Vegan cashew cheese seems like a completely wanky and pretentious thing to make, but here we are. So if you’re looking to embrace meat-free Monday or trying to cut out dairy, you’ll get onboard with this tossbag of a task and try this recipe. It’s actually a pretty easy thing to make once you remember to soak the cashews to be fair, and being made from nuts makes it pretty filling.
Both the tomato sauce and the ‘cheese’ can be whipped up while the eggplant is baking, then its just a case of 5 minutes construction and bung it in the oven for a heat through. Buon Appetito my Paleo Vegan friends!
- 2 large eggplants
- Fresh basil, for garnish
For the sauce…
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch chilli flakes
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar
- Salt and black pepper to taste
For the cashew cheese…
- 2 cups cashews, soaked
- 3/4 cup water
- 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- You will need to have soaked your cashews prior to starting this recipe. Soak them overnight, or at least several hours. if doing the latter, I find initially pouring over hot water speeds up the process.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
- Cut the stalks off the eggplants, then slice lengthways in approximately 1cm slices.
- Lay flat in a single layer on a large oven tray lined with baking paper. Using a pastry brush, brush each slice with some extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Bake in oven for 30 minutes.
- While the eggplant is baking, make the sauce.
- Gently sauté the onion and garlic in a couple of tablespoons of oil until softened. You can do this in a pan that goes straight into the oven to save on dishes, but you don’t have to. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Simmer sauce for a few minutes until slightly reduced and thickened. Remove from heat and set aside if making full dish in pan, or spoon sauce into base of casserole dish you plan to serve finished product in.
- Then make your cheese sauce. Drain and rinse the cashews. Put them in a thermomix or a high-speed blender along with all other ingredients and whizz until you have a smooth creamy consistency. You may need to scrape down sides a couple of times.
- Once eggplants are cooked, remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes until you can handle them. Spoon a couple of heaped spoonfuls of cashew cheese onto each slice of eggplant about 1/4 way down from one end. Fold end over the cheese and continue to roll up. Lay the eggplant roll in the tomato sauce seam-side down and continue until all eggplant is used up.
- Bake in 180 degree celsius oven for another minutes until hot and garnish with fresh basil.
Serves 3-4 people.