Aubergine Chickpea Bake
I seem to be going back to my Middle Eastern roots recently where food is concerned. I think Middle Eastern food is so underrated and not many people have even tried it which is such a shame because you will never get a dish that is bland or boring! Many Middle Eastern dishes can actually be quite healthy, although they’re usually heavy in red meat, oil and simple carbs – but if you take out the meat, use less oil and healthier carbs then they can easily be made very healthy!
This aubergine chickpea bake, or ‘tepsi baytinjan’ was one of the many dished I loved growing up. Aubergine is probably one my favourite vegetables, especially in a main dish. As far as vegetables go, aubergine is one of the ‘meatiest’ veggies out there in my opinion. Like meat, they give dishes, especially those that are tomato based, lots of flavour so I always feel it’s a good option for meat eaters who are trying to eat more vegetarian meals, unless they don’t like aubergines, of course!
I think aubergines should always be cooked in tomatoes! The hint of sweetness and sourness from the tomatoes break the bitter taste that you usually get with aubergines.
This aubergine chickpea bake is my take on an Middle Eastern version of mousakka. Typically made with a minced lamb base, topped with fried aubergine slices then everything is covered with a tomato sauce and baked into a thick sauce, perfect with rice or bread. The main difference between the two is that tepsi is not topped with melted cheese.
This is my meat free, version of the tepsi baytinjan which also happens to be dairy free, vegan and gluten free! Instead of frying the aubergine slices I baked them for a lighter, healthier option.
- 1 medium aubergine
- 1 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 1 400g can chickpeas
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup vegetable stock (1 vegetable stock mixed in 1 cup boiling water)
- 1 tsp curry power
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp pomegranate syrup (optional)
- Black pepper
- Olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 200*C (180*C fan assisted)/ 400*F
- Slice aubergine into 1/4 inch round discs and soak in warm salt water for 30 minutes.
- Drain, then brush each side with olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet.
- Bake for around 20 minute or until browned, turning half way.
- While the aubergine is baking, heat a little bit of oil in a pan then sautee the onions for a few minutes until they become transparent. Add in the garlic then mix in the curry powder, cumin and chickpeas. Cook for a few more minutes then transfer to a casserole dish, then arrange the aubergine slices on top.
- In a small pan, add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, stock, pomegranate syrup, basil and black pepper. Bring to a quick boil then lower the heat and simmer for around 5 minutes.
- Pour the tomato sauce over the aubergines.
- Bake for 40 minutes.
- Serve with rice, quinoa or flatbread