Aubergine and green bean jambalaya

This hearty vegan rice dish is as flavourful as it is vibrant. Soft cubes of aubergine soak up the wonderful aromas of garlic, paprika and chilli, while the green beans and pepper add a satisfying crunch.

Turn the heat up on your taste buds with this veggie variation of a Louisiana classic. It’s super healthy, simple to make and it’ll be on the dinner table in half an hour. Perfect for a mid-week meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped into small cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 aubergine, cut into small cubes
  • 150g long grain rice
  • 75g frozen or fresh green beans
  • Plenty of salt and pepper
  • Green salad to serve

Method

  1. Put a large pan on a medium heat and pour in the oil.
  2. When the oil has heated up, tip in the onion and pepper and fry for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Take the pan off the heat while you add the chilli, paprika, garlic and thyme. Combine the spices with the onion and pepper using a wooden spoon and return to the heat.
  4. Stir in the aubergine, ensuring the spice mixture covers it all. Then add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes and rice. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring to combine everything.
  5. Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil.
  6. Pour the green beans in, season the mixture, stir well, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir 2-3 times while it’s simmering to check the rice isn’t sticking to the pan.
  7. After 20 minutes, try a bit of the jambalaya to check the rice is cooked. Season well and leave to stand for a few minutes. Serve in bowls with fresh green salad leaves.

This recipe was inspired by Leon’s Aubergine Jambalaya.

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New Year store-cupboard supper: Aubergine and broad bean curry

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas break and are feeling rested for the new year ahead.

As is only to be expected over Christmas, I’ve been eating a lot of indulgent food and having a few too many large helpings of Bailey’s on ice. I had a break from cooking while visiting family, but am excited to share more recipes with you in 2016.

As I’m sure it has for many people, my January has got off to a frugal start, especially as I’m saving to get married this year. I’m attempting to take packed lunch into work every day this month and trying to resist the temptation of eating out (though I’m doubtful on that front).

This evening I conjured up this store-cupboard supper of aubergine and broad bean curry, which I used with leftover ingredients in the fridge and cupboards. I’m really pleasantly surprised by the end result; it was delicious!  

This is a low-fat vegan curry, using lighter coconut milk. The sweetness of the coconut milk is balanced out by earthy tomatoes, forming a rich, moreish sauce. The texture of the soft aubergine slices are contrasted nicely with the firm broad beans.

I just happened to have a can of broad beans hanging around, but you could easily add an alternative pulse like butter beans, or perhaps some green beans, to retain the lovely green colour.

Serve this with brown rice and a dollop of mango chutney if you fancy and you’re in for a tasty yet healthy meal. And, it’ll be on the table within 45 minutes, so it’s achievable for a weeknight.

Ingredients

  • 1 large aubergine
  • 2 small red onions, or 1 large one
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1.5 tbsp Balti paste, or an alternative medium curry paste
  • 350g chopped tomatoes
  • 250g lighter coconut milk
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 can broad beans or 195g frozen or fresh broad beans

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 35-40 minutes
Serves 3

Method

  1. Peel and chop each onion in half, then finely slice and dice them.
  2. Pour the oil into a wok or large frying pan and put on a medium heat.
  3. While the oil is heating through, chop off the ends of the aubergine and slice in half longways. Slice each half into fairly thin half moon pieces, around 3cm, so they’re thick enough to soak up the lovely spices, but not so thick that they’ll take a lifetime to soften.
  4. Add the onion and aubergine to the pan and cook for around 10 minutes, or until the aubergine pieces begin to turn translucent. Stir frequently.
  5. Meanwhile, put some water on to boil in a saucepan, ready to add your brown rice. I use two mugs of water to one mug of rice for two portions.
  6. When the aubergine looks translucent, stir in the garlic cloves and balti paste. Pour in the chopped tomatoes, coconut milk and 100ml of water and bring to the boil, stirring everything in together.
  7. Add the ginger and coriander and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. When the water for the rice is boiling, pour in the rice, stir well and simmer for 25 minutes.
  9. When the curry has been simmering for 15 minutes, tip in the broad beans and mix in with the curry. Continue simmering for a further 10 minutes.
  10. When the curry sauce has reached a deep red colour and has thickened up, take the pan off the heat and season well. Serve alongside the brown rice.

This recipe was inspired by Nigel Slater’s aubergine curry (Guardian website).

Feta and ratatouille crumble

Sweet and succulent Mediterranean vegetables layered with salty, crumbly feta cheese are topped with a cheesy, soft crumble to bring you comfort and warmth on a cold and dreary autumnal evening.

