Vegetarian South Beach Diet Phase One recipe of the Month: Eggplant Caprese Bake

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Finally we are out of the holiday season….Although the holiday season is a great time, a time to enjoy with family and friends, and I absolutely enjoy cooking and eating special foods for the holiday season, I am glad in a way there is an end to it, and I can get back to eating more healthy food. Here is a recipe that would help you out, making you feel like you are still eating comfort food. It is a fairly easy recipe to put together, but big on flavor and nutrition.

Now for how I came up with the name for the recipe, ūüôā A caprese salad is a popular Italian salad, featuring the colors of the Italian flag in tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. This baked version has tofu in addition to the mozzarella cheese for an added protein boost. I have used my home made baked tofu, but you can always use store bought baked tofu in its place and choose a flavor of baked tofu that you like. The real key to this dish is using fresh mozzarella – that you will find sold like a ball – and using fresh basil.

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Ingredients:
2 Japanese eggplants
4 medium roma tomatoes, cubed
4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
4 oz baked tofu(made with Italian seasoning), cubed
1/4 cup basil leaves, julienned
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, smashed – skin on.
1 tbsp capers(optional)
salt, pepper to taste

Method:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking dish with non stick cooking spray.

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Heat oil in a pan over medium low heat. Add the smashed garlic with skin on. Let it infuse the oil for a minute. Remove and discard the galric. Now, add the red pepper flakes and let it infuse the oil. Meanwhile, halve the long Japanese eggplants and cut into cubes. Add the eggplants into the pan and let it saute for a couple of minutes. Cover the eggplant with a lid and let it cook until the eggplants are soft. Add in the cubed roma tomatoes now. Let cook until it turns soft as well. Remove from heat. Toss in the cubed tofu and cubed mozzarella, the julienned basil leaves, salt and pepper to taste. Place in the preheated oven to just make the mozzarella soften a bit – but not lose shape or melt – about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle with the capers. Serve warm with a side salad to make a healthy main.

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Verdict: A casserole dish that is healthy and filling, as well as protein rich – thanks to the tofu and the cheese. The capers add a tangy bite and the basil leaves add a refreshing flavor.

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