This meatless entree has it all

Published Nov. 19, 1998|Updated Sept. 14, 2005

(ran SP edition)

Some of the most nutritious meals don't contain meat. For example, this recipe for Tortellini with Roasted Eggplant and Mushrooms is a meatless entree that is low in fat and calories, contains an appropriate amount of protein and carbohydrates and tastes scrumptious. Just 21 percent of calories in each serving come from fat.

Tortellini with Roasted Eggplant and Mushrooms can be made in three easy steps. The first step is to roast the eggplant and mushrooms over a barbecue grill. This cooks the vegetables without adding any oil or fat. You may also roast them whole until soft in a 350-degree oven.

The second step combines the roasted vegetables with a simple sauce of canned crushed tomatoes and sauted onions and garlic, and cooked cheese tortellini.

The third step is to bake the mixture in an oven for a few minutes to blend the flavors.

The dish can be ready to eat in about 30 minutes, and, like many Italian-flavored foods, it tastes great reheated the next day.

Tortellini with Roasted Eggplant and Mushrooms

1 8-ounce box dry spinach tortellini with cheese filling

1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound)

2 small portobello mushroom caps (4-6 ounces)

Olive oil cooking spray

{ tablespoon olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

2 cloves garlic, crushed through a press

1 28-ounce can seasoned crushed tomatoes with Italian herbs

{ teaspoon dried basil, crushed

\ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Cook the tortellini according to package directions without adding any oil or butter. Drain.

While the tortellini is cooking, trim the stem off the eggplant. Split the eggplant in half lengthwise and cook, flesh side down, over a barbecue grill until the skin is wrinkled and the meat is soft, 15-20 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the grill and cook until they are soft, 6-7 minutes. Allow the eggplant to cool slightly, then, using a small knife, peel and discard the skin. Cut eggplant into {-inch cubes. Dice the mushrooms and set aside.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 3-quart baking dish or casserole with olive oil cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute about 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Stir in the crushed tomatoes. basil and salt and reduce heat to low. Simmer about 4 minutes, then stir in the eggplant and mushrooms. Cook about 5 minutes longer. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and top with parmesan cheese. Bake 15 minutes.

Makes 8 servings. Nutritional information per serving: 191 calories, 4.5 gm fat, 21 percent of calories from fat, 8 gm protein, 31 gm carbohydrate, 2.7 gm dietary fiber, 3.8 mg cholesterol, 470 mg sodium.