Monday, March 04, 2013

Spaghetti And Tofu Stuffed Eggplant - Vegan And Gluten Free

Spaghetti makes a fun stuffing for fiber packed eggplants!

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Just for Fun!
I've been wanting to do something with eggplant lately so I decided to stuff them. Most stuffed eggplant recipes use chopped meat or breadcrumbs. I thought, "wouldn't it be fun to stuff them with spaghetti"?

This purple beauty is packed with fiber and is an excellent source of manganese, potassium, folate and a host of other vitamins and minerals. They do belong to the nightshade family of vegetables so some people avoid them. Being Italian, it's impossible for me to avoid nightshade vegetables which include tomatoes and peppers - how could I possibly cook without these wonderful vegetables? But some people are sensitive to the alkaloid solanine, contained in nightshades, which can aggravate joint pain in a small number of people.

Although these eggplants are organic, you can buy conventional with safety as eggplants are part of the "Clean 15" and are grown with very little pesticides.

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Spaghetti and Tofu Stuffed Eggplant
Vegan, Gluten Free (when made with gluten free spaghetti)
Requires a large pot, a 3 quart saucepan and a 9"x13" baking dish
[makes 4 servings]

2 eggplants (1 pound each)
4 ounces whole wheat or gluten free spaghetti
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped,
8 ounces firm, organic, non GMO tofu
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
2 tablespoons vegetarian nutritional yeast
1/2 cup diaya mozzarella style shreds
1 cup prepared marinara tomato sauce 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the 9"x13" baking dish and set aside.

Prepare the eggplant. With a sharp knife, score the eggplant 1/2 inch from the edge. Be careful not to penetrate the bottom of the eggplant.
With a spoon, scoop out the pulp leaving enough eggplant to provide structure.
Save 4 cups of pulp, discarding any with too many seeds.
Place hollowed out eggplant, hollow side down, in a large pot on a steamer basket. Cover and steam briefly until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Don't cook too long or they will lose their shape and be difficult to stuff. Carefully remove the eggplant shells and drain on a paper towel.

Score eggplant and scoop out pulp
Leave enough eggplant to provide structure
Cover and steam briefly 

Break the spaghetti in half. Using the smaller, 3 quart saucepan, prepare the spaghetti according to manufactures instructions. Cook "al dente".
Rinse and set aside.

Use your favorite spaghetti.
For gluten free, use brown rice or quinoa spaghetti.

Chop the eggplant pulp into 1/2 inch cubes and place in the 3 quart saucepan with a half cup of water, black pepper, dried basil and salt. Bring to a boil on high heat. Lower the heat, cover and simmer until eggplant softens, about 5 minutes. Remove the cover and cook until most of the moisture has evaporated.

Cook eggplant pulp until soft and dry.

Heat the olive oil in the large pot. Add the onions and cook until they soften, 5 minutes. 
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, another minute.

Crumble the tofu and add to the onions. Cook several minutes, stirring constantly.  

Turn off the heat and stir in the ground flax and nutritional yeast until well combined. 

Add spaghetti and most of the mozzarella shreds, reserving 1 or 2 tablespoons for topping. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.

Mix all stuffing ingredients.

Place the eggplant shells in the baking dish and stuff each with 1/4th of the mixture.

Cover with marinara and sprinkle with the remaining daiya mozzarella shreds. 

Cover with foil making sure the foil does not touch the eggplant.
Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 5 minutes.

Stuff and bake.

Remove from the oven and serve. Each eggplant half is one serving.

A single serving provides 15 grams of fiber!

Per serving (made with whole wheat pasta): 326 calories, 11 g of total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 568 mg omega-3 fatty acid*, 1,677 mg omega-6 fatty acid*, 0 mg cholesterol, 15 g protein, 49 g carbohydrates, 15 g dietary fiber and 624 mg sodium. 

Per serving (made with gluten free brown rice pasta): 336 calories, 12 g of total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 561 mg omega-3 fatty acid*, 1526 g omega-6 fatty acid*, 0 mg cholesterol, 13 g protein, 49 g carbohydrates, 13 g dietary fiber and 629 mg sodium.

* This does not include any contribution for omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids from daiya mozzarella shreds, nutritional yeast or the gluten free pasta since that information was not available from the manufacturer. 

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