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EGGPLANT LASAGNA




A few months ago around the beginning of summer I think, I shared on social media a picture of a freshly made lasagna like this. I made a little survey asking you would like to have the recipe and most of you said yes. Days started to get warm so using the oven was out of question, and that until not long ago. So I left the recipe for the chiller season and now I found was the perfect moment.

Last times I've been to the farmer's market there were loads of aubergines of all kinds and sizes, have you seen the white ones? and those with white an purple colour that look like painted? They're so pretty...




I love using eggplants on Arab, Asian and spicy dishes, there are so many types of various shapes and colors, like the Thai pea aubergine that is super tiny and green. 
On currys, soups and stir-fried elaborations, eggplants are delicious. It soaks a lot of oil so it is preferable cooking it with techniques other than frying like steamed, baked, grilled or microwaved like we will do very quickly this time. 
Lasagna sheets are replaced by eggplant slices on this recipe. A while ago I shared another lasagna recipe with chicory and tempeh that is very yummy as well and that has the same principle.


Eggplant composition is basically water, in more than a 90%. It contains some vitamins like folic acid, minerals such as potassium, and solanine same as potatoes, a component that is toxic when eaten raw, therefore they always need to be properly cooked.
This is actually what also makes aubergines taste bitter. Which can be easily solved by macerating them with salt. Just cut it into slices and sprinkle some salt all over each of them, you can place a strainer underneath so the water excess drains. Then rinse with fresh water to remove the salt and done. 



I've made the tomato sauce in different ways in terms of the tomatoes I used, depending on what I had in hand. Both natural tomatoes or store bought tomato sauce (with no added stuff, just tomato) are ok. The only difference is that you need to bear in mind that if you use whole tomatoes (chose a type is best to cook) you'll need to poach them along with the rest of ingredients of the sauce. In case you use store-bought, you can add it at the end as it is already cooked.

This exact recipe is also delicious replacing the eggplants with zucchinis or combining both. It is vegan, gluten and dairy free, although you can adapt it to your liking by using cheese or any milk of your choice.

EGGPLANT LASAGNA RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1big eggplant
  • 1/2onion
  • 10 mushrooms 
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 tomatoes, puréed
  • 2 bunches of fresh basil
  • Ground cumin, coriander and turmeric powder (to taste)
  • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach
  • Vegan or regular cheese and/or nutritional yeast

For the bechamel sauce

  • 1 cup almond milk or any other
  • 2 Tbsp brown rice flour
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  •  Ground nutmeg
  • Ground black pepper
  • Salt

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC. Follow the easy steps I explain above to remove the bitterness of the aubergines. 
  2. Meanwhile finely chop the mushrooms, garlic and the onion.
  3. Sautée in a pan with olive oil along with the tomato until well cooked. Add the spinaches and leave another 5 minutes.
  4. Now we make the bechamel sauce. Use a small sauce pan, pour the olive oil and the flour, set to medium-high heat. Pour gradually the milk while you stir continuously to avoid lumps, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and keep stirring until creamy and thick.
  5. Cut the eggplant into thin slices. Place in a dish or microwave tray and cook for 2 minutes. You need to do this a few time in order to make all the slices.
  6. Now you can start setting layer after layer in an oven dish. First an aubergine layer, then the tomato sauce, then the bechamel sauce and that until the last layer where you can finish with a good amount of bechamel and some cheese and/or nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavour.
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the top looks golden brown.


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