 minutes. Turn them over, brush with more of the olive oil mixture, and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove to a plate.
- Place the tomatoes on the same baking sheet and bake for 2 minutes, until soft. Remove to a plate.
- Form the eggplant caprese stacks: Place a slice of cooked eggplant on the baking sheet. Top with a tomato slice, a slice of mozzarella, a basil leaf, and finish with a second slice of eggplant. Repeat to make three more stacks.
- Return the stacks to the oven for 2 minutes, just until cheese is melted. Top each eggplant caprese stack with a drizzle of the remaining olive oil mixture and a basil leaf. Serve immediately.