Harissa Roasted Aubergine Recipe
Hello and a Happy New Year to you all! It's been quite a while since my last blog post but what better way to kick off the new year (and my blog again) than sharing one of my favourite dishes and the recipe!
Whether you've decided to do Veganuary this year or you're just looking to get more plant-based colour on your plate this is a really tasty dish, featuring a much under-rated ingredient in western cuisine, the aubergine. This dish is so rich in flavour, from the smokiness of the paprika, to the warmth of the Harissa then bursting with sweetness from the pomegranate, it truly is a perfect winter-warmer.
As with all dark-pigment plants, aubergines are a fantastic source of health-protective antioxidants which are concentrated in the skin, so leave the skin on when cooking, and when buying choose one that is glossy and firm as they spoil quite easily.
Aubergines are a key ingredient in a popular Arabic dish called Imam Bayildi, which roughly translates to 'the Imam fainted', as according to legend after eating this dish the Imam fainted due to it's deliciousness! Now I'm not saying this dish will invoke the same reaction in you but I always think it's interesting to hear the history of food and quirky stories of how dishes get their names.
Okay, so back to this dish, as I mentioned, aubergine is a rich source of antioxidants but combined with the other ingredients this is a really nutritious meal -
High in fibre
A complete protein
Balances blood sugar levels
Rich in vitamins and minerals
Helps support detoxification
You will need the following ingredients (don't be perturbed there seems a lot, the cooking is done in the oven and it's a really simple dish to put together) -
1 aubergine, slice lengthways & score
1 tin of chickpeas, rinse & pat dry
Cooked quinoa, I use Merchant Gourmet ready-cooked packets
Harissa, I use Belazu Rose Harissa paste
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 small red onion, diced
2 lemons, juice one & cut the other into wedges
1 pomegranate, remove rind to leave just the seeds
Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp smoked paprika
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees (fan)
Place aubergines skin side down onto a baking tray
Into a bowl add 2 tbsp of Harissa paste, two of the crushed garlic cloves & a glug of olive oil, mix well then brush this onto the top of the aubergines until well coated
Add a further drizzle of olive oil onto the aubergines (you don't want them to dry out) & place in the oven for 25 minutes or cooked through until soft
Into the same bowl you used for the Harissa dressing, add the smoked paprika, olive oil & a good pinch of sea salt
Mix together then add the chickpeas & stir until well-coated
Tip onto a baking tray & place in the oven - these will take 12-15 minutes
Into a serving bowl add the crushed garlic, red onion, parsley, a pinch of salt, the juice of one lemon, olive oil & the quinoa
Give a good stir until all flavours fuse
When the chickpeas are cooked add them to this bowl & stir again, this is now ready to serve
To serve, place the cooked aubergine onto the quinoa & chickpea 'tabbouleh', spoon over plenty of pomegranate seeds & garnish with coriander (use parsley instead if you can't stomach coriander!). I also like a generous serving of hummus on the side & some lemon wedges
NB, this is a dish you can really play with flavours & I've been relatively conservative with the quantities above, however if you taste as you're going along you might find you'd like to use more Harissa or add more garlic or lemon for example, just make it your own...& enjoy!