3 medium size aubergines
1 1/2 cup of polenta (alternatively ground oats or bread crumbs, but polenta works best :))
5 tea spoons of dried parsley or dried corriander
5 tea spoons of dried chives
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tea spoon of cayenne pepper
1 red onion
1 table spoon of home made vegetable stock (recipe in our Xrated Vegans cook book HERE) or crushed cube of any vegetable stock
2 tea spoons of herbes de provence or italian herb mix
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
1 bunch of fresh basil (chopped)
You can choose from the following
Cashew cheese topping (150g of cashew nuts soaked in water for min 3 hours, juice of 1 lemon, water, sea salt)
Sunflower seeds topping
Chop the aubergines into round pieces (approx 3 milimeters thick). Place on a baking parchment with some paper kitchen roll underneath. Sprinkle each round with sea salt and set aside for approx 1 hour. This will take the bitter taste out of the aubergine and will help to release the moisture.
In the meantime prepare the polenta (oat or breadcrumb) mixture and tomato sauce.
For the polenta (or alternatives) mixture:
Mix together polenta, dried parsley, dried chives and cayenne pepper. Set aside
For the tomato sauce:
Chop the onion and garlic, fry in 1 1/2 tea spoon of rapeseed oil until the onion is golden. Add chopped tomatoes, herbes de provence or Italian herb mix plus fresh basil. Stir well and allow to simmer on low heat for approx 20 mins stirring every now and then.
Once the aubergine has sat with the salt for 1 hour, pat every slice with a paper cloth. Do not remove all the moisture, as it will help the polenta & herb topping stick to the aubergine. Preheat the oven to 180C – grill setting. Line up a baking tray with parchment paper. Press each aubergine slice (each side) onto the polenta topping, make sure it is coated evenly. Place in the tray on the baking parchment. Bake on grill setting for approx 5 minutes (each side).
Spread some of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish. Place 2 layers of baked polenta coated aubergine on top of the tomato sauce, next spread remaining tomato sauce on top of the aubergine layers, make sure the aubergine is fully covered in the sauce. Place another layer or 2 (if you have enough aubergine left) of aubergine slices on top of the sauce. Place it in the oven for further 35 mins at 180C degrees – fan setting. For the topping see below:
If you are using cashew cheese, use it sparingly, as it can make the dish quite heavy and calorific.
If you are using sunflower seeds, roast them in a dry pan first and set aside. Sprinkle them on top of the aubergine bake once it is ready.
If you are using polenta, you can sprinkle it on top of the dish before putting it back in the oven.