Recipes and facts- Aubergine

Aubergines belong to the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers. These are all the edible parts of flowering plants from the Solanaceae family.

Aubergines an excellent source of fibre while being low in calories, and are a great source of some vitamins and minerals which you need in your diet.

Aubergines are a good source of vitamins B1 and B6. Vitamin B1, also called thiamine, helps your body turn food into energy and can also help keep your nervous system healthy. Vitamin B6, which is also known as pyridoxine, helps the body use and store energy from carbohydrates, and helps keep our red blood cells healthy.

There are lots of ways to cook this unique fruit, from roasting and frying to stewing and even BBQing. 

Recipes

Sicilian spaghetti alla Norma – Jamie Oliver

Aubergine & chickpea bites

Burnt Aubergine Veggie Chilli

 

Sicilian spaghetti alla Norma – Jamie Oliver website

Aubergine, baby capers and basil

  • 2 aubergines
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • ½ a bunch of fresh basil , (15g)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon baby capers
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 x 400 g tin of quality plum tomatoes
  • 320 g dried wholewheat spaghetti
  • 50 g pecorino cheese
  • extra virgin olive oil

Chop the aubergines into rough 2cm chunks. Place into a colander in the sink, sprinkle with sea salt to draw out the moisture, then set aside for around 20 minutes.

Peel and finely slice the garlic, then pick the basil leaves and finely slice the stalks.

Rinse the aubergine and pat dry with kitchen paper, then place into a large bowl with the oregano, chilli flakes, a splash of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Toss together well.

Drizzle a splash of olive oil into a large frying pan over a medium heat. Once hot, add the aubergines in a single layer, and fry for 5 to 8 minutes, or until softened and golden, stirring occasionally – you may need to do this in batches.

Add another splash of olive oil, followed by the garlic, capers and basil stalks, then cook for a further 2 minutes, or until golden.

Stir in the vinegar and the tomatoes, breaking them up with the back of a spoon. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes, or until thick and glossy.

Cook the spaghetti in a pan of boiling salted water for 8 minutes or until al dente, which means that it should be soft enough to eat, but still have a bit of bite and firmness to it.

Drain the spaghetti, reserving a cupful of the cooking water, then add a good splash of the reserved water to the aubergine sauce.

Finely grate in half the cheese and tear in most of the reserved basil leaves. Add a lug of extra virgin olive oil, then season to taste.

Add the spaghetti to the sauce and toss well, adding an extra splash of the reserved cooking water to loosen, if needed.

Divide between bowls, grate over the remaining cheese and finish with the remaining basil scattered on top.

 

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Aubergine & chickpea bites – BBC Good Food website

Ingredients

  • 3 large aubergines, halved, cut side scored
  • spray oil
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 400g can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tbsp gram flour
  • 1 lemon, ½ zested and juice, ½ cut into wedges to serve (optional)
  • 3 tbsp polenta

For the dip

  • 1 tbsp harissa (we used Belazu rose harissa)
  • 150g coconut dairy-free yogurt (we used Coyo)

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Spray the aubergine halves generously with oil, then put them cut-side up in a large roasting tin with the garlic, coriander and cumin seeds.

Season, then roast for 40 mins until the aubergine is completely tender. Set aside to cool a little.

Scoop the aubergine flesh into a bowl and discard the skins.

Use a spatula to scrape the spices and garlic into the bowl.

Add the chickpeas, gram flour, lemon zest and juice, roughly mash together and check the seasoning. Don’t worry if the mix is a bit soft – it will firm up in the fridge.

Shape the mixture into 20 balls and put them on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, then leave to chill in the fridge for at least 30 mins. Swirl the harissa through the yogurt and set aside. Can make ahead to this point the day before and kept covered in the fridge.

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Tip the polenta onto a plate, roll the balls in it to coat, then return them to the tray and spray each one with a little oil.

Roast for 20 mins until crisp, hot and golden.

Serve with the harissa yogurt and lemon wedges, if you like.

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Burnt aubergine veggie chilli – BBC Good Food website

Ingredients

  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or rapeseed oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 70g puy lentils or green lentils, rinsed
  • 30g red lentils, rinsed
  • 400g can kidney beans
  • 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 20g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 800ml vegetable stock
  • ½ lime, juiced

To serve

  • brown rice
  • tortilla chips, mashed avocado, yogurt or soured cream, grated cheddar, roughly chopped coriander (optional)

If you have a gas hob, put the aubergine directly onto a lit ring to char completely, turning occasionally with kitchen tongs, until burnt all over. Alternatively, use a barbecue or heat the grill to its highest setting and cook, turning occasionally, until completely blackened (the grill won’t give you the same smoky flavour).

Set aside to cool on a plate, then peel off the charred skin and remove the stem. Roughly chop the flesh and set aside.

In a large pan, heat the oil, add the onion and carrots with a pinch of salt, and fry over a low-medium heat for 15-20 mins until the carrots have softened.

Add the aubergine, both types of lentils, the kidney beans with the liquid from the can, soy sauce, tomatoes, chocolate, chilli powder, oregano and the spices.

Stir to combine, then pour in the stock.

Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to very low.

Cover with a lid and cook for 1½ hrs, checking and stirring every 15-20 mins to prevent it from burning.

Remove the lid and let the mixture simmer over a low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 mins until you get a thick sauce.

Stir in the lime juice and taste for seasoning – add more salt if needed.

Serve hot over rice with whichever accompaniments you want!

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