Menorcan Chickpea and Lentil Stuffed Aubergines

This recipe is one of my favourites of all time…aubergines, tomato sauce, legumes – what’s not to like?

A vegetarian (can also be make vegan) variation of meat stuffed aubergines, a typical Balearic dish specifically from Menorca where, supposedly, the best aubergines in the world are from.

Easy and very cheap to make this dish is ideal if you are rushing but still fancy something nourishing and delicious.

This dish is packed with fibre, which can help in stabilising blood sugar levels as well as regulating bowel movements. Fibre is fermented by bacteria in the gut, which produce short chain fatty acids (SCFA) as a by-product. SCFA are involved in cellular metabolism regulation, can improve insulin sensitivity and muscular glucose uptake, and modulate levels of neurotransmitters such as GABA and serotonin.

Tomato sauce is the main dietary source of lycopene, a carotenoid which studies confirm has an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action, can help protecting the skin form UV rays and prevent prostate epithelial cell growth.

Both aubergines and tomatoes are nightshades, so I won’t recommend this dish if you are suffering from histamine sensitivity as it could trigger a reaction.

COOKING TIME: 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS FOR 4 PEOPLE

4 Medium aubergines

1 garlic clove

1 shallot

1 packet of puy lentils

½ tin of chickpeas

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

Olive oil

Salt and pepper (to taste)

Spanish paprika (to taste)

To garnish

Fresh coriander or parsley

Pomegranate seeds

Live kefir or feta (diary free if doing a vegan version)

METHOD

Preheat the oven gas mark 5 and place a pirex filled with water at the bottom of it; this will prevent the aubergines becoming dry when cooking. Line a tray with baking paper.

Cut the aubergines in half lengthways and with a sharp knife create a criss-cross pattern on the aubergine flesh.

Place the aubergines on the tray and cook in the oven for 25/30 minutes.

In the meantime, add some olive oil to a pan on medium heat, dice the shallot and crush the garlic clove and add them to the pan to infuse the oil, stirring and being careful not to burn the garlic and shallot. Once the shallot is golden, add the drained chickpeas and puy lentils and stir for 1 minute.

Now you can add a tin of chopped tomatoes, add salt/pepper/paprika to taste and ½ glass of water. Let it cook and reduce stirring occasionally.

Try and see if it is seasoned to taste, and if too acidic add ½ teaspoon of sugar.

Once the water is absorbed and it has quite a thick consistency (think about minced meat) is ready.

Take the aubergines out of the oven and scoop out the flesh (can be used for baba ganoush) being careful to leave enough for the aubergine to keep is shape.

Stuff the aubergines with the lentil/chickpea/tomato mixture and garnish with pomegranate seeds, coriander and feta (dairy free or not).

 

 

 

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