I’m Martha, I’m a pasta-addict and it’s been almost three months since my last bite. (“Hi Martha”) I haven’t craved it at all – the taste, maybe – but not the glaggy sick feeling or uncomfortable bloating that follows. There are so many tasty light alternatives and these eggplant/aubergine sheets are no exception, especially when you can still drench them in gooey, melty cheese – guilt free!
The cheese I used is so full of protein and light in calories that it actually turns this monster into a freakishly healthy dinner, but tricks your mind with the taste of indulgence. There are a few elements to this that require a little multi-tasking, but they’re all so simple and easy that you can knock one out in no time… (sound’s familiar wha)
I actually had a bit of the tofu bolognese mixture leftover after – so I made this unbelievable looking/tasting/feeling stuffed mushroom with the leftovers, two days later.
Oh, and with the leftover spinach and cream cheese mixture, I made these savoury hemp protein pancakes with smoked salmon. Three dishes from one ain’t bad, is it?
But anyway, if you like cheesy, tomatoey, creamy, gooey love that’s high in protein, medium fat, very low carb and feck-all calories while transforming into three whole dishes, then read on for the recipe below.
Tofu Bolognese Mince*
- 250g firm tofu
- 1/2 large white onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/3 red pepper
- 1/3 yellow pepper
- 50g chestnut mushrooms
- 1/3 seed grated nutmeg
- 1 tbs garlic powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp oregano
*Do your spices whatever the feck way ya like; I just lob everything in and hope I don’t die
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1\2 a large white onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 300g can of chopped tomatoes
- 250g baby plum tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tbs double concentrated tomato paste
- 40g sundried tomatoes
- Handful of fresh basil leaves
- 1 tbs dried oregano
- 1 tbs fresh parsley
- 125g light cottage cheese
- 100ml unsweetened almond milk
- 1/3 seed grated nutmeg
- 10g feta cheese
- 250g frozen spinach, defrosted in the microwave and drained
- 1 aubergine/eggplant
- 125g light mozzarella cheese
- 10g feta cheese
- 2/3 red pepper, roasted
Serves: 2 -4 (depending how greedy you are)
- Preheat the oven to 180’C.
- Slice up 2/3 red pepper and leave in the oven roasting for 20-40 minutes.
- Slice up your aubergine/eggplant lengthways into about 1/4 inch pieces. The thicker they are, the more bite they’ll have.
- Lay the sliced aubergine on double sided kitchen roll/paper towels. Sprinkle with sea salt to release excess water. Leave for 10 – 15 minutes.
- Chop the onion and set half aside for tofu mince while using other half for sauce.
- Add half the chopped onion to a pot on a medium heat with coconut oil and 3 cloves chopped garlic. Once the aromas start to release, add fresh chopped tomatoes and tomato paste with half a glass of water and stir.
- Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer.
- Add fresh basil leaves, torn, followed by dried oregano, to taste.
- Keep adding 1/2 glasses of water as the sauce reduces/thickens.
- Add sea salt & black pepper, to taste.
- Turn heat low and allow to reduce gradually.
- With the kitchen roll, blot the excess salt from the aubergine/eggplant and place onto a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
- On a pan with medium heat, add coconut oil and the other half of the onion, followed 2 minutes later by the garlic. Chop up the peppers and mushrooms and add them in after 3 minutes.
- While that’s cooking, mash up tofu with the back of a fork in a mixing bowl until a mince-like consistency forms.
- Add garlic powder, grated nutmeg, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, sea salt & black pepper and mix around until the tofu is coated.
- Add tofu mixture to the pan and let flavours infuse as the tofu browns off.
- Defrost the spinach in the microwave. While that’s defrosting, in a mixing bowl, load in your cottage cheese, almond milk, feta cheese and whisk around until a smooth consistency. You can do this in a food processor if you’re a lazy arsehole.
- Grate your nutmeg into the mixture, followed by a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
- Chop up the spinach and add into the mixture. Fold together until smooth.
- Set aside in fridge.
- Remove aubergine/eggplant slices from the oven and set aside for layering.
- Once the sauce is reduced, thick and flavoursome, add to the pan, completely covering (ahem, drenching) the mince mixture.
- Begin by layering a baking dish with a thick layer of the tofu bolognese, followed by the aubergine/eggplant slices, then the cheese and spinach mixture, etc.
- Remove roasted red pepper from the oven and add slices to the top layer with your sliced mozzarella and crumbled feta.
- Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Finish off under the grill for toasted cheese.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and basil leaves.
*Each 1/4 serving:
- Calories 197
- Protein 18.6g
- Fat 12g
- Carbs 3.4