As I’m writing this, I’m dreaming of the long Summer days and endless warm nights. This introduction is the perfect one for this recipe – which is packed with beautiful Summery flavours that I hope will invoke those same fond summer memories.
I’m talking a whole abundance of Summer vegetables, six to be precise, enveloped in a deep and rich tomato sauce that coats each morsel perfectly. Inside you’ll be digging for the hidden olives and tasting the salty tang of capers on the back of your palate finished with a warm hint of chilli.
To be completely honest with you, the dish was pretty perfect as it was, but I couldn’t resist adding some roasted cauliflower to it. You know it’s my kryptonate. Roasted vegetables are my happy place and they just transform so many different dishes in the simplest but also most complex ways all at the same time. This dish is not only super healthy and packed full of nutrient-dense ingredients that will keep you full all day but reminds me of sitting in the sun for lazy long lunches with my friends.
To me, bold Italian flavours are synonymous with this memory. It makes me remember it, and it makes me long for it – eating big platters of fresh, seasonal and locally foraged food with a glass of cold white wine to wash it all down. Now, I know we can’t socialise right now during to the current and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but this dish is the next best thing. Especially when you close your eyes, take a longing mouthful and just let yourself sit and overcome with happiness – both in your mind and belly!
This one does take a little extra time to cook, but it is really worth it to get that deep intense flavour out of the tomatoes that this dish is just crying out for. Tomatoes have this incredible way of bringing different elements to a dish based on what you are looking for. They can be sweet and fresh, or they can be hearty and rich, and the latter is exactly what we are searching for with this one – and I think we have nailed it right on the head. Once heavy and thick it can cradle the aubergine and cauliflower and stick to its roasted florets.
Roasting the cauliflower is also a step that adds multiple depths of flavour to this dish – when you roast a cauliflower you allow its earthiness and nuttiness to develop deep within itself. The charred tops add a bitterness and roasted sweetness that pairs perfectly in this dish, especially the extra special toppings it has. They are optional, but I would highly recommend them. Finish the dish by adding a cool, creamy and zingy mint cucumber dip to round the dish off and then the roasted cherry tomatoes add texture and crunch, their juices just popping and oozing into the warm stew underneath.
There are a lot of vegetables in this dish, but you don’t have to use all six. Hunt around in your fridge, find what needs using up and pop those in. If you have more peppers and no courgettes – don’t worry – this dish is supposed to be simple and relaxed and personalised each time. Meaning no two bowls are ever the same.
Feel free to swap the roasted cauliflower for roasted broccoli instead or a combination of the two, the green pop of colour adds a fun contrast to the striking reds and oranges from the tomatoes. Speaking of which, you can swap the fresh tomatoes and water for 1 can of tinned. The final product may be a little sweeter due to the additional sweetness in the tin but will be just as delicious.
The olives, capers and chilli are classic ‘puttanesca’ a traditional Italian sauce made using these ingredients along with fresh tomatoes, but I understand that they might not be to everyone’s tastes or preferences, you can remove them and replace with a pinch of salt and cracked black pepper instead.
If you like this recipe, why not give one of my other aubergine recipes a try?
These Baked Aubergines with Lentil Salad, Creamy Hummus and Roast Tomatoesis inspired by a tapa salad and really hits all those wonderfully subtle spiced spots. Fancy something a little heartier?
Try my Roast Cauliflower and Aubergine with Smokey Red Pepper and Chickpea Stewfor the perfect winter warmer and heart-healthy belly-busting dish.
And for something a little lighter, this Roast Fennel, Aubergine and Freekah, Chickpeas and Harissa Dressingticks all the right boxes.
I really hope you love this delicious dish as much as I do; make sure to post and tag with @rebelrecipes #rebelrecipes if you make this dish so I can see and repost your gorgeous creations!
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