This recipe is perfect during those moments when you're anxiously leafing through endless plant-based recipes in a panicked, desperate search for something appropriate, yet delicious for your vegan, gluten-free dinner guest. Whilst also fretting whether yourself and guests will feel like they're missing....something? Well, rest assured this recipe will satisfy even the most carnivorous of your cohort as it comprises of a wonderful variety of colors, flavors and more importantly, textures.
Perhaps my only qualm with vegan-friendly food (in addition to not containing the magical thing that is cheese! Sorry vegans..) is the miserable mushiness of it all. Given that there is no beef steak to gnaw into, or squeaky haloumi cheese to chew... I firmly believe that nuts are the answer to creating wonderful vegan dishes. Whether it be walnuts: pistachios, flaked almonds or pine nuts these lovely crunchy morsels once toasted in a dry pan, provide important texture and joy. However I'm sure hard-core vegans would disagree with me!
So far as this particular recipe, the wholesome aubergine steaks are succulent and the za'atar provides a divine nuttiness.
Ingredients (serves 4)
3 large aubergines, sliced but chunky
3 courgettes, sliced length-ways
2 large sweet potatoes
2 romano peppers, sliced length-ways
a slosh of garlic oil (or alternatively 1 clove of garlic, crushed)
a generous slosh of olive oil
a small handful of fresh coriander, chopped finely
1 tbsp of paprika
1 tsp of cayenne pepper
1 handful of pine nuts, toasted
salt and pepper
For the Tahini dressing
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp of tahini
1 tbsp of water
a squeeze of lemon juice
1 tsp of cider vinegar
1 tsp of oregano
salt and pepper
a sprinkling of chopped, fresh coriander to garnish
You will need at least 4 baking trays for this recipe.
Heat the oven to 180c.
Slice your sweet potato into wedges, leaving the skin on (it is a great source of fibre...aka it helps you poop). Then place the wedges in a tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle plenty of salt, pepper, the paprika and cayenne pepper. Rub in the oil and spices, turning the wedges and then place in the oven, the wedges should take about 40 mins to be soft and crispy.
Whilst the wedges begin to cook, slice your aubergine. Place the slices on sheets of kitchen roll and sprinkle with salt, then place them upside down on the kitchen roll. You will notice that the aubergines will begin to seep a liquid, do this on both fleshy sides of the aubergines. (This process makes the aubergine less bitter and is essential)
Place the aubergine slices in a tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with za'atar, rub them gently as you did the sweet potato then score them with a knife with vertical and horizontal lines (this will make sure the flesh cooks well). Place in the oven for roasting.
Slice Roman peppers and the courgettes, then place in a baking tray. Drizzle both vegetables with the garlic oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper as well as the fresh coriander. Place in the oven for roasting.
Whilst all the vegetables are roasting, prepare the tahini dip by mixing all the ingredients in a small bowl, the more you stir, the better the consistency. Taste to determine if it needs more lemon or seasoning, trust your taste buds.
Once all the vegetables are soft and cooked, remove them from the oven and leave them to stand. Meanwhile, place the pine nuts in a small frying pan and dry-fry them (without any oil) until toasted. Keep a vigilant eye on the nuts as they burn very quickly, once they begin to brown and you can smell them roasting remove the pan from the heat. Serve all the vegetables, drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with the pine nuts.
The Foody Girl