Why “cheater” you ask, well, because it doesn’t have any noodles and I used jarred pasta sauce! This can easily be made on a weeknight as long as you have your components made ahead of time, so its super easy! Here’s what I did: I took one japanese eggplant and one medium zucchini and sliced the lengthwise – these are your “noodles”. I made the cashew ricotta from Veganomicon! I used 1/2 an onion, 4 cloves of garlic ( I like garlic you can use less), 1/2 of a red bellpepper, and about 6 shitake mushrooms – all sliced and sauteed in a little olive oil. I also used some Trader Joe’s Organic Marinara Sauce – use whatever kind you like. The topping is stale whole wheat bread ground up in a food processor with some oregano, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder – I used about a cup of these breadcrumbs and added 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast!
To assemble take a baking dish and lightly coat the bottom with olive oil. Place a layer of eggplant as your base. The next layer is the ricotta, then the rest of the eggplant. Add some sauce to the top of the eggplant and then add the sauteed veggies. A layer of the zucchini is next and then some more of the ricotta. The last layer is the rest of the zucchini, some sauce, and then the bread crumb mixture. Cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 45 minutes. Uncover (test with a knife to ensure all your layers are cooked), raise the temp to 400 degrees and bake for about another 15 minutes until the top is golden. Let cool before slicing or it might fall apart! This is what it looked like:
It was sooo tasty! I totally did not miss the noodles or the cheese! The cashew tofu ricotta bakes up wonderfully and all of these flavors worked very well together.
I will definitely be making this again!