Here’s a protein-rich meal you’re going to love and want to make over and over. It’s great for a cool fall evening, because your house will warm up while you’re cooking the tomato sauce. We love its hearty, robust flavor. A little bit goes a long way. Note: the dish does take at least a couple of hours to make, so plan accordingly. Most of that time will be spent simmering the sauce, so preparation isn’t as labor-intensive as you might think.
3 cups tomato sauce (or 3 small, 8-ounce cans)
1 roma tomato, chopped
1 cup vegan, gluten-free crumbles (please check the label and make sure no soy sauce is added! We used Big Mountain’s Cauli-Crumbles, our current favorite)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 medium-sized eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1/2 tube of fresh polenta, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
vegan cheese for melted topping (we recommend Chao)
grated vegan parmesan (optional)
Combine the sauce ingredients in either a large pan or a crock pot. Cover and simmer on a low heat setting until the ingredients blend together. If you use a pan and your stovetop, this process will take at least an hour. If you’re utilizing a crock pot, it will take about two hours, but your sauce will achieve a more robust flavor. Stir occasionally, and taste the sauce once in a while. Add more spices if necessary.
Pour about 1/3 of the tomato sauce into a square baking pan. Arrange the eggplant rounds on top of the sauce. Pour in another 1/3 of the sauce, and spread the polenta rounds on top of it. Pour in the last bit of sauce, and top off your creation with thin slices of vegan cheese. Add a sprinkle of oregano for extra color and flavor.
Bake in oven at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with vegan parmesan, and set aside to cool. Your dish will be extremely hot, so give it at least 10 minutes before digging in!
Serves about four hungry guests. This creation pairs well with a side salad and/or a loaf of gluten-free garlic bread. Maybe a glass of red wine, if you’re into that sort of thing. You can store leftovers in your refrigerator for up to three days. We’ve never tried to freeze this dish, but we imagine it is possible. You’ll probably want to devour every morsel, anyway! Yum!
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