When you hear people talk about the early stages of transitioning to veganism, you don’t typically hear them reminisce about meat-based dishes. What you do hear quite often is “Oh, I just love cheese.” It’s basically a food group unto itself–and a popular one at that. While no vegan alternative fully compares to the real deal, the thought of animal suffering that accompanies cheese production is enough to stay away. But it’s the flavor and texture we’re after, not necessarily the product itself, so it’s easy enough to come up with alternatives.
In this vegan eggplant caprese recipe, the shining star–standing in for mozzarella–is extra firm tofu. Briny, chewy, and slightly tart, this tofu “mozzarella” serves as a replacement for its dairy counterpart. The addition of pan-fried eggplant perks up the dish a bit (and makes it look nicer, too). Top it all off with a drizzle of balsamic, and you have yourself a meal worth serving to any Italian food fiend.
Vegan Eggplant Caprese
- 1 block firm tofu
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons + 1/2 teaspoon, divided, salt
- 1 medium eggplant
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 large tomato
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1. Slice tofu into rectangles (about 1 cm. thick).
2. Sprinkle slices with salt on each side and place in a shallow container.
3. Pour lemon juice over the tofu and set in the fridge overnight (or for 8+ hours) to marinate.
4. When ready to prepare salad, slice eggplant into rounds and sprinkle with remaining salt.
5. Heat oil on medium-high in a skillet.
6. Cook eggplant, several slices at a time, for about 3 minutes on each side.
7. When oil gets low, add water (1 tablespoon at a time, as needed) and cover with lid to steam.
8. Once eggplant is nearly translucent and can be poked with a fork, remove from heat.
9. Slice tomato into rounds.
10. To assemble, layer eggplant, tomato, and marinated tofu around the perimeter of a large plate.
11. Drizzle with balsamic and serve.
Also by Quincy: Vegan Cookie Recipes: Kitchen Sink Bars
Get more like this—Subscribe to our daily inspirational newsletter for exclusive content!
Photos: Quincy Malesovas