I have two small eggplant and two zucchini in the fridge (which for some reason I’m stuck on calling courgette at the moment – that’s what happens when you read too many English cookbooks!).

I could do a vego lasagne or curry, but I’m wondering how it would go as ravioli filling.

Don’t even know why I bought two eggplant – I’m one of the large proportion of the population that don’t particularly like the texture of them all that much. They just look so shiny and purple, sitting there on the shelf…

And my sister gave me this awesome bottle of garlic infused rice bran oil for Christmas.

I’ve been using it in everything. It’s all garlicky and yum. So of course that needs to be incorporated somehow.

Of course, my ideas are all far too pedestrian for super-cook Lyndal. She quickly comes back to me with:

Vegie stack! Grill slices of eggplant in a little olive oil and garlic, then layer it with grilled zucchini, capsicum, pumpkin and/or kumara and basil leaves, and feta or grilled haloumi if you have it. I usually serve this with some pesto and mashed potato.

Not sure if eggplant would make the best ravioli filling – might be a bit wet? (Most people would say ‘moist’ here, but Lyn has an unnatural aversion to the word…)If you do try this though, you could BBQ it whole so that it gets a bit of a smoky flavour, then add some garlic, parmesan, herbs and maybe bread crumbs to dry it a little. Or else try to squeeze the liquid through a strainer once it’s cooked. You could go a tomato sauce on top, or if you season and herb the filling enough, just a light olive oil dressing.

Eggplant tastes good in Thai curries, and you could chop up the zucchini into sticks and use this too. I’d probably peel the eggplant first though, as the skin goes tough.

Other than that, roast your eggplant whole until it’s almost cooked, then chop into rough cubes, and heat with some crushed canned tomatoes (not too much) and garlic and basil (you could add chilli flakes too) until eggplant absorbs the tomato juice. Pan0-fry strips of zucchini and layer eggplant, zucchini, fresh pasta sheets, ricotta and pasta sauce. Top with bread crumbs for crunch, add mozzarella and bake. My version of eggplant lasagna. I’d probably add pumpkin too.

I decide to branch out, to not stick with the easy option of lasagna, to do something a bit…risky. It didn’t pay off. My veggie stack is more like a pile of burned and sloppy ickness. I didn’t take photos of my eggplant fail.

Then I’m overwhelmed by talk of sausage rolls. Which is not good when you’re a newly minted vego. I found a recipe for some eggplant patties (eggplant, olive and feta patties), and decide to rework them in to “sausage” rolls.

Eggplant and lentil sausage rolls.

1/2c lentils
1 small eggplant
50g pitted kalamata olives, thinly sliced
1/8c breadcrumbs
1/2c finely grated parmesan
50g crumbled feta
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 sheet frozen pastry (I used shortcrust, as that’s what I had, but puff would be fun too)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Finely dice eggplant, and cook until browned. Add olives, breadcrumbs, feta, parmesan and 1/2 of the egg. Slice pastry into quarters (squares – don’t try to be fancy with triangles or anything). Place quarter of mix onto each piece of pastry and roll up. Use some of the leftover egg to moisten the edge of the pastry and seal closed.

OK, so not so attractive, but give them a chance, they're totally worth it

Cut four thin slices in the top of the roll. Brush with egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Mmm, poppy seeds…

Now we're getting there

Bake around 10 minutes until the pastry is browned and the filling is hot.

Serve with lots and lots of tomato sauce. This counts as an additional serve of vegetable for the day – not that you need it with all the vege goodness in these rolls!

I swear the sauce didn't look that artificial in real life!

Happy vego baking!

Jx

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