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Mediterranean Diet Recipe: Eggplant and Tomato Stacks with Pesto

If you’re beginning to get excited at the sound of a fresh, ripe tomato or eggplant adorning your plate, the Mediterranean spirit is beginning to build within you.

Eggplant and Tomato Stacks with Pesto

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 8 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1 eggplant, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds

1 cup basil leaves, plus 12 to 15 more leaves for stacking

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1 clove garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Nonstick cooking spray

2 to 3 beefsteak or Roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  1. To extract the bitterness from the eggplant, layer several paper towels on a plate.

    Place about 1 teaspoon of the sea salt on the towels and stack the eggplant rounds in a single layer. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt on top of the eggplant slices.

  2. Top the eggplant with another layer of paper towels and then stack a plate on top of that.

    Weigh the plate down and allow to sit for 20 to 30 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, to create the pesto, blend 1 cup of the basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and salt and pepper to taste in a food processor or blender for 2 to 3 minutes or until smooth. Set aside.

  4. Rinse the eggplant well and pat dry.

    Spray the eggplant (lightly) and the grill with nonstick cooking spray and heat the grill to medium-high heat. Grill each eggplant round about 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until you achieve the desired texture.

  5. On a serving plate, stack a grilled eggplant round, 1 teaspoon of the pesto, 1 tomato slice, and 1 teaspoon pesto.

    Top with a basil leaf. Repeat until you use all the eggplant. Top with the freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

Per serving: Calories 174 (From Fat 111); Fat 12g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 7mg; Sodium 996mg; Carbohydrate 13g (Dietary Fiber 6g); Protein 6g.

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You can use one eggplant round per stack, or add visual height to your plate by making double-decker stacks (although doing so will reduce the number of stacks).

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