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Enjoy delicious eggplant stacks two ways: As rainbow veggie stacks or as a lighter eggplant parmesan treat—but 100% dairy-free and vegan! They’re an easy, delicious, low-cost, and nutritious meat-free, gluten-free appetizer, side, or main ready in just 30 minutes!

completed Eggplant Stacks scattered on a white surface
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Versatile Flavor Packed Baked Vegetable Stacks

Most stacked eggplant recipes are designed as a lightened-up version of eggplant parmesan, replacing breaded and fried eggplant slices smothered with sauce and plenty of cheese with individual-serve baked versions that combine just a fraction of oil/fat. And, while we’ve included a method for vegan eggplant parmesan stacks, that’s not the only way to enjoy a delicious eggplant tower. In fact, our new obsession is rainbow veggie stacks, plus this version is completely vegan!

In this second version, slightly crispy baked eggplant slices are stacked with rainbow veggie layers like wilted greens, tomato, and mushrooms (though keep reading for alternative veggie options). No matter which version you choose (or if you combine the two), these eggplant stacks are healthy, easy to prepare, inexpensive, and super pretty to serve.

They’re also naturally gluten-free, vegan, and even low-carb while still tasting like delicious comfort food. They’re perfect for impressing during weeknight meals, dinner parties, picnics, and more.

The Ingredients

ingredients for Eggplant Stacks measured out against a white surface

The Eggplant Slices

  • Eggplant: It’s best to use a medium-sized eggplant with a fairly uniform thickness/shape to make even stacks.
  • Starch: To create crispy eggplant slices, you’ll need potato starch or cornstarch.
  • Oil: Use any neutral cooking oil, like avocado oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, olive oil, etc.
  • Nutritional yeast: Nutritional yeast has a nutty, ‘cheesy’ flavor to replace parmesan in this vegan stacked eggplant recipe. You could alternatively use a shreddable vegan parmesan or omit it entirely if preferred.
  • Salt & black pepper: To season.

For Rainbow Veggie Stacks

  • Tomato: If you’re able, it’s best to use a tomato a similar width to the eggplant. Ripe, in-season tomatoes will work best. Out of season, you could spread warm marinara sauce over the eggplant tower.
  • Greens: There are several types of greens you could use for this eggplant stack recipe. I.e., spinach, kale, Swiss chard, or collard greens.
  • Mushrooms: You can use larger portobello mushrooms or smaller sliced mushrooms, like button, cremini, etc.
  • Balsamic vinegar: (optional) To drizzle over the top of the veggie stacks.

For Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Stacks

If you’d prefer more typical eggplant parm stacks, combine the eggplant (in ¼-inch slices) with your favorite marinara sauce (about 1 tbsp per layer), vegan mozzarella, and, optionally, fresh basil.

You can optionally boost the nutrients further by adding extra stacks of the wilted greens or sautéed mushrooms.

What Else Could I Add?

  • Red pepper flakes: To add spice, sprinkle into any layer of the baked vegetable stacks.
  • Garlic: To add extra flavor to the greens or mushrooms. Use fresh or powdered garlic and season to taste.
  • Dried oregano: To season the eggplant slices for more flavor.
  • Pesto: Drizzle/brush a small amount of green vegan pesto between the layers of the eggplant tower.
  • For crunch: You can sauté some panko/Italian breadcrumbs to sprinkle over the top of the eggplant stacks for texture OR bread the slices by dipping them in dairy-free milk or aquafaba, then the crumbs.
  • Other vegetables: Add to your baked vegetable stacks with ingredients like bell pepper, zucchini (or yellow squash), and red onion slices. Cut them into similar thickness pieces and roast them in the oven with the eggplant (baked for 20-30 minutes until tender or grill until tender and lightly charred).

How to Make Eggplant Stacks?

  • 1) First, preheat the oven to 450F/230C. Meanwhile, rinse, dry, and slice the eggplant and tomato into ½-inch slices (slice the tomato thinner if preferred).
  • 2) Lightly brush a large baking tray with about a tablespoon of oil (or use cooking spray), then spread the eggplant slices across the tray, gently coat them in oil, then sprinkle both sides with the starch, nutritional yeast (if using), and salt (about ¼ tsp) and black pepper.
  • 3) Spread the eggplant slices into an even layer, with space in between. Bake for 10 minutes, then carefully flip the pieces and bake for 5-10 minutes until golden-brown, crispy outside, and tender in the middle.
post baked eggplant slices in baking tray

The baking time will depend on how thick the slices are. Thicker slices can take closer to 30-35 minutes. You can optionally roast the tomato slices at the same time if preferred.

  • 4) Meanwhile, prepare the mushrooms by slicing them and then pan-frying them until brown and crispy on both sides—no oil necessary. Season with salt and pepper as you go. Then set aside.

Alternatively, save effort by roasting the mushrooms with the eggplant.

  • 5) In the same pan, add the greens, cover, and cook until they wilt and turn vibrant green (about 2 minutes for spinach or 4-5 for kale/collard greens). Sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside.
process shot of adding spinach to pan
  • 6) To assemble the veggie stacks, layer a slice of eggplant topped with greens, mushrooms, a slice (or two if thinner slices) of tomato, and a sprinkle of sea salt (optional). Finally, top the stack off with another eggplant slice and optionally drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

For vegan eggplant parmesan stacks: Use three ¼-inch eggplant slices per stack and layer with a tbsp of marinara and some vegan mozzarella each time. Bake for 10 minutes once assembled to melt the vegan cheese, then top with fresh ribboned basil.

