Whether you call them eggplants or aubergines – they are delicious and there is so much that you can do with them. This classic comforting Italian dish makes great use of them.
Being a vegetarian, aubergines (as we call them here in the UK) are a staple in our diet, due to their meaty texture. No, I don’t need a meaty texture because I miss meat, but it’s nice to feel like there is some bulk to vegetarian meals and aubergines are the perfect way to do that.
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I have been meaning to lighten up this recipe for a while, and it was actually really easy. Traditionally this recipes has a ton of cheese, and uses 2 different types of cheese, and is then topped with breadcrumbs. I just used less cheese, and just one type of cheese, and skipped the breadcrumbs. I also bulked it out with loads of extra vegetables, because, why not?! Spinach is a bit of a random addition to it and I am sure any Italians reading this are screaming at their computer screen, but it totally works and this is my version of the traditional recipe.
It’s not just the aubergines that are the star of the show here, but they share the stage (or should that be dish?) which the tomatoes, which are an important part of the dish. Because they are important, good quality tomatoes are essential, which is why I have used Cirio Plum Tomatoes. I personally prefer tinned plum tomatoes to tins of chopped tomatoes as they haven’t already been broken down and you can easily squash them with a wooden spoon when they go in the pan.
I don’t think that aubergines get enough love in recipes, so I am going to be posting some different ways that they can be used beyond baba ganoush and this dish. Don’t get me wrong, I could eat babaganoush all day every day though. I wonder if there is a job that would let me do that? *sends CV*. Although I think I would end up hating them, like my friend who worked in a chocolate factory, he ended up being sick of chocolate and I am just not ready to risk that with my beloved aubergines.
Did you know that aubergine is a good source of fibre, vitamins B1, B6 and K and also potassium. So, even more reason to make this delicious dish.
Ingredients – Serves 4:
– 3 large eggplants/aubergines
– 3 garlic cloves
– 1 bottle of Cirio Passata
– 1 onions, diced
– 1 carrot, diced
– 2 ribs of celery, diced
– 8 mushrooms, sliced
– 2 handfuls of spinach
– 1 handful of fresh basil, chopped
– 50g/0.5 cup vegetarian parmesan
1) Slice the eggplants/aubergines into circles and put on a couple of baking trays and cook at 220C/400F for 30 minutes, turning half way through.
2) Heat a little oil in a large pan and add the onions, mushrooms, carrot, celery and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.
3) Add the passata and cook for 3 minutes and then add the spinach and basil and cook for a further 1 minutes.
4) Start assembling your eggplant parmesan by putting some of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish (the one I used was about 12 inches). Top with some aubergine slices, a little parmesan and some cracked black pepper.
5) Repeat this process and finish with a layer of tomato sauce and sprinkle with the last of the parmesan.
6) Bake at 220C/400F for 25 minutes.
Nutritional Information – per person :
Weight Watchers SmartPoints: 2
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**This recipe is commissioned by Cirio, however all opinions are my own**