Since alluring travel plans remain far off in the distance, experience new international flavors at home with these nutrient-packed regional dishes.
- 2 large globe eggplants
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 2 hours, drained
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened oat milk
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil and more to drizzle
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- One 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes
- One 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 8 ounces vegan mozzarella, shredded
- Heat oven to 350 F.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Using a sharp knife, remove ends of eggplant and slice into ¼-inch slices. Spread eggplant slices evenly onto baking sheets. Season each side with salt. Set aside for at least 15 minutes to draw out excess moisture and bitterness.
- To prepare the cashew cheese filling: In a food processor, add drained cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, oat milk and 1 teaspoon salt and blend until smooth.
- In a medium mixing bowl, add cashew cheese and fold in chopped spinach. Set aside.
- Use a paper towel to dab both sides of the eggplant slices to remove the moisture. Replace the parchment paper on the baking sheets. Coat both sides of eggplant slices in olive oil and place evenly onto baking sheets. Bake for 40 minutes, flipping and drizzling with more olive oil halfway. Set aside to cool.
- To prepare the marinara sauce: In a large saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil. Add onion and garlic and mix until onion becomes translucent (3–5 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add whole tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, basil, oregano and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes, or until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.
- Add 1/2 of the marinara sauce to a 9-by-13 inch pan and spread to form an even layer.
- Arrange an eggplant slice so the thicker end is closest to you. Add about 2 tablespoons of cashew cheese mixture to the thicker end of the slice. Roll eggplant away from you and add roll to 9-by-13 inch pan, seam-side down. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices, leaving ~½ inch of space between rolls. Pour the remaining half of the marinara sauce over the eggplant rolls. Top with the shredded vegan mozzarella. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until sauce is bubbling. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.