I'm still really enjoying National Vegetarian Week; I'd forgotten how easy it is to not eat meat. It really is easy. The options are endless. Every day I'm seeing incredible, new plant-based products in the supermarket. The weather had turned yesterday in London. We've gone from glorious sunshine to cold grey skies again, and I really wanted comfort food, specifically, southern American diner style comfort food. I picked up some veggie BBQ ribs, made with peanut and ready to pop straight in the oven, tick! You can't have ribs with mac'n'cheese. And greens. Comfort food doesn’t just have to be stodge, for me, garlic spring greens with bacon are the ultimate comfort vegetable dish. Sadly, all of the good vegetarian bacon substitutes contain gluten - no probs though, I'd just make some out of aubergine. Then there's the ultimate king of the diner menu dish - a blooming onion. They are heaven. A whole, deep fried onion, coated in a Cajun spiced crumb, that fans out like a huge flower, you pick the 'petals' and plunge them into a dip. The thought of getting the deep fryer out and making something deep fried though was not an option, for a start I didn't want to have to clean it afterwards, and I wanted something a bit more healthy, so I decided to find a way to bake one - it didn't disappoint!
- Prep Time10 min
- Cook Time40 min
- Total Time50 min
- Yieldserves 4
For the aubergine 'facon' bits
- 1 medium aubergine
- 2 tbsp fry light BBQ Smokey flavour, (shake, unscrew the lid, and pour out to measure)
- 1 1/2 tbsp tamari gluten free soy sauce
- 1 tbsp vegetarian worcester sauce
- 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 1 paprika
- pinch of salt
- pinch of garlic granules
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
For the garlic greens
- 200g spring greens, shredded
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp butter
- 20ml water
In a medium sized bowl, wisk together the rest of the ingredients until well combined and add the diced aubergine. Toss well coat and then shake them in a collander to remove any excess moisture.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the coated aubergine pieces out across it evenly.
Cook the aubergine for 20 minutes and then turn the oven up to 200 degrees for another 10 minutes.
Remove the aubergine from the oven and leave to cool, it’ll crisp up slightly round the edges but become chewy in the middle.
In a wok or large frying pan, melt the butter over a medium heat and add the crushed garlic, cook for 1 minute and thrown in the spring greens, tossing well to coat in the butter and garlic. Add the water to the pan and continue to stir toss in the pan until cooked through.
Serve the greens with the aubergine ‘facon’ bits on top.