VEGAN BAKED EGGPLANT WITH CASHEW RICOTTA

03,September,2021

VEGAN BAKED EGGPLANT WITH CASHEW RICOTTA

VEGAN BAKED EGGPLANT WITH CASHEW RICOTTA
A twist on a classic Italian dish 'eggplant involtini' that is so delicious, no one will believe that it is dairy and gluten free!
(vegan, df, gf)
Serves 6 to 8
 
2 EGGPLANTS, sliced lengthways - 1 cm thick
OLIVE OIL for frying
SALT and freshly GROUND BLACK PEPPER
1 tbsp PINENUTS, toasted
¼ cup (10g) FRESH BASIL and FRESH ITALIAN PARSLEY, roughly chopped
 
TOMATO SAUCE
2 tbsp OLIVE OIL
1 ONION, peeled, diced
4 cloves GARLIC, peeled, finely chopped
2 x 400g cans DICED TOMATOES
½ cup (125ml) WATER
1 tbsp BALSAMIC VINEGAR
½ tbsp soft BROWN SUGAR
1 tsp SALT
 
CASHEW RICOTTA
1 cup (140g) CASHEW NUTS, toasted  
2 tbsp OLIVE OIL
2 cloves GARLIC, peeled, crushed and finely chopped
1 packet SILKEN TOFU, well drained and dried using paper towels
1 tsp DRIED OREGANO
1½ tsp SALT
ZEST of 1 LEMON + 2 tbsp FRESH LEMON JUICE
½ cup (20g) FRESH BASIL and FRESH ITALIAN PARSLEY, finely chopped
2 tbsp PINENUTS, toasted
 
Preheat oven to 180°C.
 
To prepare the eggplant: place a large frying pan over a high heat and add a generous splash of olive oil. Cook a few slices of eggplant at a time, fry for a minute or so on each side, until nicely browned, repeat the process (adding more oil as needed) until all the slices are cooked. Drain the eggplant on paper towels and lightly season with salt and pepper.
 
To prepare the tomato sauce: place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. When hot add the onion and garlic, cook for a few minutes. Add the tomato, water, balsamic, brown sugar and salt. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then. Remove from the heat and pour into a high-sided baking dish.
 
To prepare the cashew ricotta: using a food processor, blend the cashew nuts into fine crumbs. Add the olive oil, garlic, tofu, oregano, salt, lemon zest and juice. Blend for a few minutes until well combined. Transfer into a bowl and stir through the fresh herbs and pinenuts.
 
To prepare the eggplant involtini: place a couple of heaped tablespoons of the cashew ricotta mix onto each slice of eggplant and roll it up. Place the eggplant rolls in the tomato sauce. Scatter over the pinenuts and place in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and parsley just before serving.