Rotini with Roasted Eggplant, Black Olives and Tofu Ricotta

Tasty and nutritious tofu "ricotta" can be made in 10 minutes or less.

Our pasta served with a side of pumpkin soup.

First things first, let's make the "ricotta". The recipe is a slightly altered one from Isa Moskowitz's ultimate reference cookbook Veganomicon: begin by patting dry 1 block of extra-firm tofu. In a large bowl, crumble the tofu with your fingers. Add 2 t. lemon juice, 1/2 t. garlic powder, 1/4 t. salt, a dash of white pepper and a large dash of dried basil. Rub the tofu between your fingertips until it reaches the consistency of ricotta cheese. This takes about 3 full minutes so be patient. Add 2 t. olive oil and 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes. Stir with a wooden spoon until everything is combined and refrigerate until ready to use.

Slice 1 large Italian eggplant into round slices about 1/2" thick. Place on a well-oiled baking sheet (1 huge one or two smaller) and brush both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with onion powder, garlic powder and dried thyme. Bake at 400 degrees F. for around 25 minutes, flipping the eggplant halfway through the cooking time. The eggplant is done when it's very soft and almost falling apart.

Remove eggplant from oven and season with salt and red chili flakes. Cook 1 box of whole wheat rotini in boiling salted water until just al dente. Drain in a colander and return the pasta cooking pot to the stove. Pour in the pot 1 jar of bottled marinara sauce and heat over the lowest possible flame. Dump in the drained pasta, stir to coat with the sauce and heat through for 2 minutes. Now, stir in the roasted eggplant along with a handful of minced parsley and 1/2 cup pitted and chopped black olives.

Serve the pasta hot or warm topped with a dollop of the tofu ricotta.


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