Nisha Melvani, creator Cooking for peanutsknow the secret to helping people who want to eat less meat…
Start with a meal. Start with dinner. Her new book, Vegan RealityThere are a bunch of easy vegan recipes that will help you get there.
Melvani was born and raised in Jamaica to Indian parents and lived in London and Montreal, before settling in New York. Her grandmother is a great cook, while her mother “eats because she has to” and her father, who loves vegetables, is somewhere in between. That means dinners grown up are a mix of Chef Boyardee’s ravioli and original lamb curry. “Exposure to these extremes,” Melvani writes, “leads me to a balanced view of how food can have such different meanings for different people.”
It’s no surprise that the book’s recipes – Chickpea Fritters, Cauliflower-Sweet-Potry, Spicy Bean Black Chili – reflect diverse, global palates dedicated to convenient, easy, and vegan cooking. most important to her three children, fun. Appendix A: Remake Eggplant by swapping cheese for nutritional yeast and presenting the whole thing as “meatballs”.
Eggplant Parmesan “Meatballs”
Are from Vegan Reality by Nisha Melvani
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium eggplant (about 12 ounces), peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 minced purple onion
6 cloves of minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 cup dry bread crumbs
¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste
16 ounces spaghetti
1 jar (24 ounces) marinara sauce
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the eggplant and cook, occasionally using a spoon or spatula to mash the eggplant for about 5 minutes or until the eggplant begins to soften. Add the onion and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, until the eggplant is cooked through and soft but still holding its shape.
Add garlic, basil, oregano, thyme, and black pepper and cook for 30 seconds.
Transfer eggplant mixture to a large bowl. Mix in nutritional yeast and breadcrumbs. (Bread crusts contain varying amounts of sodium, so it’s important to taste the eggplant mixture before adding salt.) Taste the mixture and season with salt. Leave the mixture at room temperature until cool enough to handle before forming meatballs.
Using your hands and about 1½ tablespoon of eggplant mixture for each ball, form 15 meatballs. Place the meatballs on the prepared baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. Flip them over and cook for about 10 more minutes or until golden brown on both sides.
Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions until thickened, and cook marinara sauce in a saucepan over medium heat.
Let the meatballs cool for about 10 minutes. Transfer them to the pan with the marinara sauce. Simmer gently until warm before tossing the pasta on top and garnishing with parsley.
(Photo from Vegan Reality.)