Saturday, August 29, 2009

Crispy Baked Eggplant Filled with Tofu Ricotta and Pine Nuts

This dish is a vegan version of a restaurant dish from Sue and John's wedding anniversary this year when we all went out for dinner. The original dish was made with ricotta and was shallow fried. I have had this on my list to make healthy for about six months (sorry for the delay guys). The tofu ricotta worked extremely well as filling for the eggplant. Tofu firms as is cooks so the texture was perfect in between the eggplant slices. Raw cashews added richness to the filling. Pine nuts were included because they were in the original dish.

Not surprisingly this dish was the favorite this evening of my omnivore parents, who both had seconds, and took the leftovers home. If you are looking for a decadent dish for a party with both vegans and omnivores I suggest this one. If you want to take this over top you can drizzle it with basil or chive oil. This would also be wonderful served on a bed of homemade tomato sauce.

Crispy Baked Eggplant Filled with Tofu Ricotta and Pine Nuts
Serves 8


2 globe eggplants, sliced ¼ - ½ inch thick
14 ounces of firm water packed tofu, thoroughly drained
¼ cup of raw cashews
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
1 ½ teaspoons of kosher salt
½ teaspoon of garlic powder
½ teaspoon of oregano, dried
¼ cup of pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons of almond milk
1 ½ cups of whole wheat panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil


Place the eggplant slices of a half sheet pan lined with paper towel. Place paper towels between the layers of eggplant slices (I had two layers). Top the pan with another pan and weigh it down lightly (I used a couple of empty Pyrex containers. You want the eggplant to give off its excess liquid so the final dish won’t be soggy. I allowed mine to sit undisturbed for about an hour.

Squeeze the tofu dry as you can get it and place in a colander while you process the cashews.

Put the raw cashews in your food processor and process until the nuts are finely ground. Add the tofu, garlic, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and oregano. Process until everything is thoroughly fine and smooth. Stir the pine nuts into the mixture by hand (you want them to remain whole for texture) and move the mixture to the refrigerator until you are ready to make the eggplant sandwiches.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheet pans with parchment.

I find it easiest to line up the eggplant (top and bottom) first. Spread the tofu onto half the eggplant sandwiches and top with the matching eggplant slice.

Dust each sandwich with whole-wheat flour to make the breading stick. Dip each sandwich into almond milk and then into the panko breadcrumbs. I like to allow the sandwiches to dry out a little (10 minutes) before I proceed with the baking. I think this helps the coating to stay on the sandwiches.

Lightly coat each eggplant sandwich with a little drizzle of olive oil. I tried spraying it with oil but it causes some of the breading to come off. I used a total of 1 tablespoon of oil for all the eggplant sandwiches. Bake the sandwiches for 15 minutes and check to see if they are ready to be flipped. The top will be more brown than the bottom. You may need to add a little oil if the sandwiches are dry (mine didn’t need it). Cook an additional 15 minutes on the second side.

Serve these hot.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 201.12
Calories From Fat (40%) - 79.84

Total Fat - 9.44g
Saturated Fat - 0.98g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 541mg
Potassium - 500.69mg
Total Carbohydrates - 21.83g
Fiber - 6.11g
Sugar - 3.7g
Protein - 10.96g


My omnivore parents devoured this dish. Both of them told me this was their favorite dish tonight. I thought it was good, but honestly felt it was a little too rich for me. Adding an acid to this may have made it a little better for me. I think next time I will serve this on a bed of tomato sauce.


  1. it sounds really good to me.especially since i have been on an eggplant binge lately

  2. Michelle,

    The recipe has a few steps but they are all easy. I think your hubby will probably like this. You should give it a try. Leftovers will reheat best in the oven.

    I am thinking of a Middle Eastern eggplant dish tomorrow (The Iman Fainted). We will see if I can convince my husband that eggplant would be good two days in a row (he doesn't love it like we do).



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