Crispy Eggplant Sandwiches with Dairy-Free Smoked Gouda Slices Easily Fill a Meal with Plants
This story is part of Eat More Plants, Kitchn’s June 2021 special issue devoted to learning how to put the flavor and magic of plants at the heart of your plate.
These crispy stacked sandwiches might be one of the most fun ways to tuck more plants into our diet. Tender rounds of eggplant are breaded and baked, then draped with rich and flavorful dairy-free smoked gouda slices. Add thick-sliced tomato for juiciness, and the result is a hearty, satisfying sandwich that requires nothing but a few napkins.
This recipe celebrates two of summer’s best vegetables: eggplant and tomatoes. Though both are available year-round, their flavor is at its peak in the summer months. That means you don’t need to do much to turn them into a show-stopping meal. This is a recipe that’s as unfussy as the season itself.
Follow Your Heart Dairy-Free Smoked Gouda Slices are really all that’s needed to elevate these veggie sandwiches. The hickory-smoked slices can be found in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store. While they taste great straight out of the package, they’re versatile enough to be enjoyed hot or cold. They melt perfectly in these sandwiches and give every bite lots of creamy richness. Top it all off with a little help from Follow Your Heart Vegenaise — it’s the original egg-free mayo alternative — which is used as both a creamy spread and as a binder for the eggplant breading. When it all comes together, you’ve got one memorable meal.
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 33 minutes to 40 minutes
large globe eggplant (about 1 pound)
- 1/2 cup
Follow Your Heart Vegenaise, divided
- 1 cup
panko bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon
- 1/2 teaspoon
freshly ground black pepper
medium beefsteak tomatoes
Follow Your Heart Dairy-Free Smoked Gouda Slices (from 1 (7-ounce) package), divided
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.
Place 1 cup panko bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in a medium bowl. Stir to combine.
Trim 1 large eggplant and cut crosswise into 6 (1-inch) slices. Bread the eggplant slices by brushing 1/4 cup Follow Your Heart Vegenaise on both sides of of all 6 slices, then coating the slices completely in the bread crumb mixture, pressing the bread crumbs to adhere. Arrange the slices in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, spacing them evenly apart.
Bake for 15 minutes. Flip the slices and bake until golden-brown and tender, 10 to 15 minutes more. Meanwhile, core and trim 2 medium beefsteak tomatoes. Cut each crosswise into 3 slices.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Top each eggplant round with 1 slice Follow Your Heart Dairy-Free Smoked Gouda. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese just melts, 8 to 10 minutes.
Split 6 hamburger buns and spread 1/4 cup Follow Your Heart Vegenaise evenly among the cut sides of the buns. Top each bun bottom with a cheesy eggplant round, followed by a tomato slice. Close the burgers with the bun tops and serve.
Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Follow Your Heart® and Vegenaise® are registered trademarks of Earth Island®