Kale, Pumpkin & Tofu Ricotta Roll Ups
Sometimes you just want to feel fancy, and feeling fancy I have found means very different things to different people. Heck, even for me fancy means something totally different from when I was a young lady sans kids. Fancy then meant dressing up, laying on the makeup real thick, and heading out for a night on the town (in heels!!) not knowing what my final destination would be. Now fancy means that I am wearing a shirt on without stains on it and, if I am really lucky, my hair doesn’t look like I have just experienced electrocution.
I have also come to find, especially in Shanghai, eating out at a fancy restaurant for a vegan usually means you will be dining on the finest bread and broccoli the city has to offer. I mean, ambiance is nice and everything, but I will take a hearty meal over white tablecloths any day. Luckily, you can feel like a fancy chef and fancy dining patron all in one day with this recipe. If you’re looking to impress, this is a good way to do it. There are a few things you’ll want to make ahead, but most of the steps are pretty easy, they just take a bit of time. I suggest to make the roasted kale and pumpkin, as well as the tofu ricotta mixture the day before so that on fancy dinner night, it will be a breeze.
The one step that could be a bit more troublesome for you is slicing the zucchini. If you have a mandolin, that should make it easier. I used my vegetable peeler, which wasn’t the easiest or most fun thing to do, but it was 100% worth it for those Insta pics. If your knife skills are on point, you might be able to slice them thin enough that way, but mine are not, so peeler it was.
You can easily double this recipe if you want to freeze one dish for later or if you need to feed a lot of people. I definitely recommend doing so because it does take a bit of time to make, so making 2 will save time later! Also, it’s definitely something you will want to enjoy a lot of, if I do say so ma’self.
1/2 pumpkin, slice into thinnish chunks with the rind sliced off
2 handfuls of kale, washed and de-stemmed, torn into medium pieces
450g extra from tofu, drained well and patted dry (the drier and crumblier the better)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
4 tbs chopped fresh parsley or 3 tbs dried parsley
2 tbs chopped fresh basil or 1 tbs dried basil
2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbs nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
2 medium zucchini or green squash, sliced lengthwise into thin slices (this will be used like sheets of lasagna to roll up the filling, so you need to make sure they are thin enough to be pliable.
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs chopped fresh basil or 1 tbs dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
Additional parsley for garnish (optional)
Vegan parmesan and/or vegan mozzarella (optional-I used some home made coconut and cashew vegan cheese but I am still working on the recipe, hopefully I can finalize and share soon!)
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C
2. Place pumpkin on baking sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Once oven is ready, roast pumpkin for 15 minutes, then take the baking sheet out and turn the slices over. 3. Add kale to baking sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Roast for an additional 10-15 minutes. Pumpkin should be soft and kale should be a bit crispy on the edges. Be careful not to burn the kale.
3. Once the veggies are roasted, place in a medium bowl and mix and mash with a fork. Place in fridge one cool, preferably overnight. You will mix this into the tofu ricotta later.
4. In a medium bowl, crumble tofu with your hands a bit, so larger chunks still remain. Add the garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, basil, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Mix and continue to crumble by hand until mixture resembles seasoned ricotta. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking if desired. The flavors will meld and become stronger as the mixture sits. Cover and place in the fridge, preferably overnight.
5. When you are ready to bake the zucchini rolls, preheat oven to 180 degrees C and prepare a square glass baking dish by lining it with baking paper or drizzling with olive oil. 6. Remove pumpkin and kale mixture and tofu mixture from the refrigerator, and add pumpkin and kale mixture to the bowl with the tofu mixture. Using a wooden spoon, fold in the pumpkin and kale, making sure not to break up the tofu too much as you want it to maintain a but of texture so it still looks like ricotta.
7. Working with one thinly sliced piece of zucchini at a time, add about 1.5 tbs of the tofu ricotta on top of the slice, and spread evenly, leaving 1-2 cm. at the end uncovered. Once that is done, starting with the end that has the mixture on it, carefully roll sliced zucchini and place in baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining zucchini slices and mixture. Set aside.
9. Pace zucchini rolls, seam side down (like photo below) into the baking dish, close to each other so they are packed together nice and snug, but not too tight.
8. In a small bowl, mix together crushed tomatoes, freshly minced garlic, basil, and salt and pepper. Mix well, then pour evenly over prepared zucchini rolls. Cover mixture with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
9. After 20 minutes, remove baking dish from oven and take off the foil, if using, add vegan mozzarella. Put the baking dish back in the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes. The roll ups are done when the top is golden brown. You might see what looks like quite a bit of liquid at the bottom of the pan, but that’s normal. Just the zucchini doin’ its thang.
10. Remove baking dish from oven and plate roll ups. Add vegan parmesan and chopped parsley if using. Enjoy!