little gem boats with aubergine cream

Pic: Barbara Zonzin

These little boats filled with silky aubergine cream are perfect for a hot Summer day. You have to use the oven, it’s true, but you can do that in the evening, after the hottest hours, so that the cream is ready to eat and chilled to perfection the day after and you can enjoy it in the garden, at a picknick or at the beach.
If you don’t want to spread it on lettuce leaves you can also serve it on rice crackers, crostini, bread and the like, or as a dip with carrot, bell pepper and celery sticks, or with radishes and other crunchy vegetables. Or use is it as a sauce for burgers too!

If you can’t get any mini Romaine lettuce – Little Gem – you can also use Belgian endive, red radicchio or other types of salad.

This dip/cream is so delicious that once you have tasted it you will become addicted! 🙂 Plus it’s totally plant-based (vegan).

This is the video recipe made by Job Hendriks (in Dutch, I’m afraid….). The written one is under the video:

And if you’re interested in following one of my vegan Italian cooking workshops go to this page!

Barchette di insalata con crema di melanzane

Serves 4-6


2 large aubergines (approx. 800 gr. skin and all)
6 sprigs of basil, plus a few extra ones
a few sprigs of fresh oregano
10 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus a little extra
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 organic lemon
sea ​​salt
black pepper
a pinch of dried chili flakes
2-3 mini Romaine lettuce heads (Little Gem)
radishes, cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs and chilli peppers to garnish

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Remove the green stalks and cut the aubergines in half lengthwise. Score the flesh with a criss-cross pattern making sure you avoid cutting the skin.

Grease the surface of the aubergine halves with olive oil using a kitchen brush and place in the hot oven cut side up on a dish lined with baking parchment.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until very tender and well cooked. Check from time to time because every oven is different.

When the aubergines are golden and soft, let them cool slightly and scrape out the flesh with a spoon. Put it in a measuring cup and add olive oil, oregano and basil leaves, chilli flakes, peeled garlic cloves, grated zest of half a lemon, a little lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. Puree everything with the blender to obtain a smooth cream.

Chop the extra basil leaves and add to the cream for extra color and taste.
Serve the aubergine “pâté” on the lettuce leaves, garnished with sliced radishes, half cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs and some fresh chilli.