Today is National Nut Day here in New Zealand. You may not have been aware of this auspicious date but I'm hoping this yummy recipe will get you excited about the occasion. I've given a traditional Italian dish a little bit of a wholefood tweak. Beautifully roasted eggplant slices are wrapped around an indulgent mixture of soaked cashews and almonds blended with creamy ricotta and basil. These little rolls are smothered with fresh passata sauce and sprinkled generously with mozzarella.
I've replaced around ½ of the traditional amount of ricotta for a lighter take on a classic. Added protein too! I love that this lower carb dish will 100% satisfy a craving for rich Italian food while not feeling ridiculously heavy.
The dish feels both gorgeously decadent and wholesome thanks to the additional of cashews and almonds. Will definetely win over a crowd!
Baked Cashew, Almond & Ricotta Eggplant Rolls
Makes 16-18 rolls
1/2 cup Alisons Pantry raw cashew nuts – soaked overnight or for at least 6 hours
½ cup Alisons Pantry raw almonds - soaked overnight or for at least 6 hours
1/3 cup water
250 grams ricotta cheese
Large handful fresh basil – roughly chopped.
¾ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese –for stuffing
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese- for topping
2 medium eggplants – sliced into 1 cm slices
Olive oil to brush eggplant slices
450 grams tomato passata
1.5 – 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
To serve: additional fresh basil to garnish
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius
Place the drained and rinsed cashews and almonds along with the water into a food processor and blitz until relatively smooth. Add the ricotta and process for a further minute. Tip into a bowl and stir through the basil and parmesan. Season generously with sea salt and cracked black pepper.
Line a baking tray and lay out eggplant slices. Brush generously with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes until tender. Slices must be soft enough to fold. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool slightly.
To assemble: Place a tablespoon of the ricotta / nut mixture in the middle of an eggplant slice. Spread along the centre and roll up until the two ends are touching. Place seam side down in a baking dish. Place the next roll snugly against the first. Repeat until all eggplant slices are stuffed.
Pour passata over the eggplant rolls and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese
Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and lightly golden. Garnish the finished dish with fresh basil.
Serve with a green salad. Leftovers can be gently reheated the next day.
Will last two days in an airtight container in the fridge.