The photos do not do this justice! This recipe was a challenge to capture in photos.
The flavours in this are so perfectly combined! I’m pretty proud of this one 😉
The quick vegan feta cheese is so delicious with sautéed onions and wilted spinach.
Then we wrap that in flavourful grilled eggplant, which I admit I was snacking on just on its own – and I didn’t even think I liked eggplant!
Topped with a tomato cream sauce that you won’t believe is made from real tomatoes (not a can! not a paste! not a jar!).
Ash loved this recipe so much (he’s been begging me to make it again), and he swears he doesn’t like eggplant!
I feel like this should be served at a very fancy vegan restaurant.
This works as an appetizer at a fancy dinner party, or as a main. It will serve two people, but if your serving it as a main make something to go with it, maybe some chips, wedges, baked or steamed veggies or a caesar salad.
If your really hungry, or want leftovers then double the recipe.
This is a really good recipe to have someone else help you with. One can grill the eggplants while the other can do the tomato cream sauce and feta spinach filling – it makes it a lot quicker. We have a tiny grill pan so it takes a while to grill the eggplant for us, so I asked Ash to grill the eggplant while I assembled the sauce and feta cheese – great job for a guy ;). You could also use a normal pan or bake the eggplant, but the grilling adds a really delicious flavour to it.
You can also make the tomato cream sauce and feta spinach filling ahead of time, up to a day ahead would be fine which makes the assembly so much quicker.
- 2 medium eggplants (the bigger the eggplants, the better - but you will end up with less rolls)
- ½ cup almonds, macadamias or cashews, soaked 6-12 hours
- ¼ cup water
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 5.3oz / 150g baby spinach, washed
- Slice the eggplant into ⅛" / 3-4mm slices. If they are too thin, they will break and be hard to roll - too thick and they won't cook through properly.
- Sprinkle each slice with salt on both sides. Let the slices sit for up to an hour, if you only have 5 minutes thats fine too.
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a medium sized saucepan.
- Sauté the garlic for 2-3 minutes, then add the tomatoes and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
- Transfer the garlic and tomatoes to a high speed blender (I use a Vitamix), add the coconut cream and blend until smooth.
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a saucepan.
- Add the onions and sauté until translucent. While this cooks I like to blend up the almond feta (see step 5 below), but keep an eye on the onion you don't want it to burn.
- When the onion is translucent, add the spinach. If the spinach pieces are bigger, tear the spinach roughly. Cook the spinach until it changes color, reduces in size greatly and is wilted.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- (If using macadamias or cashews skip to step 9, if using almonds, do the following steps)
- Boil a kettle of water.
- Rinse the soaked almonds and place into clean bowl. Pour the water of the almonds and let that sit for 1 minute. Drain the water and rinse almonds with cool water.
- One almond at a time, slip the skin off between your fingers and catch the almond with the other hand.
- In a high speed blender (I use a Vitamix) combine the almonds (or other nut), water, lemon juice and salt and blend until smooth, using the tamper stick as needed.
- Transfer the mix to a bowl and mix in the sautéed onion and spinach and the chopped parsley.
- Heat a grill pan to medium-high heat.
- Brush the slice with olive oil or coconut oil on one side, add to the grill pan and then brush the other side.
- Cook until you have grill marks and it looks cooked, about 6-8 minutes each side.
- Lay the eggplant slice, take a spoonful of the feta mixture and drop on the center of the eggplant. Roll the eggplant slice, and top with tomato cream sauce.