Our Eggplant Involtini is a modern (and vegan) twist on classic Italian flavors. Filled with a combination of savory ingredients such as cashews, whole grain lasagna noodles, and eggplant, this recipe is sure to win over food lovers and critics alike. Thanks to the eggplant, this Italian dish is teeming with antioxidants–scientifically speaking, antioxidants help strengthen body cells and tissues to become more resistant to dysfunction, disease, anti-aging, or free radical damage (1). The biomarker TAC (total antioxidant capacity test) is used to determine the strength of antioxidants in certain foods. It is also useful to evaluate nutritional interventions with TAC rich foods on disease risk and prevention (1). Eggplant is a good source of antioxidants, and is listed as a food with a good TAC score (1). So go ahead and give this satiating dinner a try–it’s one that will keep your taste buds wanting more.
Eggplant Involtini with Cashew Pesto
- 10 whole grain lasagna noodles
- !Cashew Pesto:
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight or boiled for 20 minutes until tender
- 5 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup water
- 2 cups basil, washed + additional 1 tablespoon for garnish (optional)
- 2 lemons, juiced
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1½ tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¾ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1¼ pounds eggplant, unpeeled and cut into 1” cubes
- 1 cup cashew pesto cheese
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- Red pepper flakes, optional
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- Basil,. optional
- Dutch oven
- Food processor
- Saute pan
- Wooden spoon or potato masher
- 12½ x 8 Casserole dish
- In a Dutch oven, add 4.5 quarts of boiling water over medium high heat. Boil the lasagna noodles for about 10 minutes. When done, drain and rinse with cold water.
- In a food processor, add garlic, cashews, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, sea salt and water. Process until smooth. Add basil, lemon juice and olive oil while processing. Mix until smooth., and set aside.
- Place ½ tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat.
- Add onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Add garlic until lightly browned, remaining olive oil, and eggplant, and brown on both sides.
- Add water, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until eggplant is soft.
- Remove from heat, transfer to a heat proof bowl, and set aside.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, mash eggplant into small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon or potato masher.
- Add the cashew pesto and mix well. Lastly, add the bread crumbs and red pepper flakes and stir until well combined.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place 1 cup tomato sauce on the bottom of the casserole pan.
- Lay out the lasagna noodles and spread ⅓ cup of the Eggplant Pesto mixture on each lasagna noodle. Roll the noodle up and place it on the tomato sauce in the casserole dish. Pour tomato sauce over the stuffed lasagna noodles and bake for 20 minutes until heated through. Garnish with basil.
- Serve warm.
If desired, top with vegan mozzarella cheese or mozzarella cheese and bake until lightly browned.
Serving size: 2 slices Calories: 435 calories, Fat: 14 grams, Saturated fat: 2 grams, Carbohydrates: 70 grams, Sugar: 4 grams, Sodium: 135 milligrams, Fiber: 9 grams, Protein: 10 grams, Cholesterol: 180 milligrams
(1) Kusano, C., Ferrari, B. Total Antioxidant Capacity: a biomarker in biomedical and nutritional studies. Journal of Cell and Molecular Biology. 7(1): 1-15, 2008. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.569.4404&rep=rep1&type=pdf