1/8 tsp plus 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper, divided
1/2 cup fine whole-wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (1 oz)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
Dash ground cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 9-oz pkg bite-size whole-wheat cheese ravioli
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
Pinch dried oregano
Pinch dried thyme
14 oz jarred or boxed unsalted crushed tomatoes (1 3/4 cups)
1/8 tsp each sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano, plus additional sprigs for garnish
Prepare sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat oil on medium. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, pepper flakes and pinch each dried oregano and thyme. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and 1/8 tsp each salt and black pepper. Cover, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce heat to medium-low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and flavors combine, about 30 minutes. Add vinegar and fresh oregano and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside until slightly cooled.
With an immersion blender, purée sauce until smooth. (Alternatively, carefully transfer sauce to a blender. Remove plastic stopper from lid and cover loosely with a kitchen towel to allow steam to escape; purée.) Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with oregano sprigs. Cover to keep warm.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. In a shallow bowl, combine egg whites and 1/8 tsp each salt and 1/8 tsp black pepper. In a separate shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs, remaining 1/8 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper, Parmigiano-Reggiano, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp thyme and cayenne.
Dip 1 ravioli into egg mixture, turning to coat. Dip into bread crumb mixture, turning to coat and shaking off excess; transfer to baking sheet. Repeat with remaining ravioli, adding to sheet in a single layer. Bake, turning once, until lightly browned, 12 to 16 minutes. Divide among serving plates and serve with sauce.
Black-eyed peas are a staple in the South and, when coupled with whole grains (think brown rice or corn bread), they become a complete meatless protein. Plus, we call upon low-cal, zero-fat and cholesterol-free egg whites to hold it all together.