Whether you are stuck inside preparing for a summer hurricane or want to make a dish for a summer dinner party, REAL recommends our Baked Eggplant with Vegan Cheese and Tomato Sauce.
1 large red onion
1 bottle of red or white wine or water (750ml or about 3 cups)
3 garlic cloves
1 bunch parsley
1 stalk rosemary (just leaves)
4 cans whole organic tomatoes, salt-free
2 cans organic tomato paste
pepper to taste (no salt is necessary)
1 package of tofu
1 pound of REAL’s vegan jack
Wash eggplant (be sure to remove the sticker(s) that some produce departments put on their vegetables and fruits). Lay the eggplant on its side and slice the eggplant on the bias in 1/4 inch thick circles, keep the vine top for another use. Lay the slices on a clean kitchen towel and lightly salt on both sides, lay another kitchen towel on top and repeat until all of the slices are used and lightly salted. Set the eggplant slices wrapped in clean kitchen towels to one side for approximately 2 hours (longer if you’ve more time; this sweats the eggplant which removes the bitterness. If you don’t mind the bitter taste, skip this step). Rinse the salt off of the eggplant and pat dry with a clean salt-free kitchen towel. Follow the instructions for grilled vegetables or lightly brush the eggplant slices with olive oil, lay on a sheet pan, and place under a broiler for approximately 10 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown. Let the slices cool before handling.
Chop the onion, garlic, parsley, rosemary. Heat 1 cup of wine (or water) in a large sauce pan until it begins to simmer, add the onions, garlic, parsley, rosemary, and pepper. Sauté until tender. The wine will be reduced by about 75%. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and 2 cups of wine or water. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat. Simmer with the lid on the pot for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Remove tofu from the package and rinse under cold water. Pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Crumble the tofu in a mixing bowl, add 2 cups of the tomato sauce, lightly mix and let cool.
Grate the vegan jack cheese.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Take an oblong baking dish. Ladle 1/2 to 3/4 cup tomato sauce on to the bottom of the dish and evenly spread out the sauce. Stack the eggplant and slice it in half. Take the half slices and make an even layer at the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle the top of the eggplant with about a 1/2 cup of the shredded vegan jack. Take about a half cup of the tofu/sauce mixture and randomly drop full teaspoons on top of the eggplant. Ladle another half cup of sauce on top of the tofu, this helps spread the tofu evenly over the eggplant and cheese. Repeat the layering process until all of the eggplant slices are used. Add the remaining cheese and tofu sauce mixture to the top and a ladle of sauce. Bake in the hot oven for 30 minutes or until it is bubbly.
Remove the dish from the oven and let set approximately 10 minutes before slicing into large squares and serving. Serves 4 to 6 depending on the size of your squares.