My favourite summer salad is made from roasted aubergine (eggplant), sun dried tomatoes, rocket (arugula) and pine nuts. It is so delicious, but not quite hearty enough for these cold wintery days. So I decided to tweak it a bit, add in some pasta and see what happened. Well it was awesome! The sun dried tomatoes simmer down when cooked with the plum tomatoes, basil, salt, olive oil and courgettes to make a wonderfully rich, chunky sauce, which is enhanced by the tender, roasted squares of aubergine, the crunchy toasted pine nuts and the ever so slightly bitter rocket. It’s really a perfect easy supper that will fill you up nicely and it literally takes twenty minutes, it’s really a no fuss situation, which I always love!
One of the things I love most about this dish is the eggplant, it’s a vegetable that I really don’t eat enough but always love. I love how tender and almost spongey and gooey it gets when baked so that it just melts in your mouth, enhancing every delicious bite. Yum.
– 1 aubergine
– 1 courgette/zucchini
– 10 plum tomatoes
– 2/3 of a cup sun dried tomatoes
– 2 handfuls of rocket/arugula
– 1/2 of a cup of pine nuts
– 1/2 a jalapeño pepper
– fresh basil leaves
– olive oil
– pasta of choice (I like brown rice or quinoa gluten free pastas)
Start by slicing the aubergines into bite sized cubes, then sprinkle salt all over them to allow them to sweat – this is important for their flavour as without this step they’ll have a slightly nasty bitter taste. You’ll literally see sweat beads forming on their surfaces, which after about fifteen minutes you can wash off. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 190C.
Once the aubergines have sweated and been rinsed, place them in a baking tray with olive oil, salt and a sprinkling of dried herbs – I like oregano and rosemary. Bake for twenty minutes, stirring them once.
Then, slice the tomatoes into eighths and the zucchini into thin half moons, placing them into a sauce pan with a handful of torn of basil leaves, the sun dried tomatoes, jalapeño pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Allow the pan to simmer for about 10-15 minutes, while you cook your pasta.
Just before the aubergines are ready add the pine nuts to their baking tray and bake for a couple of minutes, until they begin to slightly brown. Then mix them together with the veggie sauce and the drained pasta, adding the rocket as you put the pasta into bowls. Then eat and enjoy!