Meatless Monday: Stuffed Aubergines w/ North African & Middle Eastern Fusion [Vegan]

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Serves: 5-6 (as a starter) or 2-3 as a main course
Prep & Cooking Time: 45-60 mins (*Dependant on skill and/or the number of kitchen helpers!)
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, 2*baking trays, small spoon, silicone mat (or parchment paper), large/non-stick pot, frying spatula (or wooden spoon, grater, manual juicer (optional), serving spoon

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, carbohydrates, protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in added sugars, salt and saturated fats!

Hi everyone! Another weekend has come and gone! Did anyone see the two sunrises over the South East this weekend (Saturday in particularly)? It was so beautiful! I guess it does help to soften the blow that our sunrise is currently at ten to eight (roll on winter solstice)! 

Who else was trying to get some Christmas prep organised?! Judging by the number of people buying Christmas plates and red napkins in the stores, we’d say oh, just a few! There’s so much to think about and just not enough time execute it! Last year being a prime example; note to self, do not leave ninety percent of your cooking prep to Christmas Eve- you’re only human (haha!).

Anyways, we’d like to share a recipe a delicious recipe that we made about six weeks ago: ‘Stuffed Aubergines with North African & Middle Eastern Fusion’! It’s a great dish with flavours, food items and themes amalgamated from two similar types of cuisine. 🙂

Simply put, our “Roasted aubergine ‘boats’ are stuffed full of deliciously seasoned and textured bulgur wheat; experience the tastes of the M. East with a tasty ‘Dukkah‘ spice blend and the lovely additions of diced pecans, dried apricots and lemon zest. All topped with a tomato and chickpea mixture, exploding with the tastes of North Africa (courtesy of a deliciuos ras-el hanout spice blend)! Top them off with some plain yoghurt and pomegranate seeds and get set for a meal that will truly satisfy!”

We’d recommend getting a good quality of ras el hanout. Ours came from Seasoned Pioneers … and it had lovely rose petals in it! Their spice blends can really transform your meal and they’re truly second to none! 

Luckily our guesstimates paid off and there was just enough filling for the quantity of aubergine we purchased! If you are not a fan of aubergine, you can always try this recipe with roasted squash, peppers or beef tomatoes instead. Just adapt the spices and/or ingredients as you see fit, but we hope you enjoy this meal!

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

Quick Foodie Facts:

  • Bulgur wheat is a great whole grain; it’s a quick-cooking form of whole-wheat! It’s a great source of of protein, carbohydrates, minerals, fibre, B-Vitamins and is naturally low in fat!  A versatile and nutritious staple food that is consumed in N. Africa, the M. East, parts of Asia and now many other parts of the world; often used for tabbouleh, but enjoy it as an alternative grain in plant-based ‘burgers’, soups, salads or pilaf! 
  • Aubergines, also know as ‘eggplants’ to our North American friends are a great source of dietary fibre, Vitamins B1, B3, B5, B6, magnesium, antioxidants (just to name a few!) and are naturally low in fat! Enjoy them ‘stuffed’ full of grains and veggies or as part of salads, stews, soups or a tasty addition to your vegetable skewers! 

 

Ingredients:

Need a an easy-print recipe? Print here.   🙂

 

 

Directions:

Heat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/Gas Mark 8. Line two baking trays with silicone mats or some parchment paper.

 

  • Wash the aubergines and then chop and discard the tops.
  • Slice each aubergine (diagonally) into two halves.
  • With a small and sharp knife or a spoon, remove a bit of the middle flesh, so the aubergines will look like ‘little boats’, but do not discard the flesh!
  • Place them onto a baking tray. Drizzle and rub some olive oil over all sides (or spray with some low-fat cooking oil). Keep the aubergines ‘flesh side down’ (unlike what is illustrated in step 6!).
  • Roughly tear (or chop up) the bits of reserved flesh. Place them onto the other tray. Drizzle over some oil. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste. Toss and coat.
  • Place both trays into the oven; the aubergine halves onto the middle oven shelf and the pieces of flesh onto the lower oven shelf. Bake the aubergine halves for 30 mins or until soft and nicely roasted, turning once. Bake the pieces of flesh for 20-25 mins or until lightly browned and softened; toss and turn once. Remove.

 

 

In the meantime, prepare the filling!

  • Peel and dice the garlic and onion. Wash, remove the stem and core and then finely chop the bell pepper.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil ( or use some low-fat cooking oil) in non-stick pot over a medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onion. Gently fry for 1-2 mins or until softened.
  • Add the bell pepper. Gently fry for a further 2 mins or until softened.
  • Add 3g ground cumin and 2g ras-el hanout spice blend. Season with a couple pinches of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.Stir to coat.
  • Add the tin tomatoes, chickpeas, 20g tomato purée and 2 tbsp of water. Stir to combine. Cover and allow to simmer for about 8-10 mins or until hot and slightly thickened.

 

 

Meanwhile, prepare the bulgur wheat according to your packet instructions…

…and prep the last few ingredients!

