Life is definitely laughing at me. For years, I have praised to family and friends the beauty of California. Gorgeous summers that last until Thanksgiving; warm, but doable weather. Peer pressure to pick up from the East Coast and come out west. Don’t let rain and dark clouds ruin a pool day, join me where sun shines 300 days strong.
Well, I’ve officially been defeated. Either that, or I am quickly getting old.
Summer, it’s been real but I’m done. I cannot handle one more day of 100°+ weather. Heat that forces me to either head indoors or sweat it out each time I step outside. Weekend runs that must be finished by 8AM or else it’s too warm to continue. Ugh, give me Canada and a North Face. I am ready for fall.
I know. Enough complaining about hot, cloud-free days. But, if this is the future, I am more than terrified. It just might be enough to move me back East, a good 10 degrees cooler on most days.
Luckily, I have summer produce to keep me company. If my kitchen is going to be a sauna, amazing things better come out of it.
I’m a total sucker for eggplant, the epitome of a love-it or hate-it food. I, love it. BL, hates it. (Story of our relationship, but I digress.) Eggplant Stack is one of my top 5 favorite things to eat, but a bit too warm and comforting when it’s 105° out.
Let’s lighten things up a bit then, shall we? Grilled eggplant rounds filled with garlic cashew cream and basil macadamia pesto, topped with a spicy red sauce.
OK summer, you win.
- 1 Italian Eggplant
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
- 2 cups basil leaves
- 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
- 1 cup water (may need more depending on blender strength)
- 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. ground mustard powder
- Arrabbiata Sauce
- Slice eggplant into 1/2" rounds. Place on a baking sheet lined with a paper towel.
- Sprinkle salt onto both sides off eggplant and let sit 30 minutes to allow excess moisture to be pulled out of the eggplant.
- Rise each slice off and towel dry, set aside.
- In a food processor or blender, add the nuts, and garlic cloves.
- Pulse a few times until a fine crumb forms.
- Add the basil and nutritional yeast. Pulse to combine.
- Turn the food processor to on, keep the blade running and slowly drizzle in the olive oil until a paste forms.
- Season with salt/pepper to taste.
- Drain cashews and add all ingredients to a blender. Puree until very smooth, about 3-4 minutes. It should be pretty thick, like a creme. If you want it thinner, add more water.
- Heat the grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Lightly spray eggplant slices with cooking spray or olive oil.
- Place garlic creme and spicy sauce in separate sauce pans to warm.
- Grill until tender, 3-4 minutes each.
- Place eggplant stack on plate, top with a dollop of cashew creme and pesto, continue to alternate layers until you have 3-4 stacks.
- Top with spicy red sauce and another dollop of cashew creme and pesto.
Enjoy the dog days of summer!
Submitted to Healthy Vegan Fridays