Baked Vegan Ricotta and Kale Stuffed Baby Eggplant with Thyme Pangritata
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.
Recipe by Fare Isle at https://fareisle.com/stuffed-baby-eggplant/