Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Vegan Eggplant Timbale - cheesey Italian pasta stuffed in grilled eggplant

This dish is super delicious, and can be very healthy also! It makes a beautiful presentation, however, it does not hold it's shape well once you cut into it. The original recipe is here, on foodnetwork. Courtesy of giada de laurentis.
But my recipe is a tad different.

To make this you will need a spring form pan.


  • 2 medium-sized long eggplants,peeled and  sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • organic olive oil (as needed)
  • sea salt (as needed)
  • ground pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 pound penne pasta,(a little over 1/2 lb). you can use whole wheat, corn or rice pasta. (with rice pasta undercook, or else it will overcook while baking)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 package of you favorite vegetarian sausage, (or tempeh, tofu, white beans or artichoke hearts.)
  • 1 cup frozen organic peas, thawed
  • 2 cups homemade tomato sauce
  • 1 package finely shredded alomond milk mozzarella, or rice milk mozzarella (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 cup  fresh basil leaves, chopped. (I did not have fresh I used about 5 cubes of the frozen dorot basil)
  • garlic powder (as needed)

This recipe is time consuming, so give yourself plenty of time!
  1. coat a pan with olive oil, heat on medium heat.
  2. add diced onions and stir
  3. Bring a seperate pot of water to a boil, once it is boiling, salt it, add oil, and your pasta. cook pene for about 8-9 minutes or just "under al dente" it will cook more while baking. you don't want mushy pasta. Drain pasta, and put in a large bowl.
  4. Once onions are translucent add chopped garlic to pan,cook for additional 2 minutes, stirring occasionally
  5. Remove contents from pan, add more olive oil, and then add your chopped vegetarian sausage, or whatever you are using. Stir occasionally.
  6. while that cooks, shred your vegan cheese and put it in the bowl of cooled pasta. Add the tomato sauce to the bowl, the peas, and the basil. (if you are using frozen make sure to thaw). stir. 
  7. once your sausage (tempeh or vegetable) has browned on all sides, add the onion mixture back to the pan, cook an additional minute, and then remove from heat.
8. preheat your grill.
9.preheat oven to 350.
10. Peel your eggplant,and slice it long ways. You want long pieces, that aren't very thick. Coat in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
11.Grill you eggplant on both sides for about 2-3 minutes each, or until there are grill marks.
12. Grease your springform pan with olive oil
13.stir together your onion/sausage mixture into the bowl of pasta. add a dash of sea salt.
14. Once your eggplants are done grilling, take your springform pan, and starting from the center, place a slice in the center, and pull it up the side, and drape some of it over the side. If you are worried you will have a hole in the very center on the bottom place and ugly misshapen piece of eggplant directly in the middle. (come on we all have ugly pieces on our first try)Working your way around the pan, slightly overlap the next piece onto the piece before it.

15. pack in your pasta mixture, and press down firmly to fit as much as you can.
16.one at a time, take the draped slices of eggplant and fold over the pasta. each slice should overlap the last.
It should look like this.If there is a gap in the center use one of your ugly pieces to place under the folded pieces.
(optional) lightly brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and garlic powder.

17.Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.
Let rest for a few minutes, and then remove sides of pan.

Using a very sharp knife cut into it, following the folds of eggplant, and spoon some onto a plate!

Wah-lah!  Super yumminess!
It is cheesy, hearty and comforting. I don't miss the meat or dairy, do you?

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