Creamy Vegan Oven-Baked Eggplant & Spinach Pesto

No fake cheeses. No packaged “healthy” vegan goods. Just you, me, and nature.

I’m a sucker for a good tomato sauce…but this warm weather has be excited for summer basil and pesto. Our basil plant has already blessed us with a handful of leaves, so I couldn’t resist.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 eggplants, thinly sliced

  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced

  • homemade sundried tomatoes

  • 2-3 handfuls spinach

  • handful of walnuts

  • 1 clove garlic

  • handful of fresh basil leaves

  • fresh oregano

  • 1 peperoncino

  • salt, qb

  • pugliese olives, pitted

  • pugliese olive oil

Preparation:

Line the sliced eggplant and fennel on a plate, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle a little salt. Cook on a grill pan or grill until tender (in a pan is totally fine, too!) Sautee spinach with garlic, olive oil, and salt in a pan until wilted. Blend with peperoncino, walnuts, fresh basil, and fresh origano.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a glass baking dish with one layer of eggplant, vertically. Add a layer of fennel, and a thin(ish) layer of spinach pesto. Top with chopped olives and sun-dried tomatoes. Make another eggplant layer, this time horizontally. Fold the ends of the bottom eggplant layer over the side edges of the top eggplant layer to “close in” the spinach and fennel layer. Repeat until dish is filled. Finish with a top layer of eggplant. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, cut, and serve! Buon appetito :)


optional bonus for non-vegans: sprikle freshly-grated parmigiano reggiano DOP all up in those layers