So, there’s this thing called Umami Paste. It’s typically a blend of different ingredients, like vinegar, anchovies, tomatoes, mushrooms, spices… and it’s used in cooking (add it to a soup, rub on meats, throw a little in with your eggs) to add a punch of flavor – an umami boost, if you will. (You can purchase it at speciality stores or on Amazon.) Given that most dishes for meat eaters have umami naturally – that very satiating savory flavor experienced most commonly when eating meat dishes – I thought to myself, wouldn’t this be a perfect sauce/paste to adjust (no anchovies here!) for vegans and vegetarians? Hence, my vegan umami paste – seriously good regardless of your meat eating preferences, and definitely a punch of umami to your food! Here, I add it to roast eggplant on grilled bread – KERPOW!
Roast Eggplant Sandwich with Vegan Umami Paste
Vegan Umami Paste
Yield: 1 cup
2 tablespoons double concentrated tomato paste
½ teaspoon soy sauce
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon unsulphured organic molasses
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons porcini dust (.25 ounces dried porcini put through a spice grinder or you can rehydrate .25 ounces of dried porcinis, rough chop them and add to the blender with the rest of the ingredients)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
½ cup green olives, pitted
1 medium garlic clove, minced
4 sundried tomatoes (packed in oil)
Put all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate in between uses.
Roast Eggplant Sandwich
1 large Italian eggplant, cut into ½-inch thick slices, widthwise
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
½ teaspoon ground cumin
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Piece of baguette or ciabatta that has been seasoned and toasted in the oven with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and rubbed with a peeled garlic clove
Flat-leaf Italian parsley, for serving
Place an oven rack on the middle position and preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Drizzle olive oil (a generous amount) on each side of the eggplant slices and season with cumin, salt and pepper. Place on a parchment lined sheet tray.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the eggplant is nice and caramelized.
Spread vegan umami paste on bread. Top with eggplant, a drizzle of olive oil and some parsley leaves.