By Chef Linda
I love a good (vegan!) pizza as much as the next person, but when I want all those rich, authentic flavors and not the carbs, calories or gluten that come with the crust, I turn to eggplant. Eggplant is one of those very versatile vegetables that can be fried, baked, or blended into a wide variety of wonderful dishes. Easy Eggplant Pizzas is one of those dishes.
We know how healthy and nutritious eggplant is for us. Eggplant supports heart-health by lowering blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Eggplant is said to have important anti-cancer properties and can slow tumor growth and prevent the invasion and spread of cancer cells. A compound called nasunin found in eggplants is a powerful anti-oxidant that helps prevent age-related mental disorders and memory loss. And if all that weren’t enough, it’s low in calories and high in fiber so it can be a healthy way to feel full and manage weight.
Sliced eggplant is substantial enough to hold its own under a blanket of sauce and vegan cheese. Daiya is used here because of its meltability, but use your favorite or make Buffalo Mozzarella for a really decadent experience. The lists of ingredients and directions are short, so these individual-sized pizzas literally come together in a snap: perfect for a busy weeknight dinner. Top them with Shiitake “Bacon” Crisps if you want a salty crunch to finish these off. Serve with Roasted Broccoli and Garlic and a salad and you've got a delicious Italian vegan dinner in under thirty minutes. And because they're individually portioned, kids tend to love them, too.
Easy Eggplant Pizzas
1 large eggplant, unpeeled, cut into round slices about 1/4 inch thick
About 1 cup of prepared tomato sauce (homemade or jarred)
1 cup of Daiya Mozzarella Shreds
Fresh basil, chopped
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Drizzle olive oil on the parchment and spread with a spoon. Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on the tray. Drizzle with a little more olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, oregano, and basil. Roast for about 10 to 15 minutes until eggplant has softened considerably, but is not fully cooked.
Remove tray from oven. Spoon sauce onto eggplant slices and sprinkle with Daiya. Return tray to oven for another 10 minutes or until cheese has melted and eggplant is fully cooked. Remove from oven, sprinkle with fresh basil and serve several slices per person.