This is a fun dish to make so invite your favorite cooking buddies over to whip up a batch. It’s great for those times you are craving Italian food but don’t want to eat all that wheaty pasta. I think of this dish as the Mediterranean version of enchiladas. The thinly sliced eggplant makes a smokey wrapper with the perfect consistency to snuggle the protein rich filling. The sauce on top can be as spicy or mild as you like.
- 1 Large Eggplant
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 cup onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 14.5 oz. can tomatoes, whole and peeled (undrained)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 14 oz. Tofu, water packed firm
- 1/3 cup basil, chopped
- 1/8 cup parsley, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper – to taste
Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 12 slices (1/8 to 1/4 inch thick). You can peel the eggplant but it is not necessary and the skin actually helps hold the rolls together. Discard the end slices that are mostly skin. It’s fine if some slices break apart, you can piece them together later for the rolls. Salt each slice lightly and place in a colander to drain and “sweat” while you cook the sauce. This will drain some of the mositure in the eggplant so that it gets soft when you bake it.
While the eggplant sweats, prepare the sauce. In a 2-quart saucepan heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and 2 cloves of the garlic and saute until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, with liquid, and break them up with the back of a spoon, or a potato masher. Stir in the tomato paste and 1/4-teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the sauce is simmering, preheat the oven to 375º F and prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, combine together the tofu, basil, parsley, 3 cloves garlic, salt and pepper. Use your hands or the portato masher to mix well.
Rinse the salt off each slice of eggplant and pat dry with a paper towel. Brush each side of the eggplant slices generously with olive oil and place on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Broil each side for 5 minutes (there is no need to add more oil when you flip the eggplant slieces). Remove eggplant from the oven and let cool.
To make the rolls, start by lining the bottom of a 9-inch square-baking dish with a layer of the sauce. Lay out a slice of broiled eggplant and place 3 tablespoons of the tofu filling on the thick end of the eggplant slice. Roll the slice up to completely encase the filling and place, seam side down, into the baking dish. Repeat until all the eggplant slices are used. You can piece together torn slices to make the rolls. When the baking dish is filled, top the rolls with the remaining sauce. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes at 375º F, or until tofu is heated through.