NUTRITIOUS AUBERGINE PARMIGIANA
Aubergine parmigiana is a great vegetarian meal to add to your weekly dinner rota. And its a perfect example of a meat-free meal that is full of flavour, interesting and made with really normal ingredients. While it’s a great weeknight meal, you can also dress it up and serve it when entertaining too – even for people who aren’t vegetarian! I like to serve it with an Italian salad with a mix of rocket leaves, avocado and cherry tomatoes dressed in lemon juice and olive oil, which leaves you with a simple, colourful and healthy meal.
If you’re not into dairy, you can easily leave out the mozzarella and grate a plantbased vegan parmesan “cheese” on top instead. It is really tasty even without the cheese, and some of the parmesan alternatives are pretty good! Another way to achieve great flavour is to make sure you go for fresh thyme, oregano & basil, which makes a big difference and really help intensify the flavours for the better.
- 2 medium onions
- 4 garlic cloves
- 4 aubergines
- 2 tbsp oil
- Salt & pepper
- 4 x tins of chopped tomato
- 1/4 cup quinoa
- 6 sprigs oregano or 3 tsp dried
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme (you can do 2 tsp dried as well but fresh will be so much better)
- 1 large zucchini, grated or cut into small cubes
- Splash white wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp fresh basil + more to top
- 200g (7 oz) fresh mozzarella, sliced or torn into smaller pieces
- 30g (1 oz) grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 fresh tomatoes, sliced to top
- Melt a little oil in a large oil or deep pan and saute for 5 mins till soft and translucent. Then add tomato cans, all the herbs, zucchini, quinoa and salt + pepper and stir before reducing to medium heat and leave to simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the sauce is cooking, cut the aubergines into 1-1.5 cm lengthwise slices. Place on non-stick parchment paper and brush the aubergine slices with a little oil. Bake for 20 mins at 180C fan (350 F). Turn over and brush the other side and bake for another 5-10 mins until soft and golden.
- Keep an eye on the tomato sauce as it gradually reduces.
- Add a splash of vinegar and stir well. Then leave to simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
- Once the aubergines are done, remove from the oven. Add a little tomato sauce to the bottom of a rectangular baking dish. Place a layer of aubergine, followed by a layer of tomato sauce and sliced mozzarella pieces. Repeat and finish off with a pieces of fresh mozzarella + tomato slices and fresh grated Parmesan. Bake parmigiana for 25-30 mins at 180C. Once done, top off with fresh basil and thyme and serve hot.