Did y’all have a good weekend? I hope y’all had a good Valentine’s weekend. The Hubs got me THE most awesomest present in the history of us being together. He got me a photo frame with a bunch of photos of the little one. It was, hands down, THE best present he has ever given me.
Then we had a Valentine’s Day lunch at a Noorish Cafe here in town. It’s a vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free restaurant. The food was fabulous. I had the butter “chicken” and waffles, the little one had mac and cheese, and I forget what the Hubs had. The little one inhaled his food and even ate some of mine. Whatever it was the Hubs had, it kept him full for a long time and he liked it. My dish was yummy. However, two hours after eating it I got sick. I think it was the “chicken.” The waffles were gluten-free, but I suspect the cause of me being sick was the “chicken.” Most vegan meats contain wheat in them, so that’s what I think it is. It’s totally my fault for not double checking with our server. With that said, I’d totally go back again and again and again.
Last night we had what I call Eggplant Roll Ups. It’s a recipe I got from the 22 Day Vegan Diet. I usually use lasagna noodles, but the Hubs wanted to try eggplant (which is what the recipe originally calls for). So, I gave it a try. My first time making this dish, I cut the eggplant into really thin slices so they burned when I roasted them. This time I followed the recipe. It’s amazing what happens when you follow the instructions.
Instead of ricotta cheese, the recipe calls for cashew cheese. It doesn’t sound too appealing, but, trust me, it is. The little one will eat it straight. The only thing is that you have to soak your cashews in water for at least four hours. So, I just set a reminder in my phone yesterday morning and then went about my day.
When it was time to get dinner started, I cut the eggplant into half-inch slices (I followed the instructions) and put a bunch of salt on them and let them sit for 30 minutes. Apparently that draws out the moisture and removes the bitterness of the eggplant. Huh!
You can see the little bubbles of moisture in the photo above. After sitting for half an hour, you blot them dry and roast them for 20 minutes.
While the eggplant was roasting, I got my cashew cheese ready. You drain the cashews and throw them into a food processor with garlic, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, basil, oregano, some water, and a bit of salt.
You’ll want to process it until you get the consistency you want. You’re probably gonna have to scrape the sides a few times. I had to.
Once you’re happy with your cashew cheese, you’ll add spinach to it.
Because I was using eggplant this time, I decided to soak some toothpicks in some water. I soaked them in water because I didn’t want them to burn in the oven when I used them to hold the eggplant roll ups together. You’ll take about a tablespoon or so of the cashew cheese and spread it on each eggplant slice, roll them up, I secured mine with toothpicks, spoon a little pasta sauce (your choice) on each roll up, and pop them in the oven for 25 minutes. I had to cut my baking time to 20 minutes because the little one was hungry.
And here’s the finished roll up.
I only sliced up one eggplant and ended up with five usable slices. One slice was sliced a bit too thin and burned. The Hubs and I had two roll ups each and the little one had one. Using the eggplant slices had two unexpected bonuses: 1) the little one ate eggplant! 2) I was surprisingly full on two slices.
Usually I can either take or leave eggplant. I’m not a huge fan but I will eat it. This dish is good though. I think maybe next time I’ll mix up using eggplant and regular lasagna noodles. I did have some cashew cheese left over, so I just used that as a sandwich spread for lunch (using gluten-free bread).
Tonight I have vegan mushroom stroganoff planned. The Hubs has suggested I use spaghetti squash with it, so that’s what we’re going to use instead of pasta. I’m going to cook pasta for the little one though. He’s not too big on spaghetti squash.