Tempeh Eggplant Florentine

Hearty and satisfying, the tangy tomato goodness of this dish appeals even to people who don’t care much for eggplant as a rule. The key is slicing the eggplant as thin as possible so it cooks completely and absorbs the tomato sauce, eliminating the “rubbery” aspect that many people find so unappealing.


  • 1 large Eggplant, sliced into thin (1/8″) rounds
  • 1 small Onion, diced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, sliced or minced
  • 1 package frozen Spinach, defrosted and rinsed
  • 2 cans Chopped tomatoes
  • 1 package Tempeh, defrosted and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 tsp Garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried Basil


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).
  2. Sprinkle eggplant with plain table salt and let sit for 15 minutes (or more) to sweat while completing the next few steps.
  3. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion becomes translucent.
  4. Stir in tomato sauce, spinach, tempeh, and the spices. Mix well and then remove from heat.
  5. Dab the salt off of the eggplant with a paper towel.
  6. Spray the bottom of an 8×8 casserole dish with canola oil, and layer about 1/3 of the eggplant rounds evenly across the bottom. Cover evenly with about 1/3 of the sauce mix. Repeat the layers with the remaining eggplant and sauce mix, so you have a total of six layers (eggplant, sauce, eggplant, sauce, eggplant, sauce).
  7. Cover with foil and bake for one hour.
  8. Serve over rice or pasta.


  • You can add a little zip to this dish by dropping back to one can of chopped tomatoes and augmenting each sauce layer with salsa. With only one can of tomatoes, the sauce mix will be thick and chunky. You add just enough salsa to each layer to thin out the mix and make it easy to spread evenly across the eggplant (about 1/4 cup per layer).
  • The easiest way we’ve found to slice eggplant is with a laser-edged bread knife. The fine serrations make it easy to slice through the skin and create very thin slices. Sliced thin, the skin practically disappears into the dish, so peeling the eggplant is not necessary.
  • If you want to expand the recipe by adding more ingredients, you may need to move up to a larger casserole dish, because the recipe as shown barely fits in an 8×8.
  • If you have trouble cutting the eggplant into thin slices, you can give it a head start on the cooking process by broiling it for a few minutes before adding it to the casserole. Broil it just until the top starts to brown. Broiling also enhances the flavor of the eggplant a bit.
  • This dish goes great with a side of toasted garlic bread.

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour