(*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)
That is how to make an awesome Aubergine Parmigiana.
I hope that you love this dish as much as I do. If you do make it, I’d love to hear what you thought too.