Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Eggplant Cannelloni with Almond Romesco Sauce (Serves 6) Adapted from Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman

I have been using recipes from Dr. Joel Furhman's Eat to Live plan and cookbooks for the past year. These recipes are predominantly vegan and packed full of nutrients and flavor. Most recently I wanted to make a traditionally based pasta dish without pasta, as funny as that sounds! I wanted to really test how versatile veggies could be. I found Eggplant Cannelloni with Pine Nut romesco Sauce in his latest cookbook. Instead of using traditional cannelloni noodles you use eggplant strips as your pasta. I was reluctant since I am not that skilled at cooking eggplant but once I tried I was pleasantly surprised at how well this dish turned out. The only change I made was to use sliced almonds without their skin instead of pine nuts in the romesco sauce. Also if you prefer you can make it with regular mozzarella instead of Daiya vegan mozzarella. The dish will still be vegetarian, but not vegan. Happy cooking!
Ingredients for Eggplant:
2 large eggplants, peeled and sliced lengthwise 1/2-inch thick
2-3 tablespoons water (olive oil in place also works well)
2 medium red or orange bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 medium onion coarsely chopped 
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery (I omitted this)
4 garlic cloves
8 oz. baby spinach
1/2 to 1 tbsp. sea salt (no salt seasoning can be used as well)
1 cup cooked quinoa, Kamut, barley, spelt, or brown rice (I used barley and loved it)
2 cups no salt added or low-sodium pasta sauce
3 oz. nondairy, mozzarella shredded (Daiya is the best brand out there)

Ingredients for Romesco Sauce:

1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tomato, chopped
1 tsp. ancho chili powder (regular chili powder works as well)
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
2 tbsp. water 
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
2 tbsp. pine nuts (skinless sliced almonds work well too)
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast (you can get this at any health food store)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a nonstick baking pan. Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on the pan. Bake for 20 min. Or until eggplant is flexible enough to roll up.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp. of water or olive oil in a large deep pan, adding the bell pepper, onion, carrots, celery, and garlic sautéing until tender. Add spinach and salt or no salt seasoning, cook until spinach is wilted, add cooked barley or other grain.
  3. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Mix in 2-3 tbsp. of pasta sauce and all the shredded cheese. Spread about 1/4 cup of pasta sauce in a baking pan. Place about 2 tbsp. of the barley mixture in the middle of each eggplant strip and roll up and lay in the pan. Top with the remaining pasta sauce and bake for 20 min. I like to top with a bit more Daiya non-dairy mozzarella before baking. 
  4. To make romesco sauce, sauté onions, garlic, and tomatoes in a little water or white wine until onions are translucent, add chili powder, and sauté an extra min. Place onion mixture in a blender (high-powered if you have it) with the remaining ingredients and purée until smooth. Drizzle eggplant with romesco sauce. Enjoy!

From the Harvest Table

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