Baked smoky eggplant & bean casserole with coconut yoghurt, quinoa and broccolini.
This is why I develop recipes and build on existing recipes, make them, check them, tweak them and eat them before I present them here. During the week (Tuesday Sauce Day) I made another fresh batch of tomato sauce without skins. This sauce (one of the 5 mother sauces ) is always good to have on hand, in the freezer, as a way to add moisture to other dishes which is what I did with this vegetarian casserole.
The original recipe from a very reputable site called it a stew. It’s not a stew it’s a casserole, and yes I am being pedantic, but when you struggle to swallow you have to be, to clarify, reputable website, a stew is cooked on the stove top and a casserole is baked in an oven. Different heat directions.
Adding your homemade sauce adds so much depth of flavour to a dish.
This particular tomato sauce I also added in skinless capsicum (peppers) and it has the added layers of bay leaf, garlic, onion and fresh tomato of course. I use this as added moisture and to add further flavour complexity. You could serve this on steamed white rice if you can eat that, or cous cous. I just had some white quinoa I had to use up.
Another great example of how the ‘mother ‘ sauce is added to another dish and this is what takes your cooking to the next level.
This dish is vegetarian and the yoghurt is coconut based. I have never tasted nor used coconut yoghurt before and I am a convert. Using quinoa makes it gluten free also. Here it is and it’s stunning. Good amounts of fibre, carbohydrates & protein.
Baked smoky eggplant and bean casserole
Cook 4 Servings
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil ( seriously you need to leave the olive oil out on the bench whilst making this – eggplant is notorious for soaking it up …Splash it in as you need to)
2 small or 1 large eggplant/s, cut into 2cm pieces
1 large red onion, finely chopped ( .5cm for dysphagia)
3 celery sticks, cut into 1cm pieces ( .5cm for dysphagia)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced ( I grate these finely)
2-3 teaspoons harissa paste, to taste ( as a head and neck cancer treatment survivor I omit this – sometimes I can handle chilli, but to be safe add it as you eat not in the dish)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika, plus extra, to serve
1 teaspoon ground cumin
400g can red kidney beans, rinsed, drained
400g can diced tomatoes ( add in home – made tomato sauce 1-2 cups)
300g (2 cups) steamed white quinoa
Steamed broccolini, to serve
90g (1/3 cup) coconut yoghurt
Preheat oven to 170°C/150°C fan forced. Heat half the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over high heat. Cook the eggplant, in 2 batches, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a plate. Keep an eye on the eggplant it soaks up oil and you will need to continue to keep it moving around the pan whilst browning.
Heat the remaining oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the onion and celery. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic, harissa, paprika and cumin. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until aromatic. Add the beans, tomatoes, eggplant and 125ml (1 ⁄2 cup) water. Stir to combine then bring to the boil. Add in homemade tomato sauce made without skins – add in about 1-2 cups as I find I need the added moisture for swallow capabilities)
Cover and bake for 30 – 45 minutes minutes or until the eggplant is very tender. and stew among serving plates. Serve atop quinoa with broccolini, a dollop of yoghurt and a sprinkle of extra paprika.
Note: Try the broccolini whole other wise I puree it in the blender and served with the dish.