  • Wash, grate some zest and then juice the lemon. Dice the apricots and pecans. Wash the parsley, remove the leaves from its stem and then roughly chop them. Tip: If you have time, dry-fry the nuts to help release their natural flavour!
  • Remove the tomato mixture from the heat. Add the baked aubergine flesh and pour in half of quantity of lemon juice. Stir through. Taste and season as necessary. Cover with the lid and leave for the moment.
  • When the bulgur wheat has finished cooking, add 1-2 tsp of lemon zest, the remaining juice, apricots, pecans, half of the parsley, 2 tsp dukkah spice mix and a pinch of asafoetida. Season with a little salt and black pepper to taste. Stir with a fork to thoroughly combine and fluff the grains.

 

 

Assemble The Aubergines!

  • Place the aubergines onto a large serving plate. Spoon the bulgur wheat mixture into and evenly between the aubergine halves, gently pressing it snugly into it.
  • Evenly distribute and spoon the tomato mixture over the top.

 

 

Garnish with some yoghurt, pomegranate seeds and/or the remaining fresh parsley if preferred!

 

Enjoy!

Sources
USDA: Nutrient Database
**Recipe updated: 19/02/16
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Slow Cooker Vegetable & Chickpea Tagine

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 12 (*Approx. 3 ladles/person.)
Prep: 45 mins (*Depending on skill and desired serving size.)
Cooking Time: 4-5 hrs (*On a high SC setting.)

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc and (per serving) is low in salt, sugar and saturated fats!

Hi all! We hope that everyone’s had a great weekend?!  It went by all too quickly for us; most likely because we found out we had won tickets to Foo Fighters Friday night (woo hoo!). Did anyone else see this concert over the weekend??? It was pretty amazing and we were really fortunate to receive guest tickets complete with guest privileges (thanks Foo Fighters!)!

Slow cooking may not be very ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ (haha!), but it was good timing that we had made this meal earlier on in the week (it really helped us out with our impromptu/busy schedule)! It just goes to show how unpredictable life really is and why having something that is healthy and quick to hand is always a great idea! #keepthedramaoutofthekitchen

In a nutshell, this stew is versatile, hearty and has a fantastic blend of North African spices; it also provides you with (per serving) 4 of your 5-A-Day! Adjust the portion sizes accordingly, but this one will almost feed an army! Well maybe not…but it will keep an average family going for a while! Feel free to check out our previous butternut squash tagine we made earlier this year!

 

Have a great week and happy cooking everyone!  😀

 

We used some of our slow cooker chickpeas!  NB: We used more tomato purée than what is shown here.

 

Ingredients:

 

Directions:

Peel, trim the ends and chop the carrot into quarters. Peel and chop the sweet potato into 1 cm pieces. Remove the stem and core from the bell pepper and chop it into 1/2 cm pieces.

 

 

Trim the ends and chop the aubergine into 1 inch pieces. Peel and chop the garlic and onion. Peel and grate the ginger.

 

 

Drain, destone and then roughly break apart the prunes. Roughly chop the apricots. Using half the quantity of the coriander, remove the leaves from the stems and roughly chop it. NB: If you’re using tinned chickpeas, drain and rinse them now!

 

 

Place the tomatoes into a slow cooker and roughly break apart with the end of a spatula.

 

 

Place the carrot, sweet potato, bell pepper, aubergine, onion, garlic, ginger, prunes, apricot, chopped coriander, chickpeas, tomato purée, agave, ras el hanout, cumin, cinnamon, pepper and salt into the slow cooker.

 

 

Prepare your vegetable stock and then pour it into the slow cooker. Stir to thoroughly combine.

 

 

Cover with a lid. Place on a high heat setting and allow to cook for 4.5 hrs.

 

Chop and then stir through the remaining coriander leaves. Place the corn flour into a dish with equal parts water. Stir into a paste (this is a slurry!). Whilst stirring, pour it into the tagine. Stir until slightly thickened. Cover with a lid and cook for a further 35-40 mins.

NB: This slows the tagine with the corn flour mixture stirred through.

 

 

In the meantime, toast and chop some nuts (if preferred) and cook some bulgur wheat (or insert preferred grain here!) according to the packet instructions.

 

 

Place the bulgar wheat (or preferred grain) into a large bowl or lipped plate (create a ‘well’ in the centre of it, if desired). Ladle the tagine into the ‘well’ (it will overflow, but this is OK!). Garnish with some soya yoghurt, nuts or more coriander (if preferred).

We used a mixture of toasted pistachios, almonds and cashews.

 

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable and air tight container; reheat and consume within 5 days. Alternatively, freeze the tagine in resealable and air tight containers; defrost, reheat and consume within 1-2 months.

NB: This shows all of the cooked tagine.

 

 

If preferred…

  • Keep the vegetables as authentic, seasonal, frugal, fresh or frozen as preferred!
  • Experiment with your perfect blend of tagine spices and herbs. If you’re willing to spend a few extra pennies… they’re some great spice mixes on the market that will really transform your meal!

 

For all of you Foo Fighter fans out there… these little gems are for you!