W/ SPINACH PESTO & MARINARA
In celebration of Pulaski Day yesterday, I tossed around the idea of trying out homemade pierogies, but decided I was dumplinged out after all that bao last week. Besides, Garrett's response to that idea was excitement, but followed by "What should we serve along with it...other brown things?" So he rained on my Polish parade and I committed myself to patronizing Podhalanka next Friday, instead.
While my paternal background is Polish (some shtetl in Russian-occupied Poland, to be exact), Garrett is half Italian-America, so I went that route instead. I do feel like I've been going for lots of Italian and tofu lately, so why not combine them? I was inspired by this vegan eggplant "rollatini," but I dropped both the vegan and the "rollatini" (the former because I bought my favorite cheese* this week and the latter because that's the worst made up Italian word, ever). If you want to keep it as healthy as possible and/or vegan, by all means leave out the cheese.
Besides adding a bit of cheese love to the dish (but not so much as to compromise the value of the tofu substitute for real ricotta), I also made the filling more of a tofu ricotta with spinach-basil pesto. I was eating it by the spoonful and was glad it made plenty to still fill all my eggplant slices. Use a pre-made marinara sauce if you want, or make my simple go-to recipe from the zucchini spaghetti and meatballs post.
- 1/2 package of extra firm tofu
- 2 cups spinach
- 1/2 cup fresh basil
- 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 pepper
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 oz. queso fresco (farmer's cheese)
- 1/8 cup grated parmesan
- 1 eggplant, sliced lengthwise with 1/4 inch thickness
- 1-2 cups marinara sauce
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
If you're making your own marina sauce, get that prepped before you begin working on the eggplant and filling. Just allow it to simmer while you make the rest.
Slice eggplant and dress with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. You can either bake it the oven, flipping halfway until browned, or throw it on a hot grill pan. Set aside to cool.
Slice the tofu into slabs and allow it to dry out a bit on paper towel. Meanwhile, put the basil, spinach, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, oregano, and parsley in a food processor and blend until it is as smooth as possible. Here comes the hard part: add the cheese...and don't go splurging on more than the above amounts!
Using a fork, crumble the tofu in a bowl, then add the pesto and mix. Add salt to taste.
Drop about a heaping tablespoon at the end of each slice of eggplant, roll, and line up in a baking dish. Add about a cup of marinara to the top to lightly coat, and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. Dress with extra marinara, as desired.