Aubergine & Chickpea stack

This little beauty will excite the veggies amongst us and hopefully the non-veggies too. It looks beautiful and for those on a quest to learn how to cook, this is fab as it’s another extremely versatile dish so if you wanted to add a few steak strips or something similar to it, you just crack on and make the dish your own.

You will need: 

  • 1 aubergine sliced
  • Can of chick peas (organic is best)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Red onion chopped
  • Basil
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Rocket or other leaves
  1. Wash and add your cherry tomatoes to an oven proof dish with the red onion, cover with a little olive or spray oil and finely chopped basil. I used frozen basil today as I'd no fresh, it works just fine. Place in a preheated oven at about  200c for about 5 mins, after 5 mins take out of the oven and add your drained chickpeas. Roast for another 5 or so mins. The chickpeas just need to be heated up not cooked. This part is not time critical as if you go over the suggested time, the tomatoes just get softer and sweeter, be careful of over roasting though as they'll turn to mush but even then, they'll be okay to use. The chick peas, however, will start to dry out after about 10/12 mins.
  2. While your tomatoes are cooking, slice your aubergine into about 10-12 slices and sprinkle with salt. It’s important to sprinkle with salt as the salt draws out the moisture and stops the aubergine from going soft and soggy. Leave it to work its magic for about 5 mins.
  3. Heat a griddle pan to a med/high heat, if you don’t have one get it on your Christmas list and heat a frying pan, lay the slices on it so they are not touching and griddle for about 2 mins a slide. If your pan / griddle sticks you might like to add a bit more spray oil to the aubergine. When they are cooked save the bits that look the nicest for the top of the stack.
  4. Place the rocket, or your chosen leaves, in the middle of the plate and lay a bit of aubergine on top of it, then using a teaspoon place the tomato and chickpea mix on top, add another aubergine slide, more tomato & chick pea and then finally finish with your best looking aubergine slice.  You don’t have to contain the mix on top of the aubergine slice as it looks quite nice when they fall and scatter around the plates.

    Hints, tips and variations 

You'll notice in the picture that my oven dish was too big for what I was using, so because I wanted to retain the juices and keep the heat in I made a mini dish using tin foil. This is a fab tip I do it all the time!

There are so many variations to this dish, you can almost use anything you have in the fridge. You can even serve it cold with chicken, red onion and avocado or hot with chicken, onion and whatever veggies you have in the fridge up to use them up, peppers, onions etc. will work better than things like broccoli which will be hard to stack. Steak, peppers and onion flavoured with fajita or Cajun spices would be nice too. As long as the filling is cut into small pieces you'll be fine with the stack. You could even dollop a bit of hummus on and make a burger type dish, as well as adding a salsa, really your options with this dish are almost limitless. I learnt this from a friend who served it cold and used chickpeas, avocado, tomatoes, with a dressing of lemon juice, garlic and coriander. I didn’t have those things in when I made it so I just adapted it to what was in my cupboards so you can adapt it to suit you too.

Sometimes at home I'll make dinner but change what I'm having from what my partner or friends are having, as an example I might make a clean tomato & chicken pasta sauce but I'll have mine with broccoli as opposed to pasta. For this dish I sometimes add a bit of halloumi cheese into the mix. Just pan fry it in a dry pan, you can do slices or diced bits and add it to the plates of your guests. If serving cold feta is another good cheese, but not detox friendly, option.

I just made 2 portions but I could have easily got 4 plates out of the aubergine. I just ate the left over slices cold in a salad later on. You can also preserve the aubergine slices in olive oil. Sterilise a jar, fill with aubergine slices, maybe add a few courgettes or grilled peppers too, and top with extra virgin olive oil. Veggies in olive oil can really look very lovely as a gift.

Happy stacking guys