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. I have long-believed that the secret to wonderful vegan recipes is the humble nut. Pine nuts once toasted in a dry pan, provide little crunchy nuggets that lift this dish to another level.
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
handful 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. 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.
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 and leave in the oven for 10 minutes or so before adding the peppers and courgettes.
Slice the 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 after 40 minutes or so (keep an eye-out for burning) 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.