Monday, December 9, 2013

Italian Chopped Veggie Bake Recipe

We knew that we'd be taking it easy around the house yesterday as I recovered from my race, so we planned on a casserole. What started as an idea for veggie lasagna turned into a more rustic chopped veggie bake that is one of the best meals we've made in a long time. A special thanks to Carly for creating this amazing dish and for letting me share!

Sorry for the sub-par photos, I think I got too much sweat on my phone camera!

Italian Chopped Veggie Bake
serves 6 with side dishes, or 4 as a main course

Tofu ricotta:
1 block extra firm tofu, sprouted if possible
¼ C nutritional yeast
1/8 C almond milk, plain & unsweetened
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
Italian blend spices (salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, oregano, basil), to taste

Veggie blend
1 eggplant, peeled & cubed
1 cup cauliflower florets (can use more, that’s all we had)
3 medium zucchini, chopped
1 C carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 large can whole tomatoes, chopped (reserve juice!)
12 large pitted black olives, chopped
1 cup chopped spinach
Italian blend spices (salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, oregano, basil, crushed red pepper), to taste

Reserved tomato juice
1 C red wine (optional, if you don’t cook with alcohol just add in more crushed tomatoes/tomato sauce)

¼ C vegan parmesan cheese, optional

Preheat your oven to 400 and roast the eggplant cubes and cauliflower florets until just fork tender. Olive oil optional.

While this is cooking, you can make your tofu ricotta. We pressed our tofu for about an hour before this step, but I think it comes out fine either way. Preheat a frying pan on low-medium heat. Crumble the tofu by hand into the skillet. Add the nutritional yeast, spices, and lemon juice. Saute for a few minutes to cook out some of the water. Add the almond milk and cook until it’s reduced into the blend.

Combine the reserved tomato sauce and wine in a small sauce pan and cook until it’s reduced by 1/3 or so. We eyeball everything!

Combine the rest of the veggie mixture in a bowl with the roasted eggplant and cauliflower. Season to taste with Italian seasonings.

To make the casserole:
Put a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a 13x9 pan. Add half of the veggie mixture, then a layer of 2/3 of the ricotta. Cover with the rest of the sauce. Add another layer of veggies, then the rest of the ricotta.

Sprinkle the top generously with vegan parm.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes covered (30 if you refrigerated the dish). Take off the cover and cook 10 more minutes or until it’s bubbling.

Carly has a tropical vacation planned for Christmas and is tracking her calories now to get in bikini shape. I don't normally generate nutritional information for my recipes, but I have it for this one. Here it is if you're curious!

For 1/6th:

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