This aubergine and walnut ragu is simple to make but so comforting. It's versatile too - serve it with anything from pasta to rice, potato wedges, salad, mash or polenta.
This dish is based on a classic Italian meal, but with walnuts, aubergines, puy lentils and anchovies. It makes for a lovely weeknight supper because it's pretty simple to make. You simply marinate the vegetables, then toss them all into one pot. Dr Rupy says he usually serves this with a simple salad, but you can add something starchier if you prefer (we love it with mashed potatoes). This recipe serves four but it's a great meal for batch cooking if you want to double all the quantities.
- 200g baby tomatoes
- 400g aubergines (about 2), cut into 3cm chunks
- 50g walnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 100g celery, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 10g rosemary needles, finely chopped
- 2 anchovy fillets from a tin, chopped (optional)
- 150g puy lentils, soaked in water for at least 20 minutes, then drained
- 10g dried porcini mushrooms, rehydrated in warm water for 10 minutes, drained and rinsed
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 400ml boiling water
- 5–6 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
- 10g fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 15g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- sea salt and freshly
- ground black pepper
For the marinade:
- 30ml olive oil
- 20ml balsamic vinegar
- 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/475ºF/gas 7.
- Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
- Scatter the baby tomatoes, aubergine chunks and walnuts in an oven dish and pour over the marinade. Mix everything together well and bake in the oven for 30–35 minutes until the aubergine and tomatoes have softened and the walnuts have browned, tossing the mixture halfway through so it cooks evenly.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the celery, carrot, shallot and rosemary, season with salt and pepper and sauté gently for 5 minutes until softened. Add the anchovy fillets (if using), lentils and mushrooms and cook for a further 2 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse. Add the tinned tomatoes, boiling water and sun-dried tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes until the liquid has reduced to a thicker sauce consistency. Add the roast aubergines, baby tomatoes and walnuts and simmer for 5 minutes until the puy lentils have cooked but still have a slight bite to them.
- Sprinkle over the parsley and Parmesan and serve.
Top tip for making Dr Rupy Aujla's aubergine and walnut ragu
You could also use any pre-cooked lentils you like for added protein and fibre, or you can leave them out if you prefer a less substantial meal.
How healthy is this meal?
Dr Rupy is a medical man, so it's not surprising that this is a lovely, nutritious meal. 'The nuts provide Omega-3 fats, plus lentils give the dish a good amount of fibre,' he says. 'In combination, these ingredients have a positive impact on your gut microbes, lower inflammation and taste delicious. I usually serve this with a simple green salad as it’s quite satisfying.'
You might also like...