Thursday, December 15, 2016

Gluten Free Eggpant Mini-Pizzas


This winter I've been craving eggplant, so decided to try using eggplant in a stove-top mini-pizza - and I love it!

I also appreciate that this recipe is naturally gluten-free, and can easily be vegetarian or vegan.

Personally, I can easily consume half a large eggplant for lunch, but you may not require such a hearty portion - just adjust the recipe to your needs.

Also, most pizza ingredients come in larger quantities than what you'd need for a single serving, so just grab whatever you typically enjoy on your pizza and make as much/little as you need, and then do it again the next day... and the next!

Left to right: Goat cheddar, Tomato,
Pizza sauce (upper right corner),
Eggplant, Mushroom
Necessary Ingredients:
  • 1 Tbsp Oil (for the pan/skillet) - olive, sunflower, canola
  • 1/2 Large round eggplant per person, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices (For lunch I eat 4-6 slices, about 4 inches diameter). Alternatively you can use thinner eggplant for bite size pizzas.
  • 1 can/jar of pizza sauce (store remaining sauce in airtight jar, can be frozen)
  • Toppings (see optional ingredients for ideas)

Optional Ingredients:

You really don't need much - for 6 slices of eggplant I used one 2 inch diameter mushroom sliced, 3 thin slices of tomato quartered, 2 olives sliced, and half a cup of shredded cheese.
  • Cheese: cow/sheep/goat/vegan
  • Meats: pepperoni, ham, bacon, sausage
  • Veggies: fresh tomato, sun-dried tomato, olives, onion, green pepper, mushroom, pineapple

Tools:
  • Large Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Large deep pan or long skillet (the longer, the more you can make at one time)
  • Spatula (hamburger flipper)
  • Small spoon (for sauce)

Prepare your ingredients and tools in advance - eggplant gets mushy when overcooked, and you'll need to get your toppings on quickly to allow them time to heat and your cheese to melt (if using).

Start by heating your pan/skillet on medium low.

Add the oil and allow to warm, but don't overheat!

When ready, add slices of eggplant to fill the bottom of the pan/skillet.

Let the first side cook for about 2 minutes.

Flip with spatula - the first side should be a little brown.

Add a small spoonful of pizza sauce to the cooked side of the eggplant, and spread around with the backside of the spoon. It doesn't need to be even - no one will see it!

Add your toppings in the order preferred.

I like to add meat first (if using), then veggies (large to small, flat to bulky, and dry to wet), and cheese last. But of course, you can add things in whatever order you like (for kicks, sometimes I do cheese first!)

Cook for about 2 minutes - hopefully cheese will start to melt a bit. It's okay to cover with a lid, but it's okay if the cheese doesn't melt - it will still be delicious.

You really just want the eggplant to be cooked enough to be tender without becoming mushy or burnt. It may take a bit of practice, but even if it gets a bit mushy, it will be delicious.

Gently slide spatula under a slice of eggplant, taking care as you dislodge it if it has gotten stuck in the center (which it will likely do). Place on plates and serve with fork and knife.

If you're able to keep the eggplant firm, you can actually eat it with your hands like a little pizza - this can be rather messy and you might need a fork to get fallen bits once you've finished.

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