I'm back on track with vegan January! Hurrah! Not that I ever actually failed or anything (don't worry, I still haven't bought that wheel of brie, despite dreaming about it most nights), but we've spent a lot of time travelling so far this year which has made it tricky to find vegan things to eat - there are only so many things I can think of to eat in the car (I'll admit, there have been a lot of crisps consumed…). However now that we're back home for at least a little while, I'm able to plan out our meals more thoroughly and stock the fridge properly. Cooking proper meals has definitely helped curb my cheese cravings!
So. Aubergine stew. I love it. I couldn't love aubergine any more than I do. A lot of people seem to have something against aubergine, but I think that's just because they're put off by the idea of having to salt it and leave it for half an hour before it can be used. That would totally put me off too, but here's a little confession: I never, ever salt my aubergines. I'm too lazy, and I don't think ahead, so when 8pm rolls around and I think 'oh, I should probably make some dinner', the last thing I want to do is wait another half an hour for my aubergine to sit in some salt.
I know, I know, that probably makes me a terrible person (or at least a terrible cook), but I've never had a problem with using aubergine without salting. If you cook it for long enough (which actually is only twenty minutes or so, before I put you off), it cooks down into soft and juicy chunks that are absolutely perfect in stew.
This tomatoey stew is irresistibly rich and went really well with some pasta, but I'm thinking bulgur wheat would be a great accompaniment too - or just have it on its own with some crusty bread for dipping. It's thick and sticky, and is full of my favourite Italian flavours like black olives, capers, and basil. I also topped it with some pine nuts since I love a bit of crunch.
Literally kept me happy for hours, with a nice big red ring around my mouth.
- 1tbsp oil
- ½ onion, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large aubergine, cut into fairly large chunks
- 100g black olives, halved lengthwise
- 1tbsp capers
- 200ml passata
- 200ml vegetable stock
- 1tbsp agave nectar or honey
- 2tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- Black pepper
- 3tbsp parsley
- 2tbsp pine nuts
- Heat the oil in a saucepan or large frying pan, and cook the onion, garlic and aubergine over a medium-low heat for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and just beginning to caramelise.
- Add the olives, capers, passata, stock, agave and basil, and bring to a simmer. Season with plenty of black pepper. Cook for a further fifteen minutes or so, until the mixture has thickened and the aubergine is very soft.
- Serve with pasta, bulgur wheat or bread, topped with parsley and pine nuts.
If you're in the mood for a warming winter stew, try this mushroom and walnut stew with cheesy cobbler topping: