Easy Pepperoni Eggplant Pizzas
Here are two dishes that have a lot in common: Pizza and Eggplant Parmesan.
Both of them can be a bit of a pain to make from scratch (especially on a weeknight), but you can take the best parts of both and smash them together in what turns out to be a very delicious and easy recipe.
Plus, since there are no carbs or refined sugars in the recipe you can use that trending foodie word of the year: Paleo. I won’t use it, but you could.
Since these little eggplant pizzas are on the small size, they are also great for an appetizer. Or just fake out your kids and tell them your having pizza for dinner. You can blame it on me when they feel slighted.
1) Slice eggplant into 3/4-inch slices. If you slice them too thin, they will fall apart while they bake.
2) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place eggplant slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle the eggplant slices well with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.
3) Bake eggplant slices for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for another 10-12 minutes until the slices are slightly browned and crisp around the edges.
4) Meanwhile stir together tomato sauce with garlic powder, paprika, red pepper flakes, dried thyme, a drizzle of olive oil, and a small pinch of salt and pepper.
5) When eggplant slices are done, add a smear of tomato sauce to each round, then top with a mound of grated cheese and a few pieces of chopped pepperoni. Add a few fresh leaves of oregano to each pizza.
6) Bake pizzas for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted and browned around the edges.
Serve pizzas while warm as an appetizer or as a meal. 3-4 slices makes a great meal.
Easy Eggplant Pizzas
Eggplants can be an unwieldy veggie to be sure. They are large, have tough skins, and can be on the bitter side. Typically, if you’re making a baked dish with them (like these eggplant parm rolls), I would recommend salting and pressing them to remove some of the liquid.
But, there’s no need to do that for these little pizzas. Just slice the eggplant into thickish rounds. Shoot for 3/4-1 inch slices. If you get them too thin then they won’t stay sturdy after baking.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. and lay out your rounds on a baking sheet or two lined with parchment paper.
Drizzle them all with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. You can use a liberal hand with the seasonings.
Bake these guys for 15 minutes and then flip them and bake them for another 10-15 minutes. When they are done, they will be deflated slightly, but also browned on both sides and slightly crispy around the skin.
As far as I can tell, you could top these with any pizza toppings you like.
I kept my toppings pretty straightforward: cheese, pepperoni, and a little fresh oregano. You could use mozzarella, but provolone and eggplant are made to go together so trust me on that one.
Because these pizzas are on the small side, be sure to chop up your toppings (like pepperoni) so they fit nicely.
While you can use almost any topping, I’m not sure I would recommend using a white pizza sauce. The tomato sauce is pretty important, but there’s no need to do anything fancy. I just mixed up some basic tomato puree with a blend of spices. The secret ingredient which I wouldn’t normally put in pizza sauce is dried thyme.
Thyme really tastes great with eggplant so use it if you have it.
Finishing the Eggplant Pizzas
After your eggplant bases are baked, add a smear of tomato to each one. Easy enough right?
Then top each one with a mound of cheese and toppings.
I like using parchment paper for these because the cheese will melt around the eggplants and get a bit crispy. They are still easy to slide off the sheet though thanks to the parchment.
Stick them back into the oven for 5-6 minutes until they are melted and browned around the edges.
Serve these beauties while they are melted and warm. You probably won’t be able to actually pick them up and eat them like a slice… they are more of a fork and knife situation.
These easy eggplant pizzas are great appetizer or meal for a cold winter night!