This lasagne inspired dish is just so delicious and warming, it really is the perfect autumn dinner. The ingredients are wonderfully simple but combine to make a tasty dish that can be enjoyed on its own or as part of a rainbow bowl of goodness. Aubergines (or eggplants) are the perfect pasta replacement - I've used courgettes before but they tend to be a little too watery when cooked - and they really do add the most amazing texture. The olive and red pepper tapenade style topping adds a wonderful richness, while the tomato layers stop the vegetables from drying out in the oven.
Aubergines are packed with essential nutrients and photo nutrients which aid blood circulation and nourish the brain. The skins are particular abundant in these so it is always best to keep the skins on to maximise the nutritional benefit - plus it tastes great too! They are also high in fibre which aids digestion and minimises the risk of colon cancer. Aubergine is also has virtually no fat and have been shown to help to lower cholesterol and control blood pressure thanks to the high levels of bioflavonoids. So compared to your average lasagne sheets, aubergines really are an amazingly healthy swap to make!
Ingredients (Serves 4)
2 aubergines (eggplants)
1/2 of a large onion
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 red pepper
1 coffee cup of black olives
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of herbs de provence (or mixed herbs of your choice)
2 cloves of garlic
2 sprigs of rosemary
Salt & pepper
Optional: chilli flakes
Start by switching the oven to 180°c.
Cut the green ends off the aubergines and slice lengthways using a large knife into slices around 3-5mm thick. Cover the bottom of a baking tray or ceramic dish wish slices of aubergine, alternating the wide and thin ends.
Take half of the chopped tomato and mix in a bowl with the cumin then spread onto the first layer of aubergine. Cover with a second layer of aubergine slices.
Finely slice the onion and spread evenly onto the layer in the dish. Crush one clove of garlic and use your hands to rub it into the onions. Add a little salt and pepper (and chilli flakes if you want to add them) then cover with a final layer of aubergine.
Finally, place the black olives and red pepper into a food processor and add the second clove of garlic (I would recommend crushing this first) and blend for a few seconds until a paste forms. Pour this into a sieve and stir with a wooden spoon to push out any excess water. Once you have a thick paste, spread it evenly on top of the aubergine. Tear the rosemary and sprinkle on top, adding a little salt and pepper.
Then place in the oven to bake for around 40 minutes, or until the aubergines have softened nicely, then enjoy with salad, quinoa, rice or on its own. It also tastes amazing cold with avocado for lunch the following day if you manage to save any!