Thank you, FarmToFork™ Pasta Sauces, for sponsoring this post!
We’re well into fall now and I’ve been happily eating my way through the cozy comforting foods of this flavorful season. You? Yep, I thought so. That’s why I’m excited to share with you another hearty fall harvest dish for dinner time in partnership with FarmToFork, a new brand of quality jarred pasta sauces. I recently discovered their delicious, thoughtfully crafted red sauces, which pack simple, premium ingredients like sustainably grown tomatoes and fresh garlic, basil and onions in every jar.
While summer may be known as the season for fresh local produce and abundance at the farmers market, I always get v. excited for fall harvest offerings like winter squashes and pumpkins, apples and pears, and hearty winter greens like kale. For this dish I reached for beautiful shiny baby eggplant, which when roasted, delivers a delicious, savory umami flavor. Eggplant pairs naturally with tomato-based sauces, and the robust flavor combination of sweet caramelized onions, roasted garlic, fresh basil and spices in the FarmToFork Caramelized Onion & Roasted Garlic Sauce really make this dish sing. Roasted baby eggplants are stuffed with a mixture of homemade tofu ricotta and local lancinato kale, then topped with FarmToFork sauce and finished with a crispy herb prangitata. I wanted to show off the hearty flavors of fall, while still keeping it relatively simple with the help of a premium, high-quality jarred pasta sauce. This dish has the comforting taste of lasagna crossed with eggplant parm. Do I have your attention yet? Serve it with a slice of crusty bread to sop up all of that delicious sauce.
I’m so happy to be partnering with a brand like FarmToFork, who understands the value of connecting communities to where their food comes from. In fact, they source all of their tomatoes from two multi-generational family farms in California: Casaca Vineyards and Worth Farms. As a consumer who religiously reads labels and tries to make sustainable shopping choices, I think it’s wonderful that FarmToFork works with farmers who are committed to good ingredients, good growing practices and good impact on their local communities.
Pick up a jar of any of FarmToFork’s four delicious varieties on your next trip to the grocery store. Head over to FarmToFork to discover more fall harvest recipe inspiration and to find their sauces at a store near you.
Baked Vegan Ricotta and Kale Stuffed Baby Eggplant with Thyme Pangritata
Yield 4 servings
- 2 baby eggplants
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 8 oz. pressed extra-firm tofu
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup non-dairy milk, such as soy or coconut
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
- 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 small bunch of lancinato kale
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1/8 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 23.5-oz. jar FarmToFork Caramelized Onion & Roasted Garlic Sauce
- Start by roasting the eggplants. Preheat oven to 450˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Rinse eggplants and cut them in half vertically so you have 4 pieces total. Place each half cut-side up on baking sheet and liberally brush the olive oil onto the cut sides. The olive oil will soak into the eggplant, keep brushing on the oil until it is used up. Then, sprinkle salt and pepper over each piece.
- Bake at 450˚F for 30 minutes until eggplant are deep brown in color and soft through the middle.
- While the eggplants are baking, prepare the filling and pangritata. For the filling, add everything EXCEPT: 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and kale, to a food processor and blitz until smooth and creamy, with a texture similar to ricotta cheese. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste if needed. Transfer mixture to a bowl and set aside.
- Wash and dry kale and remove the tough center vein with a knife. Stack kale leaves on top of each other and roll them up into a tight log. Use a sharp knife to cut kale into ribbons by making 1/4”-thick cuts down the length of the rolled-up kale. (Similar to cutting leafy herbs into a chiffonade.)
- Heat a skillet on medium heat, or to reduce the amount of pans used, heat up a brasier, which you will later use to bake the finished dish. Add the saved 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan, then sauté kale for about 5 minutes. Season kale while it is cooking with the preserved 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
- Fold sautéed kale into the tofu ricotta mixture.
- To make the pangritata, wipe the skillet or braiser clean with a wadded-up paper towel, then add all of the ingredients to the pan. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring regularly until breadcrumbs are toasted and nutty, about 3-5 minutes.
- To assemble the final dish, again wipe out the brasier (if using one) or get a deep-sided baking dish ready. Add 2 cups of FarmToFork Caramelized Onion & Roasted Garlic Sauce and spread it out to cover the bottom of the dish. Place roasted eggplants on top of sauce. Use the back of a spoon to press down the center of the eggplants and create wells for the filling to sit in.
- Spoon the filling into each eggplant half, dividing it evenly between the 4 pieces. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the sauce over the filling on each piece of eggplant. Then, top all with the pangritata.
- Reduce oven temp to 425˚F and bake for 15-20 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and filling is hot and cooked through. To test doneness stick a butter knife into the center of one — if the knife is hot to the touch when you pull it out, it’s ready.
- Serve hot from the oven. Option to pair it with slices of crusty bread and a fresh green salad.
- To save time look for tofu that is sold already pressed, not the kind sitting water that requires you to press yourself.
- Swap panko for gluten-free breadcrumbs to make dish gluten-free friendly.
- Try this recipe with roasted portobello mushrooms instead of eggplant for another dinner option.
- Swap kale with spinach or other hearty greens like chard or collards.
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This post was in collaboration with and sponsored by FarmToFork. All content and opinions expressed here are my own. Read more about my sponsored post and affiliate policy here.