Sunday, November 10, 2013

Eggplant and lentil pasta with almond Parmesan

With the new year approaching and the start of my med degree creeping up closely behind it, I have been reflecting over what it was like to have a hectic uni schedule. The most crazy year for me was the final year of my undergrad degree. All-nighters were the norm and I barely had time to wash my hair or cook a decent meal. I am fairly certain that I won't have as much time next year to bake lovely desserts and I know that I definitely won't have time to plate up nicely and take pretty photos of the food. Therefore, I started thinking of quick and easy vegan meals, and tonight I decided to test run a new one. 

I found a recipe for eggplant and lentil pasta with almond Parmesan from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. It's a relatively easy recipe to make and it's full of everything you'll need to fuel you through a study session. 

I decided to ditch the canned ingredients (although, don't get me wrong, canned is totally fine!) and go for the fresh option. Instead of the canned lentils (because I didn't have any), I boiled up some urad lentils (because they were the only ones I had) and instead of the canned tomatoes, I used tomatoes which I blended up in the food processor. 

I also used wholemeal penne instead of normal white pasta because it has a bit more fibre. You can really taste the difference! The wholemeal pasta tastes more course and grainy, but it definitely leaves you feeling fuller for longer. 

I hope that I'll still get time to do some fancy schmancy cooking after I start med next year. It's one of those hobbies/skills that I've really grown to love and it's just become easier over time with practice. 

Skillet Eggplant and Lentils with Almond Parmesan (from The FatFree Vegan Kitchen)

Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time: 25 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large eggplant (about 18 ounces) cut into quarters lengthwise and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 15-ounce can lentils, rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups cooked lentils)
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika or cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 cup tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened non-dairy yogurt (if yogurt isn’t available, try 1/4 cup unsweetened soymilk mixed with 1 tsp. lemon juice)
  • 1 cup fresh basil, minced
  • “Almond Parmesan,” see below


  1. Saute the onion in a large, non-stick skillet until it begins to brown. Tip: Add a small pinch of baking soda to speed up browning. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  2. Add the eggplant, water, and herbs and stir well to coat the eggplant with the seasonings. Cover tightly and cook until the eggplant begins to soften, about 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT the fresh basil and Almond Parmesan. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, until eggplant is tender and sauce has thickened. Season to taste with salt, add fresh basil, and serve over pasta or brown rice or other whole grain. Top with Almond Parmesan, if desired.
  3. To make Almond Parmesan, process 1/4 cup nutritional yeast and 1/3 cup whole raw almonds in a blender or food processor until crumbly. Store in refrigerator.

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