Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for baked aubergines, chickpeas and tomatoes | Vegan food and drink

The food industry isn’t known for its proverbs. If I were to write one, it might be: “Give a man a frying pan, and he can stand by the stove and make himself dinner. Give a man some oven trays, and he is free to sit on the sofa and watch Love Island while dinner cooks itself.” With that in mind, I’ve adapted one of my favourite things to eat: a scoopable tomato, chickpea and aubergine dish – made with just enough spice to raise an eyebrow – into an oven-based recipe.

Baked aubergines, chickpeas and tomatoes

Think of this recipe as a starting point: you could drop the spices or add a spoonful of harissa, Thai curry paste, some lemongrass, perhaps – you choose! – to change up the flavours, and swap the chickpeas for whatever tinned beans you have in the cupboard.

Prep 5 min
Cook 1 hr 10 min
Serves 4-6

100ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
3 medium aubergines (about 775g)
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp urfa chilli flakes
2 x 400g tins
chickpeas, drained

To serve
200g vegan yoghurt
2 tbsp tahini mixed with 2 tbsp water
Scant ½ tsp fine sea salt
Mint leaves
, chopped

Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Line a large baking sheet (or two medium ones) with reusable baking paper and brush with oil.

Chop the aubergines into 1½cm-thick rounds, put these side by side on the baking tray(s) and brush the tops with oil.

Put the oil and crushed garlic in a 30cm x 40cm baking dish, then add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, cinnamon and urfa chilli, and stir gently to combine.

Pop the tray(s) into the oven and cook for 30 minutes, until the aubergine slices are collapsing when squished together; if they’re not, bake them for another five to 10 minutes. Scrape the aubergines into the tomato dish, add the chickpeas, mix and bake for another 30 minutes, by which time the sauce should be oily, dark and rich.

Meanwhile, mix the yoghurt, loosened tahini and salt in a pretty serving bowl. Spoon the aubergines, tomatoes and chickpeas into another large bowl, add a generous dollop of the tahini yoghurt, scatter over the mint leaves and serve with the remaining yoghurt mix on the side.


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