Green Tomato Parmesan Stacks with Red Pesto is a seasonal twist on Eggplant Parmesan that replaces the breaded eggplant with firm green tomatoes and wedges it between layers of mozzarella, Parmesan crisps, and red pesto sauce for a delicious meat-free main.
I’m not a patient person. We planted our garden three weeks ago and all I do every morning when I take Tuko outside is anxiously see if anything is ready yet. No, not yet? Well darn. I get that same anxious feeling at the farmer’s market as I avoid the grocery store for days before going because I think I’ll find a bounty of fresh produce. I then head to the market only to find out that most things aren’t ready yet – there are plants available and a few baby strawberries but not a bounty full enough to keep me sustained for the next week.
It’s just too early for those juicy, flavorful tomatoes to be making an appearance but I’ve noticed green tomatoes starting to pop up. What the heck are you supposed to do with them if you don’t want to deep fry them though? Well, I recently discovered (through more trial and error than I’d like to admit) that they make a wonderful substitute for eggplant in “Eggplant Parmesan” (or, er, “Green Tomato Parmesan”). They aren’t juicy like ripe tomatoes and their firm text holds up beautifully when dipped in an egg batter and smothered in breadcrumbs. I tried cooking these both on the stove top and also in the oven; both methods were successful but I found the oven to be much less messy and easier to handle; because of the ease of baking, I’ve included that method in the recipe below but you can also just add a little olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat and cook these little slices that way.
Also, since it seemed a little repetitive to put tomato sauce on tomatoes, I switched up the sauce for a red pesto made out of jarred roasted red peppers and almonds. I then made some insanely simple Parmesan crisp to wedge between it all and viola! A ridiculously simple dish that is a total show stopper! Don’t let the final product intimidate you, there are three very simple parts that can be made in under an hour for a filling and delicious meat-less meal.
*Side note: Reminder that not all Parmesans are vegetarian! Please look for a version made with vegetarian rennet – my favorite is Organic Valley’s Grated Parmesan.
Green Tomato Parmesan Stacks with Red Pesto recipe below:
- 3 large green tomatoes , sliced thick into 8 pieces
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cups roasted red pepper , chopped
- 1/4 cup raw almonds
- 1/4 cup Parmesan
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Salt / Pepper
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella , sliced into 8 pieces
- Microgreens or basil , for garnish (optional)
For the tomatoes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a shallow dish, place breadcrumbs and set aside. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the egg and whole milk. Dunk one tomato slice in the egg mixture and then pat each side in the breadcrumbs to coat it. Transfer the coated slice onto a prepared baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the slices. Brush one Tbsp olive oil over the tomatoes and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly browned. Transfer to a cooling rack or plate and set aside
For the Pesto: Meanwhile, transfer roasted red pepper, almonds, 1/4 cup Parmesan, garlic cloves, 2 Tbsp and olive oil into a food processor. Pulse until a chunk sauce has formed, about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.
For the Parmesan Crisps: Up the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Reusing the parchment paper and baking sheet you used for the tomatoes, place heaping Tbsp mounds onto the baking sheet, two inches apart. Bake for six to eight minutes or until golden. Remove from heat and let cool before handling (so they firm up).
To assemble: Place a piece of tomato onto four separate plates. Top each piece with a piece of mozzarella, two Tbsp sauce, and a Parmesan crisp. Repeat until all the components are used up and garnish. Serve warm right away.