Italian classic with a fresh, vegan twist
I recently spent a weekend in Christchurch with my husband’s parents who are selling the old family home and moving into a more modern, generational friendly abode. The family all came together from around the country, including my gorgeous niece Samantha, who had flown down from Wellington, for a big farewell party to the old house.
In recent years Samantha has changed from vegetarian to vegan – a diet I was embarrassed to admit I know very little about. I knew the basics – abstaining from the use of any animal products – but I’ve grown up in a family where everything must have a gravy or a sauce or a dressing (usually derived from an animal) and I was having to think outside of my usual square.
Samantha placed a post on a vegan Facebook site so I could get a better understanding of why ‘‘real’’ people decided to change their diets to that of vegan and three themes were common being healthy, animal welfare and environmental reasons.
I was about to whip up what I considered unique variations on standard salads and dressings, but one response begged me not to recommend salads as the writer didn’t want the idea reinforced that this was all vegans ate.
So I came up with this recipe. It is simple, healthy, jolly tasty and will open up a world of new taste and texture sensations. Give it a go for the environment, for the animals and for your own health and wellbeing. Plus its vegetarian awareness month so it’s your job to try something new! Enjoy.
Ingredients Tofu marinade
1 decent handful of basil 2 cloves garlic minced
tsp sea salt 1tbl Olive Oil 300g tofu chopped into 1-2cm squares 1tbl olive oil for cooking
2 courgettes chopped into small pieces 2 cloves garlic 1 red onion halved long ways then sliced 4 asparagus spears sliced in 1cm pieces 1tbl olive oil
2 eggplants thinly sliced ( I used a mandolin) Olive oil spray (or 2-3tbl olive oil and a brush)
1 can chopped tomatoes 1 onion diced Lay on baking paper and bake for about 15 mins ‘til softened, turning once. You can instead pan fry for about a minute on each side. 4. Make the tomato sauce by sauteing off the onions for 5-6 mins till softened, add garlic and basil and cook for a further 2-3 mins. Add canned tomatoes, vinegar and salt and pepper and let it simmer for about 15 mins. 5. To make the cannelloni stuffing saute off the onion for 3-4 mins then add the garlic and cook for a further 2 mins. Add the asparagus and courgette and cook for a further 2-3 mins until softened a little – ensuring you do not overcook. 6. Heat a separate fry pan to medium-high and add oil. Stir fry marinated tofu for about 5 mins, until each side is a lightly browned. Tip into the stuffing mix. 7. Place three slices of eggplant long ways, side by side and slightly overlapping in a rectangular over dish. Spread enough stuffing across the middle of the eggplant so you can then roll up eggplant over the stuffing, keeping the sealed side down. Repeat till you have filled the dish or run out of ingredients (it should make 6-7 cannelloni). 8. Pour over the tomato sauce, sprinkle with breadcumbs and grill to brown the crumbs on about 200 for 10 mins, till nicely browned. Serve immediately. Serves 4-5
Vegan Eggplant Cannelloni Stuffed with Tofu, Asparagus and Courgette.