One of my favourite meals when we go out for dinner is melanzane alla parmigiana, it’s an Italian dish made from slices of aubergine baked in a rich tomato sauce topped with Parmesan. The only thing is that I always feel the need to get a side of veg, salad or sometimes potatoes because I like a bit more variety and substance.
This recipe came about because I decided to create an aubergine parmigiana styled bake but with a bit more substance and plenty of variety in flavour. I decided to mix in one of my other favourite recipes, ratatouille! The layers of grilled aubergines go perfectly with the soft peppers and I think it makes a delicious low carb alternative to lasagna! Maybe it’s just me but even with this recipe I still need something green on the side! I’d recommend serving with spinach or some griddled asparagus.
The preparation of melanzane alla parmigiana varies from place to place, some grill the aubergine and some deep fry it. I decided to grill it however you can prepare it however you like. Just make sure it is really soft and juicy. A lot of methods call for the aubergine to be salted before cooking, I find that grilling then baking is sufficient to get the aubergine to a suitable level of softness!
Vegan, wheat and gluten free, dairy free
2 cloves garlic
3 mixed peppers (red, yellow and green!)
2 cans chopped tomatoes
Handful black olives – sliced
1 can cooked butter beans
1 cup water
Slice the aubergines thinly (around 1cm thick) and grill or griddle the slices for a minute and a half on each side so they are slightly browned and softened. No need to add oil if you are grilling them but a small amount could be added if using a griddle pan to stop them sticking. Once cooked put to one side.
Thinly slice the onion, courgette and peppers. In a large deep frying pan heat a little oil and add the sliced vegetables and crush the garlic into the pan. Stir fry for 5 minutes until the vegetables are softened. Then add the cans of chopped tomatoes, black olives, some salt and pepper and stir. Put a lid on the pan (or cover with foil) and simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes until the veg is soft and the sauce is reduced and thick. If it looks too thick then add a splash of water.
In a blender mix the beans and water. You can add herbs, garlic and seasoning or just keep it simple!
Preheat the oven to 180c
In a baking/ lasagna dish layer up the ratatouille, slices of aubergine and bean sauce. Make sure the last layer is the bean sauce. Put the bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until it is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden brown.