The aroma, texture and color of this dish are really quite astounding. Serve with a mixture of different lettuces, butter lettuce, rocket and such like – serve the salad with an olive oil and cider vinegar dressing, with a drizzle of agave in it. Oh what delight awaits !
Note : This also works well with mushroom slices – feel free to use these instead of eggplant.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE FILLING
- olive oil
- 1 medium eggplant (aubergine), cut lengthways
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- ¼ tsp coriander seeds
- ¼ tsp caraway seeds
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1½ cups (10 oz) short grain rice (for a healthy recipe use short grain brown rice) (pre-cooked, boiled, drained and set aside)
- ½ cup (3 oz) quinoa, washed and precooked according to packet directions
- 10 balls (350 g) frozen spinach (thaw first), or ½ kg fresh washed spinach
- zest of 1 lemon
- ½ tsp garlic granules
- 12 spicy green olives, pitted and chopped (I used the salty ones with chilli and garlic)
- salt to taste
INGREDIENTS FOR THE TOPPING
- ½ pt (235 mL) vegan milk (I used cashew milk)
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch (cornflour)
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 Tbsp grated vegan cheese
- salt to taste
- ¼ cup (1¼ oz) sunflower seeds
- olive oil for drizzling
METHOD FOR THE TOPPING
1. Mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
2. Pour into a small pan, and heat gently, whilst constantly stirring until the mixture has thickened into a rich thick white sauce.
METHOD FOR THE FILLING
1. Fry the aubergine slices on both sides until golden. Then, use kitchen towel to absorb any excess grease, and set aside.
2. Fry your spices for a minute or two in a large non-stick saucepan, stirring them whilst you do so.
3. Add your tomato paste, and continue to stir.
4. Spoon in your rice and quinoa, and mix well to enable them to pick up the flavors and aroma of the spices. Continue to mix for a few more minutes
5. Add the spinach and lemon zest, then lower the heat to the lowest setting, and allow to cook for a further 5 minutes or so.
6. Add the chopped olives, mix again for a further minute or so, and take off the heat.
7. Slightly grease an oven dish – the one I used was around 11 x 5 inches. 8. Place half of the eggplant slices at the bottom of the dish.
9. Spoon in the spiced rice and quinoa mixture.
10. Finish by covering with the rest of the eggplant slices.
11. Pour the cheezy sauce on top, and sprinkle on the sunflower seeds.
12. Dust the centre of the dish with paprika, and drizzle on the olive oil.
13. Place in a preheated 400ºF (200ºC) oven for 40 minutes or until the top is golden in colour.
14. When ready, remove from oven, and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting the portions.
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