Christmas is well under way chez Thinly Spread with the return to the family fold of our two grown men plus one girlfriend. All the Christmas trees are up, festooned with our ever growing collection of beautiful baubles and my oven is working overtime to keep all these tummies full. Large piles of carbs are the order of the day but I occasionally push the boat out and make some fanciful nibbles to satisfy my inner glamour puss – I long to be the sort of woman who holds elegant candlelit soirees and swans about in a floaty dress, serving up cocktails and vegan canapés but I’m not. You are far more likely to find me in jeans, a Christmas jumper and my clogs but these aubergine involtini persuade me that, one day, my dream may come true!
Easy Vegan Canapés – Aubergine Involtini
I originally created these aubergine involtini as part of a collection of simple canapés for the print magazine Superfood along with these vegan sausage rolls and 4 more recipes which will appear here very soon. Two of them need veganising before I share them as they were created in my pre vegan days – this is my second vegan Christmas and I can honestly say that removing eggs and dairy from my menu has been the second best dietary decision I’ve ever made (the first was giving up meat and fish 33 years ago this New Year!).
Traditional Italian Involtini are little bundles made up of a delicious filling wrapped up like a little gift with a tasty outer layer. My vegan version uses roasted aubergine as the wrapping around a spiced nut and fruit filling, served up with a fresh mint dip. The main flavour in these vegan canapés comes from the North African spice mix known as Ras El Hanout – a blend of coriander, cumin, chilli, cinnamon, paprika, cardamom, ginger and turmeric – which is widely available in supermarkets. Some blends also include dried rose petals which I love in spicy North African cuisine – I sprinkled some dried rose petals over my little bundles when I served them and I was transported back to a cave in the desert where I ate couscous and spiced vegetables sprinkled with dried rose petals and washed down with mint tea, heavenly.
Grilled aubergine slices, filled with spiced nuts and fruit, rolled into involtini and served with a delicious mint dip make wonderful little canapés.
- 1 large aubergine (eggplant)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
- 2 tsp Ras el Hanout spice mix
- 1 tsp tomato puree
- 4 tsp water
- 2 tbsp tahini
- pinch of salt
- 25 g (1/4 cup) ground almonds
- 10 g (1 tbsp) sultanas
- 10 g (1 tbsp) flaked almonds
- 6 cocktail sticks
- Dried rose petals to serve optional
- 20 g (2 tbsp) fresh mint finely chopped
- juice of half a lemon
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Remove the top of the aubergine then cut a thin slice off two sides and discard. Slice the remaining aubergine, lengthways, into 6 equal slices.
Very lightly brush each aubergine slice with a little olive oil and place under a preheated grill for about 20 minutes, turning once, until both sides are golden brown and the aubergine is soft.
Meanwhile, lightly fry the shallot in the remaining oil until soft, add the garlic and Ras el Hanout and fry for a further minute.
Add the tomato puree, water, tahini and salt and fry gently for a further minute.
Remove from the heat and stir in the ground almonds - you should have a spreadable paste, if it is too thick add a little more water.
Spread the almond mixture onto one side of each aubergine slice, top with a sprinkle of sultanas and flaked almonds.
Roll up and secure with a cocktail stick.
Whisk together the mint, lemon juice and olive oil.
Serve the involtini at room temperature with a small bowl of mint dip to share.
Simple Vegan Canapés – Pin my Aubergine Involtini for Later!