Baked Aubergine with Cashew Cheese, Pesto and Rich Tomato Sauce (Gluten Free)

Packed full of vibrant Mediterranean flavours, this super simple dish is a perfect mid-week meal the whole family can enjoy.

baked-aubergine-cashew-cheese-pesto-rich-tomato-sauce-vegan-gluten-free 1

This dish is inspired by long summer days in the Mediterranean; taking those big robust flavours and turning them into a delicious mid-week meal, which is sure to become a crowd-favourite in any household.

Finished with a zingy, fresh pesto and a rich tomato sauce, these sauces are the ideal companion to the creamy cashew cheese slathered on top of the soft baked flesh of the aubergine. I like to char mine slightly before baking to bring a deeper layer of flavour out of the skin, but you can skip this step if you prefer – just reduce the cooking time on the griddle pan slightly.

You can serve this dish with a wide variety of sides: big fresh and seasonal salads in the summer, or with roasted vegetables in the winter. No matter what season I’m cooking this in, I always serve bread with mine to mop up all those wonderful juices and sauces.

If you’re not a huge aubergine fan, this recipe also works great with a small roasted butternut squash or long slices of a baked sweet potato, just add the sauces on top of your chosen baked vegetable and enjoy!

Love Niki xxx

baked-aubergine-cashew-cheese-pesto-rich-tomato-sauce-vegan-gluten-free 1a

Baked Aubergine with Cashew Cheese, Pesto and Rich Tomato Sauce

Packed full of vibrant Mediterranean flavours, this super simple dish is a perfect mid-week meal the whole family can enjoy.
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 1 hr
4 servings
No ratings yet

Ingredients

For the sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic sliced
  • 5 large ripe tomatoes sliced
  • 2 red peppers chopped lengthways
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • Pinch of chilli flakes optional

For the aubergine

  • 2 aubergines sliced lengthwise and then cross scored
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Big pinch sea salt

For the cashew cheese

  • 1 cup cashews soaked for at least 1 hour
  • ¼ cup water
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

For the pesto

  • 2 big handfuls of basil
  • 100 g Brazil nuts
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Twist of black pepper
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Water to loosen

Instructions

To make the sauce

  • Char grill the peppers on a griddle pan on a high heat for approx 15 minutes, turning frequently until nice and charred on both sides.
  • Set aside to cool, then roughly chop.
  • Add your oil and onion to a wide bottom pan and fry gently on a low heat for around 10 minutes until soft and browning.
  • Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds.
  • Add the tomatoes and roast peppers to the pan and cook on a low heat for 25 minutes.
  • Add the salt, black pepper and chilli flakes (optional) to the pan and simmer for a further 5 minutes, then set aside.

To make the aubergine

  • Rub a little olive oil on both sides of your aubergines.
  • Pre-heat your griddle pan until hot and then place your aubergines on the pan; keep turning them until both sides are fully cooked all the way through and nice and charred on the outside.

To make the cashew cheese

  • Add all the ingredients into your food processor, then blitz until smooth.
  • To make the pesto
  • Add all the ingredients into your food processor, then blitz into a chunky paste. Add some water to loosen the mixture if needed.

To assemble

  • Pre heat your oven to Gas Mark 4 /180c.
  • Spoon the tomato sauce evenly into the bottom of a large baking tray (make sure it’s big enough for the aubergines to lie down).
  • Place the aubergines bottom down on top of the tomato sauce, then spread some cashew cheese and a little drizzle of pesto on to the top of the slices of aubergine.
  • Cover in foil and bake for 20 minutes.
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