Are you an aubergine lover? Then you are in the right place, have a look at those tomato and cheese topped aubergines!!
In fact, if I say this is delicious it's an understatement and that's all I can say about this recipe.
When it comes to midweek dinners I like to think of quick options, something that is filling and sometimes meat-free since we have agreed in my household, including the kiddos (it was a little harder and more persuading work with Mr and Master?) that we have 3 nights a week vegetarian, 2 meat and 2 nights fish as part of a balanced eating.
I think that if we don't make a pertinent effort we end up eating pretty unbalanced and mostly end up eating too much meat. Yes, we love a piece of meat (oh, yes, I love my meat) but the issue is that we do need a break from it, right?
So, here is an option of a vegetarian dish that could well do on its own and would need no meat, I feel that in this dish the cheese just fulfils that entirely.
Ok, my 10-year-old son is not the biggest aubergine lover but whenever I make aubergines this way I get no moaning, even he is a happy bunny, so, it is a win-win! Yay!
This can be taken in the next day to work just warm it up and fully enjoy it as it actually does make a perfect lunch too.
If you wish to have this with meat, I'd scrap the cheese. Lamb would be the best meat option but that is entirely my taste which doesn't necessarily coincide with yours. It is just a suggestion. Feel free to sprinkle some bacon in the tomato sauce for example.
I have to say I like pork with aubergine too and beef works as well. In the end, it all works so give it a go with or without and I promise you will not be disappointed. When this will hit your palate there is only one word that will come out of your mouth that would be, Wow!
This dish serves 4 if it is a main option but if you decide to have it as a side dish I think it will feed 6 or even 8 people. It also depends if you have another little side or a salad and it depends on how hungry you are and/or how big the aubergines are.
Regarding the tomato sauce, if you don't fancy making your own just use any pasta ready made one but for me, I have to say the home-made one from scratch is the best. Whenever I make my own pasta sauce I make more, two or three portions and I keep it in the fridge. It can last up to a week.
Tomato and cheese topped aubergines
- chopping board
- ovenproof dish
- 4 medium aubergines or eggplants
- 200 g cheese grated, mixed
- 300 ml tomato juice (or chopped, or passata)
- 1 tsp Italian dried herbs (mixed dried) or fresh basil
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/3 tsp pepper
- 4 tbsp parsley chopped
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper or more (optional)
- Wash and cut the aubergines lengthwise. With a knife groove them on the inside lengthwise (3-4 grooves) and across (6-7 grooves) forming some little squares. Sprinkle some salt and set aside for about 20 minutes.
- To make your own tomato sauce, take a cooking pan, place on medium heat put the olive oil, when is fairly hot add the garlic cook for 30 seconds and then add the tomato sauce, the dried Italian herbs a pinch of salt and pepper to taste and let it simmer for 10 min or so on medium-low fire. When finished set aside.
- The aubergines have been resting for a while and they would have collected some juice by now so squeeze all the juice out and place them in the baking tray sprinkle little olive oil all over and place them in the preheated oven at 180°C/350F for 20-25 min.
- Take the aubergines out of the oven and with the help of a spoon, spoon over and in the crevices plenty of tomato sauce. (3-5 spoonful depending on the size of your aubergines). Do not add any salt any longer as the flesh of the aubergines already have salt in and so does the tomato sauce. The cheese would also have its own salt.
- Sprinkle some fresh basil leaves and the cheese. Place back in the oven and bake for another 15 min or so until the top is nice and golden.
- When ready, take out of the oven and serve pretty much immediately. Enjoy!