I love ratatouille. Originating from Nice in France, it’s a traditional stewed vegetable dish made up of many of my favourite veggies. It’s so colourful, so healthy, and oh so tasty. I think it’s highly underrated.

My first memory of trying ratatouille was as a teenager. In the summer holidays, I often went round my friend Jade’s house and we’d eat whatever we could find in the kitchen cupboards; cold baked beans (still a fond snack to this day), pasta, soup and the like. But by far the most memorable was tinned ratatouille. Never once had I come across this creation. This rich, tomatoey vegetable goodness. We’d warm it up and eat it on its own while watching music channels. I always remember it being absolutely delicious, even out of a tin.

This version I’ve put together is a little on the naughty side; incorporating cheese and butter into the mix. But with four different vegetables, the good outweighs the bad.

Ingredients

  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 courgette, chopped into small cubes
  • 1 aubergine, chopped into small cubes
  • 2 peppers: I used green and orange, chopped into small chunks
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 80g feta
  • 120g plain flour
  • 65g butter, softened
  • 10g cheddar, grated
  • Handful of fresh basil, finely chopped
  • Plenty of seasoning

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes to an hour
Serves 3 with a side dish (or 2 greedy people)

Method

  1. Put a large frying pan on a medium heat and pour in the olive oil.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the aubergine and sprinkle over a teaspoon or so of salt to help it cook. Cook for three minutes or so.
  4. Tip in the peppers and cook for another couple of minutes.
  5. Drain the chopped tomatoes in a sieve to get rid of the watery liquid.
  6. Pour the tomatoes into the frying pan along with the courgette and basil and stir well. Lower the heat very slightly and leave to cook for 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables soften.
  7. Turn the oven on to gas mark 5.
  8. While you’re waiting for the vegetables to cook, make the crumble. Pour the flour into a deep bowl. Chop the butter up until small chunks and tip it into the bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour for a few minutes, until they form a breadcrumb consistency.
  9. Tip the cheese into the bowl, add plenty of seasoning and mix the cheese in with the breadcrumbs.
  10. When the vegetables have softened, pour them into a medium sized baking dish and evenly disperse them along the bottom of the dish. Season well. Crumble over the feta cheese and top with the breadcrumb mix, making sure the cheese and breadcrumbs cover the ratatouille evenly.
  11. Put in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the crumble has browned on top.
  12. Serve with a side of vegetables, like sweetcorn or broccoli.

This recipe was inspired by Plum Kitchen’s ratatouille and goat’s cheese crumble

Aubergine chilli

Vegetable chilli is a great mid-week meal; it’s healthy and versatile, giving you the chance to tick off a number of your five-a-day in one pop. And, it’s flavoursome and quick to make. 

I got an email from Sainsbury’s magazine this afternoon, advertising their veggie chilli recipe so I decided to base my concoction on that. However, there’s one obvious fault with their recipe: it’s got no chilli in it! Absurd, surely?

It’s quite rare that I’d go out of my way in the week to buy extra ingredients especially for a dish. I will generally match what’s in the fridge and cupboards and try and create something tasty. Wasting food is one of my pet hates. Hence this slightly left field dish.

IngredientsAubergine chilli

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 peppers (I used 1 orange and 1 yellow), chopped roughly into squares
  • 1 medium aubergine, cut into small cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 200g green lentils
  • a squirt of tomato puree
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • a large sprinkle of chilli flakes
  • 0.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 100ml water
  • pepper to taste

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves 2-3
Suggested sides: basmatic rice and a corn cobette on the side

Method

1. Put a large frying pan on a medium to high heat and pour in the olive oil. Wait for it heat up: pick the pan up and if it swirls around easily, it’s ready.

2. Add the onion and peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes, until they begin to soften.

3. Pop the aubergine into the pan and sprinkle the salt and pepper over it. Cook for 5 minutes, mixing frequently, until the aubergine is tender.

4. Add the garlic and spices and lower the heat slightly. Combine thoroughly with the vegetable mixture.

5. Pour in the tomatoes, tomato puree and lentils, and stir. Turn the heat up and add in the water. Bring to the boil, stirring often. Simmer the chilli gently for 15 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, cook the rice and the corn cobette.

7. When the chilli has thickened, season it to taste and serve with the rice, sweetcorn and some guacamole or sour cream.

Recipe to follow for my home made citrus guacamole…