Whilst I may not be a big dairy eater, save for the occasional ice cream when the weather deems it acceptable, I can’t deny that a little part of me gets some serious food envy over melted cheese. There’s just something about the look and smell of it that makes me imagine it would taste like a big, warm hug. It’s no wonder that it features in all the best comfort food dishes: pizza, pasta, burgers, nachos and everyone’s childhood favourite, lasagne. Admittedly, I never tried lasagne growing up but, from the feedback I received by my test subjects, this recipe is a lot like it! With delicious and meaty aubergine, sweet and flavoursome tomato sauce and an utterly scrumptious, dairy free cashew cheese melted up inside, comfort food levels were definitely achieved here.
This is the perfect recipe for those who have food intolerances or are simply looking to get some extra vegetables into their diet easily. It’s pack with antioxidants, fibre and B-vitamins. It’s also lovely, rich and hearty, meaning that if you do have any food restrictions, you still won’t feel deprived of indulgent dishes! So, whether you’re dairy free or just a little curious about alternatives, I’m certain you’re going to love this!
- 2 aubergines
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- 1 handful of baby spinach
For the cashew cheese
- 1/2 cup raw cashews soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1 clove of garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the sauce
- 6 vine tomatoes (450g)
- 2 shallots (diced)
- 1 clove of garlic (minced)
- 1 teaspoon of mixed herbs
- A handful of fresh basil (chopped)
- Pinch of salt
Pre-heat your oven to 180°C.
Begin by slicing your aubergines lengthwise into thin slices around half a centimetre thick each. Place in a bowl and drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over the top. Add some salt and pepper and use your hands to toss until they are all coated evenly. Then, griddle your aubergines for around 3-4 minutes in a pan on medium heat, before transferring to a paper towel to soak up any excess oil. Place to one side.
To make your sauce, bring a saucepan to medium heat on the stove top. Add a drizzle of olive oil, your shallots and garlic and cook until the shallots begin to brown. Then, add your basil, herbs and salt. Reduce to a simmer and cook for aroun 8-10 minutes. In the meantime, finish off your rolls.
To make your cheese, simply place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Then, make your rolls by spreading a thick layer of the cheese across your aubergine. Add a few leaves of spinach and carefully roll the aubergine into scrolls. Place them seam side down and leave until your sauce is ready.
Once your sauce is ready, pour it into a roasting tray. Transfer your aubergine rolls into the tray so that they are immersed in the sauce. Pour any leftover cashew cheese over the top, then place in the oven for 10 minutes until the cheese is slightly golden on top.
Remove from the oven, serve up and enjoy!