There’s always that need to find one vegetable with a meaty texture to satiate those carnivore cravings when newly transitioning to a more vegetable-based diet. For me it has always been aubergine.
I absolutely love the juicy, chewy consistency of baked aubergine – and better yet when I get a mouthful of it’s skin too! Aubergine is a very filling vegetable, but yet low in calories, so it gives you the impression that you’re filling up more than you actually are.
Furthermore, vegetable substitutions for refined carbohydrates is a tricky feat – I never really bought into the whole carrot or courgette spaghetti as I’d be hungry ten minutes after eating them. However, for some reason, substituting lasagna sheets for aubergine, seems to satisfy my cravings and my stomach, for real. Better again, they are a great source of fiber which leads to all kinds of health benefits so, no complaints.
Each recipe serves 5 and is:
V & D
- Strained tomatoes, 1L
- Onions, x2 medium
- Garlic, x3 cloves
- Honey, 1 tblspn
- Chilli flakes, 1 tspn
- Oregano, 1 tblspn
- Basil, 1 tblspn
- Olive oil, 1 tblspn
- Salt & pepper, a pinch
- Vegetable stock
- Aubergine, x2 large
- Bell peppers, x4 medium (color of choice)
- Carrots, x3 medium
- Mushrooms, 250 g
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Begin by vertically chopping the aubergine into the thinnest, cleanest strips you can without it breaking apart. Lay all strips onto a clean counter or baking paper and add a small pinch of salt to both sides of each aubergine.
- Next, prepare the marinara sauce by adding a generous drizzle of olive oil to a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, after chopping them finely, and stir for a couple minutes to tenderize them before adding the next ingredient.
- Add the garlic, after chopping it finely, and stir it well into the onions.
- Add the strained tomato sauce, honey, chilli flakes, oregano, basil, salt and pepper and stir the mixture well into itself. Leave aside until the vegetables are prepared.
- Peel and chop the carrots finely, then chop the peppers and mushrooms.
- Drizzle the bottom of a casserole dish with olive oil and spread it out over the inside of the dish using one of the aubergine slices. Layer the bottom of the dish with more slices of aubergine (you don’t need to be too particular with this), followed by adding half of the chopped veggies, followed by half of the marinara sauce.
- Add another layer of aubergine slices above this, followed again by the rest of the chopped veggies, and the remainder of the marinara sauce.
- Mix the veg stock with hot water and pour the mixture into the casserole dish until liquid is just slightly above the upper layer of veggies (it is important the veggies are all submerged for them to cook properly).
- Add the dish to the oven to cook for 1 hr 30 mins, adding the top layer of aubergine to the dish after 1 hr. Drizzle the aubergine with olive oil and – if you can – turn the top aubergine slices after 15 mins to allow each side to cook evenly and prevent charring. That’s twice you’ll have to take the dish out of the oven before it finishes cooking, so be careful because the dish will be hot!
I made this dish with the intention of it being low in calories, but feel free to add some white sauce to the top just like a traditional lasagna or even accompany it with some mozarela cheese.