An ideal vegan addition to a Christmas buffet or delectable accompaniment to dinner these sweet vine tomatoes are roasted in fresh basil and black pepper then rolled up in baked aubergine for a perfect mouthful.
As the second part in my Christmas series on how to host a vegetarian or vegan Christmas, this dish is a simple one but full of fresh, classic flavours. The recipes only calls for three ingredients plus seasoning and olive oil that you will already have in your cupboard.
If you want to make a cheesy version there are optional extras; mozzarella for the vegetarian version that is of course widely available, or nutritional yeast for a vegan version which can easily be bought from Amazon or health food shops.
I have drained the aubergines with salt to make them firmer and allow them to crisp up better. Having a crisper vegetable does make it a little more difficult to roll aubergines but the benefit to the texture and flavour make it worth it sacrificing a perfect appearance.
Makes 6 rolls
6 large vine tomatoes
1 aubergine, cut into slices
1/4tsp black pepper
1/4tsp sea salt
Handful fresh basil leaves
3tbsp olive oil
Optional extras: 2tbsp nutritional yeast (for vegan version) or 1 ball fresh mozzarella (for vegetarian version)
-You will also need cocktail sticks for this recipe
1. Preheat oven to 180C / gas mark 4.
2. Heat 1tbsp of olive oil in a baking tin (make sure it has sides so the tomatoes don’t roll out!) Pierce the tomatoes a couple of times with a knife then add them to the pan along with the pepper. Carefully roll the tomatoes in the oil until they are fully coated. Place in the oven and roast for around 45 minutes until they are soft and beginning to brown. About five minutes before the end, tear and add in the fresh basil leaves.
3. In the meantime, place the aubergine strips on kitchen paper or a clean tea towel and sprinkle on the sea salt. Leave to drain for thirty minutes, turning half way.
4. Pour the remaining olive oil onto a baking tray and place in the oven. Once hot, carefully coat either side of the aubergine in oil and spread out over the tray. Bake for around 10-15minutes.
5. Remove both the roasted tomatoes and roasted aubergines from the oven and leave until they are cool enough to handle.
6. To make the rolls, place a tomato at the end of a strip of aubergine. Gently roll up and secure using a cocktail stick or two.
*If you want to add nutritional yeast then sprinkle this on the aubergine strip before rolling around the tomato.
*If you want to add mozzarella, then add a thin layer on the aubergine and roll up with the tomato. Ensure it is secure then place back in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese.
What will you be eating this festive season?