Meatless Monday: Roasted Eggplant and Cheese Stuffed Shells

Are you a Project Runway fan? This dinner was a Make It Work situation. Know what I mean? Plan A kind of fizzled, but I was too far into it and had to improvise so I could save the ingredients. Before I started cooking regularly this would have been a disaster. But I have come to think of cooking as a use it or lose it kind of muscle, and the more you use it the easier it is to flex. I panicked for a minute because I had no back-up plan, but then I stopped and looked around and quickly put together a Plan B. Here you go. 

* 2 eggplants, cut lengthwise into thin slices
* salt
* pepper
* 1 jar your favorite marinara sauce
* 1T dried oregano, divided
* 2t fresh basil leaves, chopped and divided
* 15oz part-skim ricotta cheese
* 1C (+ more) grated Parmesan cheese
* 3 eggs
* jumbo shells
* shredded mozzarella (or another cheese of your preference)

Preheat oven to 430F.

Arrange the eggplant slices onto a baking sheet (or two, depending on the size of your baking sheets) lined with foil sprayed lightly with nonstick spray. Spray the tops of the slices of eggplant with a little more of the nonstick spray and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes then remove from the oven and allow to cool enough to touch. Chop into small chunks and set aside. Lower the heat on the oven to 350F.

While the eggplant roasts, boil water and cook the shells to al dente according to package instructions. Drain and allow to cool.

Pour the marinara sauce into a bowl, and add 1/2 a tablespoon of oregano and 2 teaspoons of the chopped basil.

In another bowl, mix together the ricotta, a cup of Parmesan, the eggs, 1/2 a tablespoon of oregano, the rest of the basil, and the roasted eggplant.

Spoon a little bit of the marinara mixture into the bottom of a baking dish. Fill each of the shells with the cheese/eggplant mixture and place into the baking dish. When the baking dish is filled, pour the marinara over the stuffed shells and sprinkle with shredded cheese and then with a little more Parmesan cheese.

Bake 15-20 minutes until the shredded cheese melts and browns and begins to bubble. Serve immediately.

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