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Vegan recipe: pasta alla norma

I love this sicilian dish which normally contains only eggplant, tomato sauce and basil (and often parmesan or ricotta cheese), so I’ve transformed it into my own vegan version with some added proteins.

Ingredients (mine are all organic) for 3 to 4 portions

  • 2 eggplants (medium size)
  • 400 ml or a  carton of tomato sauce (passata) or a portion of home-made sauce
  • 1 pack of vegan chick’pieces (I used Greenway, there’s also De Vegetarische Slager in The Netherlands and Beyond Meat in the USA)
  • 1 small purple onion (optional, non-sattvic)
  • 1 tsp of asafoetida powder or 1 garlic clove (optional, non-sattvic)
  • Pasta of your choice (I used orecchiette)
  • Half a cup of fresh basil leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Himalaya salt
  • Nutritional yeast (optional)

Pasta à la normaPreparation

  1. Cut the eggplants in 3 or 4 slices (lengthwise), then cut them in strips
  2. Put the strips in a colander and rinse
  3. Put enough Himalaya salt on the strips to coat them all lightly and leave covered with a clean cloth for about 20 minutes, or until the strips are ‘sweating’  (water drops form on the strips)
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  5. Cut the garlic and onion (optional) in small pieces
  6. Wash the basil leaves
  7. Once the eggplants are ‘sweating’, rinse of the excess salt and pat them dry with kitchen towels or a clean cloth
  8. Toss the eggplant strips with olive oil in a bowl, enough to coat each strip lightly, put the strips on a non sticky baking sheet and put in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes, or until well baked. Turn the strips after 10 minutes
  9. Boil a big enough pan with (filtered) water for the pasta and cook following direction
  10. In the meantime, fry the chick’pieces in olive oil, add the asafoetida (or garlic & onion) until golden
  11. Add the tomato sauce, season with salt & pepper
  12. Add the eggplant strips once nicely roasted
  13. Add most of the basil leaves, but leave some for decoration of the plates
  14. Strain the pasta once ‘al dente’, cover with the pasta sauce and serve with a couple of leaves of fresh basil and a tablespoon of nutritional yeast (optional)

=> Serve directly with a side salad of aragula (rucola), roasted pine nuts or sunflower seeds with an olive oil/ lemon juice dressing

=> You can make your own vegan parmesan to sprinkle on top: in a coffee grinder, mix an equal quantity of brasil nuts (or almonds) and nutritional yeast and sprinkle this over your pasta dish (or salad). Save the left-overs in the fridge in a closed jar.


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Yogi recipe: gnocchi with tempeh, eggplant and tomato sauce

Last year I went to Frankfurt for the first time in my life and it was such an amazing city to discover, especially since it was super easy to find delicious vegan food ! In the Veganz supermarket there is this small café (Sesamo) where you can get delicious food to take away or eat there (there are some high chairs with high tables against the windows), they sell pastries too, all vegan! I love gnocchi, but it’s not easy to find a vegan version, at least not in Belgium. Hence I was super happy to find a gnocchi recipe with eggplant, tempeh, mozzarella and tomato/ basil sauce. I ate it twice that weekend …

Back home I’ve tried to recreate the recipe, hereby my version:

gnocchi - tomato and aubergine

Ingredients*

  • 1 block of tempeh
  • 1 large or 2 small eggplants
  • 1 portion tomato sauce (home-made or bought)
  • Gnocchi (I buy a vegan version at an organic supermarket)
  • Fresh basil
  • Vegan mozzarella cheese, i.e. Daiya, Tofutti or Cheezly (so far, I’ve only found it in Ekoplaza, in the Netherlands)

*I use mostly organic, unless impossible to find.

Preparation
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Cut the tempeh in 1 or 2 cm pieces or strips. Marinate it for at least 30 minutes in a mix of shoyu or tamari sauce mixed with some olive oil and black pepper. Wash and cut the eggplant in cubes, add salt, leave it for about 30 minutes until the water comes out of the eggplant, use paper towels or a clean kitchen towel to wipe off the excess water.
Sprinkle olive oil and black pepper on the eggplant cubes, spread out on an oven plate, in one layer and put in the oven. (You can add garlic if you like that’s not a sattvic ingredient, so I don’t use it in my yogi recipes). Add the tempeh in an oven plate and put in the oven as well. After about 10 or 15 minutes, turn the eggplant (or when well baked), idem for the tempeh. Cut the mozzarella cheese in thin slices. Wash the basil and shred the leaves. Boil a big pot of water for the gnocchi. When the tempeh and eggplant are well baked, transfer them to a big pot, add the tomato sauce, fresh basil and mozzarella cheese, add salt and pepper to your taste. You might want to add some fresh cherry tomatoes (when in season) and leave the sauce for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Prepare the gnocchi according to the instructions. Serve the sauce on top of the gnocchi and serve directly. Garnish with some freshly washed basil leaves. You can serve the gnocchi with a seasonal salad.