FAQs

How to avoid bitter eggplant?

The bitterness in eggplant has largely been eliminated over the years. However, if you’ve had issues with bitter eggplants, it can help to liberally salt the slices and leave them to sit in a colander for 30-60 minutes to release excess liquid. Once ready, wipe away excess salt, pat dry, and continue with the recipe.

Can I cook the eggplant in an air fryer?

First, air fry the slices at 375F/190C for 15-17 minutes. If you’re making vegan eggplant parmesan stacks, then layer them with the sauce and vegan cheese and air fry for 6-8 minutes until golden brown and melted.

Top Recipe Tips and Notes

  • Don’t overcrowd the eggplant: Otherwise, the slices may not become crispy.
  • Make sure the eggplant is properly cooked: It should be very tender. Undercooked eggplant can taste bitter and have an unpleasant texture. The baking time will vary based on the thickness of the slices.
  • Stack them correctly: Use larger eggplant slices on the bottoms of the stacks, so they don’t topple.
completed Eggplant Stacks scattered on a white surface

Serving Recommendations

You can enjoy these delicious and nutritious eggplant stacks as an appetizer, side, or main:

You can also use the leftovers to mix into a quinoa or pasta salad or use them within sandwiches and wraps.

Storage Instructions

To save time, you can prepare the cooked elements of these veggie stacks (the eggplant slices, mushrooms, and greens) 2-3 days in advance and store them in separate containers in the refrigerator, ready to reheat and stack as needed.

Once assembled, it’s best to enjoy the stacks immediately, though any leftovers will store in the refrigerator for an additional 1-2 days.

While it’s technically safe to do so, we don’t recommend freezing these veggie stacks, as it will affect the texture of the vegetables.

How To Reheat Eggplant Stacks?

The best way is to place the stacks in a high-sided baking dish, cover them with foil, and bake at 350F/175C until heated through (around 20 minutes).

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

Eggplant Stacks [2 Ways]

5 from 60 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Enjoy delicious eggplant stacks two ways: As rainbow veggie stacks or as a lighter eggplant parmesan treat—but 100% dairy-free and vegan! They’re an easy, delicious, low-cost, and nutritious meat-free, gluten-free appetizer, side, or main ready in just 30 minutes!

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon of neutral oil (avocado, canola, grape seed)
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced ½" thick
  • 1 tablespoon of potato starch (or corn starch)
  • 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast (optional-if you don't have it, leave it out)

  • 1 Tablespoon of dried oregano
  • ¼-½ teaspoon of sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 large portobello mushroom (or as seen here, ½ lb chanterelle mushrooms), sliced ¼" thick
  • 1 ripe tomato, sliced
  • 1 bunch of swiss chard (or spinach, kale, or collard greens), chopped
  • Drizzle of balsamic vinegar (optional)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Coat a large metal baking tray with 1 tablespoon of oil. Take eggplant slices and place on a baking sheet. Use your hands to gently coat them in oil. Sprinkle with potato starch, nutritional yeast (if using), ¼ teaspoon sea salt, and black pepper and toss to coat well. Spread into an even layer and place in an oven. Bake for 10 minutes, flip them over when browning on bottom and bake for another 5-10 minutes.
  • While baking the eggplant, slice the mushroom(s) and sear in a pan until browning and crispy on both sides, flipping as needed. No oil needed, the juices from the mushrooms will prevent sticking. Transfer to a small bowl.
  • In the same pan wilt the greens. Simply place chopped greens in a pan, cover, and let cook on medium heat for 2 minutes (4-5 minutes for kale or collard greens) until bright green and wilted. Add water by the spoonful if needed, to prevent sticking or burning. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and set aside.
  • When eggplant is crisp outside and soft inside, remove it from the oven and begin making your stacks. On a plate, stack eggplant, a mound of greens, a slice of mushroom, a slice of tomato, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Top with another eggplant round and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Repeat! Very yummy!

Notes

  • Don’t overcrowd the eggplant: Otherwise, the slices may not become crispy.
  • Make sure the eggplant is properly cooked: It should be very tender. Undercooked eggplant can taste bitter and have an unpleasant texture. The baking time will vary based on the thickness of the slices.
  • Stack them correctly: Use larger eggplant slices on the bottoms of the stacks, so they don’t topple.

Nutrition

Calories: 203kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 9gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.03gSodium: 624mgPotassium: 1539mgFiber: 13gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 9782IUVitamin C: 59mgCalcium: 147mgIron: 5mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Renee Press
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Method: Oven
Diet: Vegan
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂
About

Renee Press

Renee Press is the founder of Fire and Earth Kitchen in Seattle WA. which offers cooking classes, food coaching, and chef services. She’s on a mission to make vegan, gluten-free cooking easy, accessible, and delicious for everyone. fireandearthkitchen.com

More about Renee Press
5 from 60 votes (52 ratings without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    I’ve only had eggplant once and I didn’t really like the spongy texture. This recipe is soo good! It totally changed my mind about eggplant 😀