Aromatic Vegan Pasta with Eggplants and Cherry Tomatoes

Healthy is on the menu. Here’s an addition to the vegan pasta group – very easy and fast to cook, yet delicious with traditional Mediterranean taste. And pretty too I believe. Spring is coming!

What you need for two is 20 minutes and:

300 g pasta of your choice (I’ve picked fusilli), boiled al dente

300 g cherry tomatoes, cut in two (ordinary will make it too)

1 large eggplant, chopped on large cubicles, salted, then rinsed

5-6 cloves of garlic

2-3 tbsp olive oil

some basil (fresh or dried)

Cover the surface of the pan with the oil, put inside the eggplants and the cloves of garlic, and cook in the preheated at 180C oven for about 10 minutes.

Take out the garlic, put in the cherry tomatoes and put in the oven for another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel the cloves and use a fork to smash them.

Take out the pan and use the fork again to squeeze gently the tomatoes, so that some of their juice gets out. Add the pasta and the the garlic and mix well.

Sprinkle with some basil right before serving.

Vegan is Good and easy.

 

Vegan Tandoori Skewers

Spring is almost here (at least in the Norther hemisphere) and at this time of the year it is a bit more difficult to find seasonal veggies. Have to do with what’s left, so to say. Anyway, while waiting for the abundance of fresh food to come, I felt like something of a strong taste, so decided to fuse whatever I can find locally with adapted tandoori sauce – the traditional is not vegan, have in mind.

There are many different ways to replace the yogurt, I chose cashews milk, but it should still be ok if you have almonds, or even coco-milk. The result is light and flavorful meal, with a scent of eastern exotic places.

I believe these skewers would be quite good raw as well, so if you prefer them this way, just skip the baking part.

What you need is 10 skewer sticks, a blender and:

Ingredients of the Tandoori Sauce:

100g cashews

1/2 lemon’s juice

3 cloves garlic

100g warm water

and 1/2 teaspoon of the following spices, it is meant to be spicy:

paprika, cumin seeds, dried ginger, chili, cardamom, black pepper, turmeric, dried coriander 

The veggies* (about 800g for 2-3 people):

250g cauliflower

250g brocolli

1 average (about 150 g) tomato

150g white mushrooms

*All cut in similar pieces about 3x3cm.

Any veggies could be used here, I stuck to what I found on  the market this morning. If you decide to add some root vegs, have in mind to steam them for several minutes before mixing with the sauce.

How to make the Tandoori sauce.

Put the cashews, the garlic and the water in a blender and mix them into one. Now add the lemon juice and the spices and mix again. A semi-thick reddish paste is what you should have.

Pour it on the veggies, mix them until all are covered and put aside for 2-3 hours until they adsorb the flavours.

Making the Tandoori Skewers:

Pierce with the sick and arrange some of the veggies on each of the skewer sticks according to your taste, but try not to overcrowd them. Put on baking paper, covered with a thin layer of vegetable oil and bake in a preheated oven (about 200C) for 10-12 minutes.

I personally prefer them slightly raw. Goes well with white jasmine rice.

Enjoy.

Vegan is Good!

Vegan Stuffed Vine Leaves

Another main course, this time it requires a little more dexterity and is time consuming, but the result is delicious. Stuffed vine leaves leaves are common meal in south-east Europe and the Middle East and are easily adapted for vegans. Here’s my interpretation.

Vegan Stuffed Vine Leaves

Products(for 4):

For the stuffed vine leaves

30-35 vine leaves (both fresh or canned are fine, i was lucky to find fresh ones on the market)

200 g white rice (approx. small ball)

1 small aubergine

1 average carrot 

100 grams walnuts

1 onion

2 tbsp olive oil 

1 pinch of turmeric

grounded black pepper, paprika

For the sauce:

6-7 cloves of garlic

1 can of peeled and diced tomatoes

3 pinches of dried basil

2 tbsp olive oil

grounded black pepper, paprika

The filling

Vegan Stuffed Vine Leaves filling

 

Cut the aubergine in small cubicles, about 0.5 cm, salt them and put away for 10 minutes.

Grape the carrots and chop the onion. Heat the oil in a pot, add the spices and then the onions. Stir and add the aubergines and the carrots. Stir again and leave for 2 minutes. Put in the rice, stir, add 1.5 the volume of the rice in water and cook until the liquid is absorbed. Now add the walnuts and mix well.

Folding the Vine Leaves

Choose a couple leaves to cover the bottom of the pan and to put the folded vine leaves on.

Use a spoon to put some of the filling on the inner side of the leaf, shape it as a cylinder with your fingers, fold over the back, them the sides and roll (see pics).

Useful tips: don’t use too much filling per leaf – it won’t fold properly. Also – pack the folded leaves tightly in the pot in two layers. If there are some you couldn’t place in the layers, put them in the middle.

Pour in some water – to cover well the stuffed vine leaves and put a dish to snuggle them and to prevent them from unfolding while boiling. When the water level drops below it’s ready.

Preparing the Tomato Sauce

Crush the garlic with  a knife and chop it. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the garlic for 30 seconds with the grounded black pepper and paprika. Stir and add the tomatoes. Lower the heat and leave for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and cook for another 10 minutes.

Serve the stuffed vine leaves with the sauce. Goes well with some Merlot.

Cheers! Vegan Is Good!

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