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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).