Tuscan Eggplant Stuffed Shells

1 medium eggplant
16-20 pasta shells, stuffing size
1 pound extra firm tofu
1/4 cup of capers
1/4 cup finely diced pitted Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh lavender leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
5 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cups tomato pasta sauce

Preheat the oven to 400 . Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise and place the halves cut sides down in a lightly oiled baking dish. Bake until the flesh is soft and the skin is wrinkled, about 20 minutes. When done, remove from the oven and cool.

Meanwhile, bring a large stockpot of water to a boil. Cook the shells until al dente, 6-8 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water. Set aside.

Scoop the eggplant flesh into a large bowl. Crumble the tofu into the bowl then add remaining ingredients except the oil and pasta sauce. Mix well.

Coat a 9x9- inch baking dish with oil. Fill each shell with about 2 tablespoons of eggplant mixture. Arrange the shells, fill sides up, in the baking dish. Pour the sauce over the tops of the shells, allowing some to dribble into the dish. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes. Uncover during the final five minutes.

*The shells can be boiled and stuffed ahead of time and then frozen, needing only to be thawed, sauced and baked.

Makes 4 servings.

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