This is a blockbuster bake. Layers of golden courgette, chard, green cabbage, onion, tofu and mushrooms, all smothered in a creamy garlic, cashew and basil sauce. Hows that!
This was loosely based on the traditional French dish ‘au gratin potatoes’, but without the cheese, milk, butter, flour, breadcrumbs or potatoes! So I guess it becomes a good, old fashioned bake!! Its a healthier Beach House number after all. I guarantee that no flavour is lost here, no enjoyment. Just different flavours and ways of enjoying food.
We love a good bake, but generally they just turn into a cheese and fat fest. All that oil and the incredible richness just makes us feel a little sleepy and bloated. We fancied something baked and light and this dish hits that nail right on the head.
As usual, the local farm is producing some quite amazing veggies. This dense courgette was over a foot long and weighed a couple of kilos, that’s a proper vegetable. We thought about roasting it whole but then this little idea cropped up and we haven’t had baked anything for an age now.
The tofu was added last minute, to give it a different texture and more luxurious feel. Tofu has a certain cheesiness to it, like a vegetal haloumi. Viva tofu! Our mate Pete gave us a fantastic Japanese tofu book from the 60’s, the entire history and different methods for producing the wonderful white stuff. We shall be experimenting soon. We forgot to add the sweet peppers here. Red ones sliced thinly, that are unfortunately still in the fridge. They would be a nice addition. Next time. This time, it still tastes quite amazing.
One of the best things about this dish is the leftover potential. Tastes better the day after and is even delicious served cold.
This is an interesting little take on an old classic and with Autumn around the corner, its good to have some new ‘bakes’ up your sleeve.
You can salt and pat dry your courgettes beforehand to get rid of some of their water.
The Bits – For 6 hungry sorts
1 giant golden courgette (or 2/3 normal sized courgettes/ zucchinis)
1 bunch of chard
1 bunch of spring greens (aka dark green long leafed cabbage)
1 block tofu (250g-ish, enough for two layers)
1 sweet red pepper (sliced)
1 big handful of basil leaves
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
1/2 cup cashews (soaked for 1 hour)
1 handful of chopped basil leaves
1 handful of fresh parsley
2/3 cup soya milk (or nut milk)
1/3 cup filtered water
1 big glug of olive oil,
Sea salt and cracked pepper
2 handfuls of roasted cashew nuts
Sauce – In a decent blender, blitz up your cashews until a paste forms, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend until a smooth liquid forms. You may need to scape down the sides of the blender to get it all mixed evenly.
Layers – Slice all veggies thinly, not quite wafer, but getting there. Remove any thick, chewy stems. Add a little sauce to cover the base of your dish (a good thick rectangular baking dish, glass would be nice to see all the layers), begin the layering. Start with the cabbage, courgette, mushroom, onion, pepper, chard, tofu, courgette sauce (repeat once more). That will be three layers of courgette, it should be the last layer on top and will go nice and brown when baked.
The dish should be piled high, don’t worry it will cook down quite alot. Cover with foil and bake for 40 mins (180oC) then remove foil and bake for a further 15 mins or until the top is nice and golden brown.
Topped with roasted cashews, we ate ours with our leaf of the moment, a carrot top salad. Rich bakes just crave for a nice crunchy salad.
We Love It!
Hearty winter fare, but light and healthy. Like a normal bake but without the vast amounts of grease and fat.
The gold in these courgettes makes it a great source of flavanoids, a wonderful thing. They scavenge the body looking for baddies and make us look young and keep us disease free. Courgettes are best stored in a plastic bag in the fridge, they dry out easily.