Mediterranean aubergines are a simple but effect way to transform these vegetables into a fancy dinner dish.
They make a great vegetarian option - you can serve them up for a family supper or dinner party and guests will eat 2-3 rolls per person. If you're serving this as the main vegetarian option, you may want to serve a few extra for your meat-eating guests as they will probably want to try them as well. They look and smell really appetising in the dish. You need quite large aubergines for this dish to work well, and a large knife to cut them nice and thin, so they roll up well. Top with any cheese you like, but check that it's veggie friendly if necessary.
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 2 good-sized aubergines
- 60g (2oz) stoned olives, drained and chopped
- 60g (2oz) ready-grated vegetarian mozzarella
- About 10 basil leaves
- Fry onion for a few mins in 1tbsp of the oil, add the garlic and cook for 5 mins. Stir in the tomatoes and purée and simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 mins until thickened. Season.
- Cut each aubergine into 8 thin slices. Pick out the largest 12 slices; brush these on both sides with oil, and griddle or grill in batches until browned. Set aside on a baking sheet. Griddle or grill the rest, then chop them and put in a bowl.
- Add 4 tbsp tomato sauce and the olives to the chopped aubergine; mix well. Spoon just over half of the rest of the tomato sauce into dish.
- Set the oven to 200°C or gas mark 6. Lay aubergine slices out on a board and divide the filling between them. Sprinkle with half of the cheese and half of the basil leaves, shredded. Roll each slice up. Pack them in a shallow ovenproof dish, seam-side down.
- Spoon rest of sauce over and sprinkle on the cheese. Bake for 20 mins. Sprinkle with chopped basil leaves.
Top tip for making Mediterranean aubergines
For extra speed, you could use a jar of ready-made pasta sauce and even ready-grilled aubergines.
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Octavia Lillywhite is an award-winning food and lifestyle journalist with over 15 years of experience. With a passion for creating beautiful, tasty family meals that don’t use hundreds of ingredients or anything you have to source from obscure websites, she’s a champion of local and seasonal foods, using up leftovers and composting, which, she maintains, is probably the most important thing we all can do to protect the environment.
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