In a Nutshell
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One of my favorite veggie dishes- an Italian classic but in this case it´s vegan and can easily be adapted for paleo, keto and whole 30 diets as well. Made with a vegan cheesy sauce from cashews quickly whipped up in the NutraMilk- its such a flavorful and nourishing dish- we love it!
- 3 medium eggplants sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1 tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for brushing
For the marinara sauce:
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 small zucchini and or summer squash, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, chopped
- 1 jar tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tbsp. fresh oregano leaves, chopped
- 1 tbsp. fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (optional – omit for keto diet)
- coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tbsp. bread crumbs or almond meal (for keto) for sprinkling
For the vegan cheese sauce:
- 3/4 cups raw cashews
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbsp. lemon juices
- 3/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
- Preheat the oven to broil, set to high. Lightly grease 2 large baking sheets.
- Generously salt the eggplant and place in a colander. Let sit and sweat for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce by heating oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft and lightly browned. Add garlic and zucchini and let cook for 1 minute. Add red bell peppers, tomato sauce, thyme, oregano, basil, balsamic vinegar, and granulated sugar. Cook and stir for a few more minutes.
- Wipe or dab the eggplant with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Arrange the eggplant on the baking sheet and brush with oil. Broil for 4 to 6 minutes until browned on top.
- While eggplant is broiling, make the mozzarella sauce.
- In the NutraMilk, combine cashews and water. Process until very smooth. Add lemon juice, salt, garlic onion powder, and corn starch.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350F degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch pan.
To assemble the casserole:
- Arrange half of the eggplant slices, overlapping the slices, in the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of bread crumbs or almond meal. Layer half of the cooked quinoa (optional), half the tomato sauce, and half of the mozzarella sauce on top of the bread crumbs.
- Repeat the layers. Bake, uncovered for 20-30 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Top with fresh basil and serve. Enjoy!
Prepared and photographed by NutraMilk nutritionist, Florencia Tagliavini.
Recipe inspired by Layers of Happiness.