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Melanzane

 What a delicious recipe to make when you have eggplants lying around. This version is gluten-free and is pretty simple to make. You can also sub out some of the cheese I used and replace it with cashew nut cheese for a vegan version.

I love using lots of basil as it amps up the flavor and provides it with polyphenols which increase our anti-oxidant pathways in our body.

The tinned tomato mix is a great option and we all have it lying around during these times of limited visits to the shops.

I also used some of my homemade basil pesto which I made last week and kept in the fridge. This too, was a great way of avoiding any wastage as I could see the basil wouldn’t last much longer in my fridge, so making a quick pesto was a good way to preserve it. This pesto is optional but does make it super yum. You can use any greens to make pesto, this way whatever is in your fridge can be used – even a kale pesto.

Ingredients

 2 eggplants
1½ tins tomato, onion and herb mix
60g mozzarella cheese
30g parmesan cheese
1 tub ricotta cheese (250g)
1 box basil (30g)
4 teaspoons tomato paste
1½ teaspoons honey
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons basil & sunflower seed pesto (optional)
 Salt
Pepper

Pesto (optional)

1 box basil (30g)
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
½ clove garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice, ½ lemon
¼ cup parmesan cheese
¼ – 1/3 cup olive oil

*blend all ingredients together adding olive oil, according to how thick you want the pesto

 

Method

1 Heat the oven to 180oC.
2 Slice the eggplant into thin roundels and place them on a board. Sprinkle a touch of salt on them and let them sit for 10 minutes to allow the moisture to extract.
3 In a small saucepan on a medium heated stovetop, empty the tinned tomato, onion and herb mix and add the honey and tomato paste. Mix until combined and remove from the heat.

4 place the eggplant Roundels on a non stick pan for 2-3 minutes on each side, just to soften them slightly- this will prevent them from coming our raw in the finished products
5 In a big rectangular oven-proof dish, place 1-layer of eggplant roundels so that they lie flat.
6 Using an egg wash brush, lightly brush some olive oil over the eggplants and place a basil leaf or some pesto (or both) onto the eggplant. Sprinkle over some pepper and salt.
7 Thereafter crumble and break the ricotta up, evenly adding approximately one teaspoon on top of each eggplant and basil piece.
8 Spoon over some tomato sauce mixture over each parcel and begin the layering cycle again.
9 Eggplant roundels, brush with oil, basil leaves or pesto, ricotta, tomato mixture and so on and so forth. Do this until you have about 2-4 layers depending on the size of the dish.
10 Grate the mozzarella and parmesan cheese. When you get to the last layer, sprinkle both cheeses evenly over the top and scatter drops of pesto and or fresh basil on the top.
11 Bake uncovered in the oven for 60 minutes on a lower rack so that the top doesn’t burn before it cooks through. Take note that the baking time may differ depending on the number of layers you have (I had a medium size dish with 3-4 layers)

 

Nourish yourself to the sunrise.

Cooked with love,
Sunrise by HM

Nourished yet? Comment on what I should write about next? 

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