Austin was initially skeptical about nut "cheese", as I'm sure some of you are. As I've said to him, no, it doesn't taste exactly like dairy cheese but I think it has similar texture and hits the same flavor notes: slightly fatty (but with far less of the saturated stuff), tangy, salty and acidic. Some of you may also think you don't have at least 12 hours to soak nuts. Yes you do, it just takes some planning ahead. Throw them in a big bowl with water the night before you want to make "cheese". The next day all you have to do is drain them, put them in the food processor and voilà, homemade nut "cheese" in minutes!
While your going all homemade, why not try to whip up some tomato sauce? The recipe below is extremely simple and really tasty. Yes, it needs to simmer for one hour but you don't have to tend to it so you can use that time to cook the eggplant, make the "cheese", assemble the rollatini, pay bills, feed your pet or whatever else it is you need to do. Heck, you could even go crazy, make a double batch and freeze it. Yes, your jarred sauces will miss you but I promise they will recover.
Loosely Inspired by Giada di Laurentiis' Eggplant Rollatini
Makes 4 to 5 servings
- 3 medium eggplants, washed, peeled if you're skin averse (I'm not) and cut lengthwise into about 1/2 in / 1.5 cm slices
- 1 recipe of Macadamia "Ricotta"
- 4-5 cups of your favorite jarred tomato sauce or Basic Tomato Sauce
- Olive oil for greasing
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Optional: A couple handfuls of chopped parsley for garnish
- Optional: 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2. Reduce the oven heat to 375 F / 190 C. Grease a 9 by 13 inch (or any other size you have handy really, although the tighter the rollatini fit in the pan the better) casserole dish or baking pan with some olive oil. Place a heaping tablespoon of "ricotta" at one end of each eggplant slice and roll it up tightly. Place the rollatini seam side down on the greased baking pan. Repeat the process until you've filled all the eggplant slices.
3. Pour about 4-5 cups of the tomato sauce, depending how much you love sauciness, over the rollatini. If you'd like, mix any extra "ricotta" with a handful of chopped parsley and crumble it over the top. You can also sprinkle the top of the casserole with a tablespoon of nutritional yeast. Bake for 20 minutes or until the "ricotta" starts to brown. Garnish with some extra chopped parsley and serve immediately.
Makes about 3 cups
- 2 1/2 cups macademia nuts (cashews would be great too), soaked in water for at least 12 hours and drained
- 2 teaspoons miso
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3/4 cup water
Basic Tomato Sauce
Makes about 6 1/2 cups
- 2 28 oz / 795 g cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 celery rib, minced
- 2 medium carrots, grated
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Optional: 1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes (I used the kind packed in oil)
2. Pour in the tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour. Taste and adjust the seasonings. If you're making the rollatini with this sauce you'll have some leftovers which you can refrigerate or freeze.