At home Antonia De Luca’s cooking style echoes that of her restaurant, Leafy Greens Café: deliciously fresh and tasty vegan meals. Visit leafygreens.co.za
FOR THE MELANZANE:
- 8 large eggplants
- 30ml salt
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup gluten-free or spelt flour
- 1 cup homemade Napoli sauce or store-bought tomato pasta sauce
- 1 cup hard vegan ‘cheese’ (available at health stores) or mozzarella cheese, grated
- ¾ cup basil pesto
- ¼ cup vegan ‘Parmesan’ or regular Parmesan, finely grated
FOR THE VEGAN ‘PARMESAN’:
- 1 cup nutritional yeast (available at health stores)
- ¼ cup hemp seeds
- ¼ sunflower seeds, ground
- salt, to taste
TO MAKE THE MELANZANE:
1. Peel the eggplants, slice them into 1cm-thick pieces and lay them in a baking dish. Cover them with the salt and allow them to stand for an hour. Rinse well.
2. Heat the oil in a pan. Dip the wet eggplant in the flour and pan-fry them until lightly golden in colour. Drain them on kitchen paper and dab off the excess oil; set aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
4. Grease a medium-sized ovenproof dish. Cover the base with a thin layer of Napoli sauce then a layer of the fried eggplants, followed by another layer of Napoli sauce, then a layer of hard vegan or mozzarella cheese and finally a thin layer of basil pesto.
5. Repeat the layers until all the eggplant has been used.
6. Sprinkle some vegan or regular Parmesan cheese over the top and bake the melanzane for 8–10 minutes or until golden.
7. Serve with the fig, rocket and walnut salad (see accompanying recipe in menu).
This dish serves 6–8 as a main course.
TO MAKE THE VEGAN ‘PARMESAN’:
1. Mix all of the ingredients together.
2. Store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to one month.
This recipe makes 1½ cups of ‘cheese’.