FOR THE EGGPLANT: Sprinkle eggplant rounds with sea salt and place in a colander over the sink to let drain. After 10 minutes rinse lightly and then pat dry. Slice into quarters, place on a cookie sheet and toss in olive oil and sea salt. Broil for 5-10 minutes or until slightly browned and softened, tossing once or twice to ensure even roasting. Set aside.
Next, bring a pot of water to a boil and add shells and a pinch of sea salt. Stir once and cook according to package instructions. Also, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).
While the shells are cooking, add tofu to a food processor and pulse a couple times to break it up. Then add pesto, a healthy pinch of sea salt, dairy-free mozzarella shreds and mix until just combined. Taste a little and see if you need more salt or pesto. Then stir in roasted eggplant.
Once the shells are done, drain and let cool slightly. Pour 1/2 cup red sauce in the bottom of a 10-inch cast iron or 8×8 pan (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size), then stuff shells with generous spoonfuls of filling.
Arrange shells split side up in the pan and then top with remaining tomato sauce – they should be covered but not drowning. Bake for 35 minutes or until warm and bubbly. Serve immediately. These go great with Caesar salad, steamed broccoli and/or garlic bread.
*If you’re not a fan of dairy-free “cheese,” simply leave it out and sub it with more eggplant or tofu. *If not vegan, you can add an egg for extra binding while breaking down the tofu in food processor. This is not necessary though. *Nutrition information is a rough estimate.