Eggplant Stack Appetizer

eggplant stack
Patsy Catsos, MS, RDN, LD
Total Time: 45 min
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 25 min
Servings: 4 (4 1/2 ounces each)

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

155 calories
10g fat
11g carbs
8g protein
Show Nutrition Label Hide Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 (4 1/2 ounces each)
Amount per serving  
Calories 155
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 22mg 7%
Sodium 280mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 6g  
Includes 1g Added Sugars 2%
Protein 8g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 162mg 12%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 363mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

This appetizer starts with the classic caprese combination of fresh tomato, mozzarella, and basil. The addition of nutritious broiled eggplant and the stacked presentation make it extra special. Eggplants contain health-promoting antioxidants that have been shown to protect against DNA damage and may help prevent against chronic diseases such as cancer.


  • 1 pound fresh unpeeled eggplant
  • 1 tbsp garlic-infused olive oil
  • 1/16 tsp salt
  • 1/16 tsp freshly ground black pepper            
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1/2 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
  • 4 ounces fresh, whole milk mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil


  1. Preheat broiler. Cut the eggplant into 8 1/2-inch rounds at a point where eggplant is 3 to 4 inches in diameter, to make 4 pairs of similarly sized medallions. Save leftover eggplant for another use.

  2. Place rounds on the baking sheet and brush both sides with garlic-infused oil. Lightly salt and pepper eggplant rounds.

  3. Broil them on the top rack of the oven until eggplant is medium golden-brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn eggplant pieces over and broil on the other side until browned, 3 to 4 minutes more.

  4. Remove pan from oven, turn off the broiler, and turn oven to 425F.

  5. Slice the tomato horizontally into 8 1/8-inch thick rounds. Cut bell pepper into 8 2-inch squares. Slice the cheese into very thin, 1/2-ounce slices.

  6. To assemble, top each eggplant round with 2 or 3 basil leaves, then a tomato slice, followed by roasted red bell pepper, ending with a slice of mozzarella.

  7. Place one short eggplant stack on top of another to create 4 tall stacks. If there are size differences, keep the slightly larger stacks on the bottom for stability.

  8. Spear stacks through the center with long toothpicks (or wooden skewers) through all of the layers. Bake on the middle rack of the oven until mozzarella is melted and just beginning to turn brown, 12 to 14 minutes.

Variations and Substitutions

You can use freshly roasted bell pepper instead of jarred peppers if you have peppers on hand. Cut a 10 to 12-ounce red bell pepper in half lengthwise, and discard stems and seeds. Place the bell pepper skin-side up at one end of the baking sheet and broil along with the eggplant.

Press the pepper firmly to flatten, uncurling both ends of pepper so it lies completely flat. The pepper will split in places. Have a small bowl and plastic wrap nearby. Broil until skin is black all over about 8 to 10 minutes. It may take more or less time than the eggplant.

Remove the pepper from the baking sheet, place in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes. Peel off the blackened skin and discard. Cut as described above.

Mozzarella works well in this recipe because it is mild, but you can use another type of cheese if you prefer. Provolone works, as does white cheddar. If you want to make this recipe vegan-friendly, use a dairy-free cheese alternative. There are several options available that are usually made from cashews.

Cooking and Serving Tips

  • A log-shaped fresh mozzarella cheese is much easier to cut into 1/2-ounce slices than a ball-shaped one. Dental floss does a nice job of slicing mozzarella cheese.
  • Look for dark-purple eggplants with straight sides. If you need all four portions to be exactly the same size for presentation purposes, or if the available eggplants are very tapered in shape, you might need to purchase an extra eggplant to yield four pairs of eggplant medallions of equal diameter.
  • Eggplant stacks can also be served as a light lunch or dinner with a salad or a side of low-FODMAP pasta.
  • To make cleanup a snap, line the baking sheet with aluminum foil before broiling the eggplant.

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Article Sources
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  1. Sukprasansap M, Sridonpai P, Phiboonchaiyanan PP. Eggplant fruits protect against DNA damage and mutations. Mutat Res. 2019 Jan;813:39-45. doi:10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2018.12.004