I had my goddaughter staying and she was really keen to cut down on the amount of meat she was eating so during the 6 weeks she was here we tried lots of vegetarian and vegan food. We weren’t interested in making ingredients look or taste like meat – we wanted to show off vegetables in their own right and it was really surprising to me how much I enjoyed them. So much so in fact that I am still eating far less meat even though she has now gone home.
I have cooked this now for quite a few meat eating friends and they have all asked for the recipe. I normally make it in individual serves using enamel pie tins and it can be made in advance and kept in the fridge or even frozen till you want to do the final oven cook so it is perfect for entertaining. Please don’t be put off by the length of the recipe it is actually very simple
Aubergine and Sweet Potato Bake with Walnuts
Ingredients (serves four)
for the tomato sauce
- 2 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes
- 2 x crushed cloves garlic
- pinch chilli flakes
- 75ml red wine (optional)
- 2tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
for the bake
- 450g sweet potatoes, peeled
- 2 tbsp picked thyme leaves
- olive oil
- 2 x medium aubergines
- 200g baby spinach
- 2 spheres mozarella
- handful basil leaves
- 100g walnuts, chopped
- 4 handfuls fresh breadcrumbs
- 100g grated cheddar
- 50g grated parmesan
- Put the sauce ingredients into a saucepan. Bring to a simmer stirring frequently. Turn heat down to low and let bubble away till thick stirring from time to time
- Heat oven to 200c/gas mark 6
- Slice sweet potatoes to thickness of a pound coin. Put on baking sheet, drizzle over 3 tbsp olive oil, the thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper.
- Slice aubergines to same thickness as sweet potato and put on another baking sheet. Drizzle over 6 tbsp olive oil and season.
- Place in oven and roast for 30-40 mins until cooked and beginning to brown. Set aside to cool
- Take a colander with the baby spinach inside it and put in sink. Our over kettle of boiling water so spinach wilts. Cool and then squeeze out all excess water so spinach is dry. Chop spinach
- Put a layer of tomato sauce followed by layer of sweet potato and layer of aubergine in pie dishes. Scatter over all the spinach, half the walnuts, a torn up Mozarella ball divided between the four dishes. Season
- Repeat layering of tomato sauce, sweet potato, aubergine, walnuts and Mozarella this time using basil leaves instead of spinach
- Top with another layer of tomato sauce before covering with breadcrumbs, cheddar and Parmesan.
- When ready to bake cook at 180c for 20/30 mins until golden and bubbling.