Gluten free, meat free, dairy free.

This recipe has 9…yes 9 different types of vegetables in it and one fruit (lemon).

It also has lentils, tofu and nuts for a huge protein injection.

Healthy, yummy food doesn’t get much better than this….enjoy!

 Ingredients

THE ‘PASTA’

  • 1 aubergine, 3 courgettes cut into thin slices lengthways
  • Sea salt (for sweating eggplant)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

THE MARINANA ‘MEAT’ SAUCE

  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 350g tomato puree
  • 1/2 jar passata
  • cut up: 2 carrots, cup of mushrooms, celery, spinach?
  • Herbs – basil oregano, fennel, parsley
  • 1 cup veg stock
  • 1 tbs of liquid smoke (optional –  but recommended)
  • 144 g rinsed and drained red lentils

VEGAN  RICOTTA  – WHITE SAUCE

  • 1 250g block extra firm tofu, drained and pressed dry for 10 minutes
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, finely chopped, plus more for serving
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp each sea salt + black pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tbs water (to reach desired thickness/thinness)

VEGAN PARMESAN TOPPING:

  • 3 tbs nutritional yeast
  • ¼ garlic powder
  • 1tbs lemon juice
  • ¾ sea salt
  • 1 cup cashews/brazils

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 218 C.
  2. Generously salt aubergine slices on both sides and arrange in a colander in the sink to remove excess water/bitterness for 15 minutes.
  3. Next rinse salted aubergine slices well and dry thoroughly between two clean absorbent towels.
  4. Arrange the slices of both courgette and aubergine on 1-2 baking sheets in an even layer and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake in a 230 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce oven heat to 190 C.
  5. While aubergine and courgette are baking, add the onion, garlic, vegtables and herbs to a large saucepan and sweat for 10 mins then add the rest of the sauce ingredients and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Finally add rinsed lentils and lower heat to a simmer (low) and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes or until lentils are tender.
  6. Meanwhile make the parmesan by adding all ingredients to a food processor and mixing until it forms crumbs.
  7. Then make the ricotta. Add all ricotta ingredients to a food processor and blend.
  8. Spread a thin layer of lentil marinara sauce into your baking dish. Then layer on a few pieces of aubgine or corgette.
  9. Spoon half of the ricotta filling over the veg slices and spread into an even layer. Then top with another layer of marinara sauce. Repeat until you have used up all the ricotta. NOTE: The top layers should be: Marinara, Vegetable noodles, marinara.
  10. Sprinkle the top with your homemade vegan parmesan cheese and cover with foil. Bake at 190 C for 20- 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake for 10-15 minutes more, or until the sauce is bubbly and warm and the top layer is very slightly browned (see photo).
  11. Let rest for 10-15 minutes, then slice with a serrated or very sharp knife, and serve.
  12. Leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat in the oven or the microwave until warm. You can freeze the dish up to 1 month.

A great side to this dish is garlic bread –  to cut up 4 garlic cloves, pinch of parsley and mix with extra virgin olive oil and pour over a slice of sourdough bread and bake in oven for 10 mins.YUM!!

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