Christmas is well under way chez Thinly Spread. The Christmas trees are up, festooned with our ever growing collection of beautiful baubles and the 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!
How to Make Involtini
Traditional Italian Involtini are little bundles made up of a delicious filling wrapped up like a little gift with a tasty outer layer. They are often served nestled in a tangy tomato sauce and baked in the oven. My version uses roasted aubergine as the wrapping around a spiced nut and fruit filling. Served with a fresh mint dip they are perfect finger food for the vegan Christmas buffet.
The main flavour in these vegan canapés comes from the North African spice mix known as Ras El Hanout. It is a warmly spiced blend of coriander, cumin, chilli, cinnamon, paprika, cardamom, ginger and turmeric and 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 was instantly transported back to a cave in the Sahara desert where I ate couscous and spiced vegetables, sprinkled with dried rose petals and washed down with mint tea, heavenly!
Shake It Up A Bit – Some Alternatives
This recipe is easily adapted to suit individual tastes. Here are some suggestions for ingredient swaps. Do let me know if you have any more!
- Swap almonds for brazil nuts or hazelnuts or leave nuts out altogether and use fresh breadcrumbs instead.
- Use a spoonful of curry paste in place of the tomato puree for a spicier bite.
- Make a simple roasted red pepper dip instead of mint.
Looking For More Recipes For Vegan Canapés? Try:
Needing Some Vegan Christmas Inspiration? Try:
- Cashew Nut Roast
- Chestnut Roast
- Christmas Chutney
- Hummus and Carrot Tart with Caramelised Onions and Thyme
- Chocolate Tiffin
- Mushroom Pâté with Walnuts and Sherry
Aubergine Involtini with Mint Dip
- 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 ground almonds
- 10 g sultanas
- 10 g flaked almonds
- 6 cocktail sticks
- Dried rose petals to serve optional
- 20 g 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.