(*Please note* I do not like food that has too much flavour and thus my recipes are likely to be more bland/basic to some recipes you see but trust me when I say they still taste amazing.)
Today I am here to give you a step-by-step recipe of what has become one of my favourite vegetarian and low-carb meals. This can be made as a side dish or it can be made in a larger quantity as a main dish. Of course, quantities should be played around with and spices mixed until you find what works perfectly for you but this is how I like it.
A while ago I walked into Pizza Express and saw a dish on their menu that caused me to steer away from the lasagna I usually order. This was Aubergine Parmigiana. It was also during my trial gluten-free phase so it just seemed completely perfect. I had never imagined how much I would fall in love with this dish. It tasted of perfection. So much so, that I was determined to re-create the dish at home to eat at my leisure time and time again. A feat I am now glad I did as Pizza Express have sadly removed this dish from their menu (my hopes are that this is only for Spring and they’ll soon bring it back).
However, I had no idea how to go about making this dish, so I knew I had to look for a recipe. There are quite a few out there but then I stumbled on this one by Jamie Oliver. It looked easy enough and affordable, too very good things. So I took a list of what I needed (changing some quantities as I was cooking for me, not for six people) and went shopping. Then I started cooking. The recipe below is very similar to Jamie’s but it isn’t as full of spices and it uses different tomatoes and a different way of cooking the aubergines. This recipe is for beginner cookers, it’s easy to make and trust me when I say that it tastes delicious. It’s not quite Pizza Express standard, but it is still amazing.
(for a main for one /
side dish for two to three people)
1 Large Aubergine
1 Clove of Garlic
1 x 400g Chopped Tomatoes
Sprinkling of Parmesan Cheese
Breadcrumbs (home-made or bought)
Teaspoon of Dried Oregano
Teaspoon of Dried Basil
What You’ll Need
1 Sharp Knife
Garlic Crusher (But not necessary)
Pastry Brush (But not necessary)
1 Wooden Spoon (or equivalent stirring spoon)
1 Frying Pan
1 Oven Dish
1 Blender (if creating own breadcrumbs)
- Turn the oven on to about 190 degrees Celsius/gas mark 5.
- Chop the aubergine into thin slices (roughly 1cm in width). Then brush a little oil onto each side of each slice. (I didn’t have a pastry brush to do this so I put a small bit of Olive oil in a bowl and quickly dipped each slice in, covering both sides). Put to one side.
- Next, chop the onions and garlic. (I diced my onions and finely chopped my garlic but I would also suggest crushing the garlic if you have the tool for it)
- Next you want to turn on a hob and place your empty frying pan onto it because it needs to be hot to cook the aubergine on later.
- Pour a small amount of olive oil into the saucepan and allow it a few moments to heat. Add the onions, garlic and oregano.
- Allow these to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is soft and the onions slightly browned.
- Add the chopped tomatoes to the onions and garlic, stirring it all in thoroughly. Leave to simmer for a further 15 minutes.
- While it’s simmering, add as many aubergines into the frying pan as will fit comfortably and fry both sides until lightly charred. Leave the completed aubergines on a spare plate/baking tray. (see image below) If you can’t fit all the aubergines in the frying pan at once, you can do this in batches.
- With the aubergines finished, if you’re making your own breadcrumbs, place the bread into the blender and blend until you have a good consistency.
- Add a teaspoon of olive oil and a small sprinkling of Oregano to your breadcrumbs and mix well. Leave to one side.
- Once the sauce is finished cooking, mix in the basil.
- Now we need to put it all together. First up layer your oven dish with the tomato sauce.
- Sprinkle the layer with a light dusting of Parmesan
- Add a layer of aubergine
- Continue this process until you have no ingredients left but make sure your last layer is a tomato layer.
- Sprinkle more Parmesan onto the last tomato layer.
- Finally very generously sprinkle your breadcrumbs on top of the cheese until the bake is fully covered. (like in image below)
- Place the dish into the oven for 30 minutes, ensuring that it is a nice golden brown colour. (like the image at top)