- 4 Ciabatta bun , or Rustic Italian Bread (or none)
- 2 cups vegan ricotta cheese spread | ricotta or fresh mozzarella
- 8 eggplant rounds
- baby arugula leaves or spinach
- favorite marinara sauce
- vegan breadcrums or panko
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- If using bread, slice each roll or bun in half and place in the oven for 5-10 minutes until bread is slightly toasted on both sides (to taste).
- Be sure that the crispy eggplant rounds and vegan ricotta is no cooler than room temperature (in case you made it ahead of time and stored it in the fridge, remove and let it sit at room temperature).
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- On every toasted bottom half, spread a generous layer of marinara sauce, followed by a generous layer of the vegan ricotta, ricotta or fresh mozza, a layer of baby arugula or spinach leaves, and a feweggplant rounds (the exact amount will depend on the size of your bread).
- Place the loaded halves on the lined baking tray and back in the oven for 10 minutes until nice and hot.
- Remove from the oven and close each sandwich. Bravo!
HOW TO CRISP YOUR EGGPLANTS:
Toss the eggplant rounds with some sea salt, and place in a colander over the sink for about 30 minutes. The salt will help remove moisture from the eggplant.
Dry the eggplant rounds by patting with a paper napkin or towel to remove any moisture released.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Add some of the breadcrumbs or panko into a bowl for coating. Add more as needed after you start breading the eggplant round.
In anotherbowl, combine all the ingredients for the batter in the order listed and whisk until completely mixed.
Dredge each eggplant round into the batter to coat thoroughly on both sides and then dip into the breadcrumbs on both sides and edges. Place the breaded eggplant rounds on the parchment lined baking sheet.
Once all the eggplant rounds are breaded and placed in a single layer on the baking sheet, and bake them in the oven for a total of 20-25 minutes. I have also deep fried them in a skillet with canola oil (it only takes 3-5 minutes).
For gluten-free – Use your favorite gluten-free bread or simply enjoy this recipe without the bread as stacked layers of crispy eggplant rounds, ricotta, marinara, spinach, etc.
Eggplant Rounds – The sandwich is best enjoyed with freshly Baked Eggplant Rounds, but you can easily make the eggplant and vegan ricotta ahead of time and assemble when ready to serve.
Take it to-go – This sandwich packs great for a school lunch or to take to work. Make sure the sandwich has cooled completely at room temperature, wrap once in parchment paper, cut in half, and wrap once more in parchment paper. kepp in the fridge until ready to take or eat.