Eggplant steaks with creamy spinach topped with fresh tomatoes. I made this dish one night after craving something hearty and Italian inspired but I didn’t care to have any pasta or bread just one simple meal that satisfied all my cravings. What I didn’t know was how insanely delicious this dish was going to be or that I was going to eat the same exact meal 3 days in a row because I couldn’t get enough of it.
I love when that happens. I get inspired and I just have to keep satisfying that craving. That’s when I know the recipe is worthy of sharing with you here. I have to admit there is some work involved in making this dish. You have to be willing to cut and salt your eggplants and let them sit for 30 minutes to an hour before you start cooking. But this is all hands off time for you. Just salt and walk away. Why cover these in salt you ask? To draw out the water and some of the bitter flavor from the eggplant so it can absorb all the balsamic and get meaty and tender instead of squishy and mediocre.
My favorite discovery of the year has certainly been cashew cheese which is simply made of raw cashews that are soaked in hot water, drained then pulverized into a buttery creamy dreamy replacement for traditional cheese. I’ve used it in my Portobello Mushroom Philly Cheese Steaks as well as the base for my Sundried Tomato Alfredo. If you haven’t tried it yet, what are you waiting for??
What I love about cashew cheese is that it replicates a bechamel sauce with cheese and is therefore perfect to mix spinach in and smear all over these balsamic eggplant steaks. Don’t believe me? Try it!
The fresh tomato salad topping brings a brightness and also is the perfect compliment to the balsamic eggplant. I don’t have to tell you how wonderful balsamic and tomato is together. This mixture is equally wonderful on top of eggs or mixed with chickpeas or cannenili beans on toast. There really is no wrong way to eat this!
Eggplant is a great replacement for meat. It has a very meat like texture when cooked this way. It’s also very filling, which is great since it’s naturally low in calories and full of fiber. Eggplants come in many sizes and variety. I like to use little Chinese eggplants if I don’t have time to draw the water out of the eggplant with salt.
If you have ever cooked eggplant before and it was kind of mushy/rubbery, it’s because you didn’t draw out the extra moisture, give eggplant another chance! The skin in eggplant has a flavonoid that has been shown to protect cell membranes from damage! Eggplant skin is literally keeping you healthy at the cellular level! How awesome is that!!
You will want to be sure to salt your eggplant for 30 minutes to an hour. I have this awesome colander (affiliate link) that I can just place over the sink letting the water from the eggplant just go down the drain. You could also use a traditional colander placed over a plate with a few paper towels to catch the water.
Cashew cheese can be replaced with ricotta cheese but I highly recommend the cashew cheese. To make cashew cheese all you need is raw cashews, hot water, a food processor and a pinch of salt. Easy peasy!
Store the left over eggplant and tomatoes in a glass Pyrex (affiliate link) as the plastic Tupperware is really not ideal for acidic foods. Also never reheat food in plastic.
Balsamic Eggplant Steaks
- 1 large eggplant sliced into 1 inch rounds
- 1 tbs. salt
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- black pepper to taste
Spinach Cashew Cheese
- 6 roma tomatoes chopped
- 2 garlic clove finely chopped
- 1/4 red onion finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Italian parsley chopped
- 1 tbs. sherry or balsamic vinegar
- pinch of salt
- black pepper to taste
- Slice eggplant into 1 inch round steaks. Liberally cover with salt and allow to sit in strainer, 30 minutes to an hour.
- Wash salt off eggplant.
- Place eggplant steaks in a flat container with a lid. Add balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and shake to cover eggplant steaks. Let sit in marinade 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Make cashew cheese from raw cashews that have been soaked for 2+ hours. See recipe.
- Press all the extra liquid out of the spinach using a strainer or cheesecloth Once spinach is dry, add it to the cashew cheese Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder Combine thoroughly
- Place parchment paper on a baking sheet. Lay balsamic eggplant steaks in on the baking sheet.
- Bake at 400 for 20 minutes
- Take out of oven and carefully cover with spinach mixture. Bake 10 minutes.
- While eggplant is baking, make the tomato salad
- Chop the tomatoes into small cubes Chop garlic, red onion and parsley. Combine in bowl. Add sherry vinegar, salt and pepper. Taste. Add additional seasonings you like.
- Let the tomato mixture sit out while eggplant is baking.
- Remove eggplant from the oven, top with tomato salad and serve.
What about you?
- Have you ever made eggplant steaks before?
- What is your favorite Italian food?
- How often do you eat the same thing over and over?