If you’re Vegetarian or Vegan and you miss the texture of meat - I mean something to really get your teeth stuck into and chew - then a baked aubergine really does satisfy that need. The trick is not to overdo the aubergine or else it will inevitably turn to mush and you might as well be eating Baba Ghanoush (as nice as it is). Underdo it and it turns out slightly raw - yuck!
This recipe shows you how to cook the aubergine just right so it turns out juicy, chewy and 'meaty'. Then you can top with whatever you like really. Here I’ve made a Tomato, Pepper and Puy Lentil Bolognese topped with Feta and Parsley. So so good.
1 medium Aubergine, halved lengthways
1 tbsp of olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 Onion, diced
1 Clove of Garlic, crushed
2 Red Peppers, diced
1 packet of pre-cooked Puy Lentils
2 Tins of Tomatoes
2 tbsp of Pesto
1 tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp of Bouillon
1 tbsp of Dried Oregano
2 tbsp of Tomato Puree
40g of Feta Cheese, crumbled (optional)
Pinch of fresh parsley, roughly chopped (optional)
Green Salad or Steamed Green Veg
Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees. Start by evenly coating both aubergine halves in oil. Do it quickly as the oil is highly absorbent. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the flesh and then place in a baking dish flesh side down.
For the bolognese, fry the onions in the oil for 5 minutes until soft but not brown. Add the peppers and sauce for another 5 minutes. Add the lentils and tomatoes and give a good stir. Fill up half of of the tins of tomatoes with water to get all the excess tomatoes and add this to the sauce. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the pesto, balsamic vinegar, bouillon and oregano. Continue cooking for a further 5 minutes and then add the tomato puree. Check to see if the peppers are cooked right though before taking off the heat. Do the taste test and see if more seasoning or herbs are needed before serving.
When the aubergines are done take them out and carefully transfer to a plate flesh side up. Top with the bolognese, and feta and parsley if using.
If going fully plant-based then lose the Feta and either add Nutritional Yeast or drizzle over some over Tahini and lemon juice.
For a meat-based option, top with a mince meat bolognese or chilli con carne.