Pesto and Marinara Eggplant Bake

Tender eggplant, savory pesto, homemade marinara and cheezy tofu ricotta come together to make an incredible dish!  Serve with a warm crusty baguette and fresh green salad.  And don’t forget the red wine!  If you want to go the quick and easy route, just use prepared pesto and pasta sauce, and skip down to the tofu ricotta part of the recipe.

Marinara

  • 6 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 sweet red pepper, choped
  • 4-6 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large can of whole tomatoes (or 1 qt.)
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (1 tsp. dried)
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh oregano (1 1/2 tsp. dried)
  • 1 tsp. fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • crushed red pepper and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat about 3 Tablespoons of water in a large pot.  When bubbly, add onions and garlic.  Stir until fragrant.
  2. Add peppers and mushrooms. Cook until moisture from mushrooms is released and evaporates.
  3. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 min – 1 hour.
  4. Turn off heat and if you desire a smoother sauce, blend with an immersion blender to reach desired consistency. You could also just transfer some of the sauce to a blender and puree it there, if you prefer.

Pesto

  • 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3- 1/2 cup raw slivered almonds (or walnuts)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in the blender or food processor and blend or pulse until it reaches your desired consistency.
  2. Store in an air-tight container.  You will have a lot left over. 🙂

Tofu Ricotta

  • 1 large package firm tofu, drained
  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 shakes of garlic powder
  • drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a medium size bowl, mash drained tofu until roughly the consistency of ricotta cheese.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine.

Tofu Bake Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Slice 1 large eggplant into 1/2 inch round slices.
  3. Spoon just enough marinara in to cover the bottom of the pan
  4. Lay eggplant in a single layer (or double up if necessary) on top of the sauce.
  5. Top eggplant with ricotta mixture, then the rest of the sauce.
  6. Drop spoonfuls of pesto onto the top and gently spread them out a bit with the back of a spoon.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

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