Pizza always sounds good, right? Without a doubt, my Almost Cheeseless Eggplant Pizza (with eggplant as the crust!) is the most frequent eggplant recipe I make and I’ve been making it for years now. Not only is it super delicious, it is beyond easy to prepare. In fact, because it is so basic I was hesitant to even share it as a “recipe” for the longest time ever.
However, I think I have finally come to realize that in most instances the recipes we all often return to again and again are the radically simple ones. And eggplant pizza is most definitely that….radically simple.
Why is the Eggplant Pizza “Almost Cheeseless”?
For most people cheese on pizza is a given. But, if you are really into clean eating or have read our Clean Cuisine book, then you know cheese is not exactly at the top of the clean eating food pyramid. So, if the “Almost Cheeseless” part has you raising an eyebrow, the explanation is simply that a little bit of good, real cheese goes such a long, long way to contributing so much flavor, depth and deliciousness to certain dishes (pizza would most definitely qualify!) that I have not yet been able to 100% eliminate it from my diet. I do however use cheese sparingly and I often incorporate culinary “tricks” that help maximize every last bit of yummy cheesiness possible.
With the eggplant pizza recipe below, I substituted pine nut “crumbs” (see notes at the bottom of the recipe below) for a good portion of the cheese, but I didn’t totally eliminate the cheese altogether. This little trick will still give you the taste and satisfaction of a cheesy pizza–without all the cheese (wink.)
Oh! And cold, leftover eggplant pizza is every bit as delectable as cold, leftover pizza. You can also use the leftover eggplant pizza slices to make a insanely good sandwich.
- 1 large eggplant (sliced into 1/4 inch rounds (keep the skins on))
- Unrefined sea salt
- 1 cup good quality prepared marinara sauce (my favorite is Rao’s)
- 1 cup pine nut “crumbs” (see notes below)
- 1/2 cup organic (shredded mozzarella cheese (ideally from pasture-raised cows))
- 1/2 cup shredded fresh basil
- Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Arrange the eggplant slices on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Season eggplant with salt, using your clean fingertips to gently press the salt into the eggplant flesh.
- Spoon a large dollop of marinara sauce on top of each eggplant slice. Use the back of a spoon to spread the sauce evenly over the surface of each eggplant slice.
- Sprinkle the pine nut “crumbs” and cheese on top of the marinara sauce.
- Bake the eggplant pizzas for 20 to 22 minutes, or until soft. Remove the eggplant pizzas from the oven and scatter the shredded basil on top. Season with pepper to taste. Serve warm.
To make pine nut crumbs place pine nuts in a mini food processor and pulse until finely ground. Pine nut crumbs can be made up to one week in advance and stored in an air-tight container in the freezer.
Hungry for More Easy, Healthy Dinner Recipes?
Be sure to check out our Clean Cuisine Dinners Cookbook for a full month of doable, delicious dinners the whole family will love!