Ital­ian clas­sic with a fresh, ve­gan twist

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

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

Stuff­ing

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

Egg­plant Can­nel­loni

2 egg­plants thinly sliced ( I used a man­dolin) Olive oil spray (or 2-3tbl olive oil and a brush)

Tomato Sauce

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.

Scrummy:

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