27 March 2020

Roasted Aubergine in Tomato Sauce

I absolutely love Middle Eastern style aubergine such as this, it's silky soft, melt in your mouth and has an incredible warming hum of spices. Mixed through with some protein-rich chickpeas and finished off with a sprinkle of crunchy dukkah and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, this dish is one of my favourites.

The secret to incredible aubergine is oven roasting -  the recipe starts off on the hob to allow the onion to caramelise and the spices to toast, before adding the aubergine, tomatoes and chickpeas and roasting to perfection in the oven.

My favourite Middle Eastern aubergine dish I ate in a restaurant was actually in Edinburgh, I took a little trip just before Christmas of 2019, I visited the markets, did tons of walking and ate lots of incredible food. I visited Yeni Meze Bar after a long walk along the Water of Leith Walkway in the most serene little village, it was truly stunning and the hot meze selection after was more than welcome to help to thaw me out a little from the inside. I had lentil soup, flatbread, dolma and the most delicious aubergine, that I've truly managed to recreate the essence of here and it really brought back those wonderful memories of exploring Edinburgh for the first time.

This recipe only takes a little prep time before the hard work is all done by your oven! It's fantastic served up with some bulgur wheat, with a flatbread, to mop up that incredible sauce or even as part of a meze, as I first enjoyed it. One of my favourite things about aubergine like this is a good amount of extra virgin olive oil - to ensure it doesn't all disappear during the cook I've left it to be added at the end in the recipe, so be sure to finish the dish with a generous drizzle of good olive oil!

This recipe is also full of nourishing things, making it great for the body and warming for the soul. Olive oil is not only incredibly delicious, but full of healthy fats too. Chickpeas are rich in protein, needed for muscle growth and repair as well as fibre for a healthy digestive system and iron for red blood cell formation, keeping you healthy and energised too! Tomatoes, even the tinned variety are full of vitamin C, which supports iron absorption and the immune system, just to name a few benefits. Aubergine has small amounts of lots of micronutrients, topping up your levels and helping to keep you healthy, the skins are also rich in anthocyanins, which have powerful antioxidant properties. 

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Roasted Aubergine in Tomato Sauce | Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 45 mins 

You'll need

  • Hob & oven-proof casserole dish with lid (I used a Le Creuset)
  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Measuring spoons
  • Wooden spoon


  • Olive oil
  • 1 white onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp ras el hanout
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika 
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 aubergines
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained 
  • 1 can plum tomatoes
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper
To garnish:
  • 2-3 tbsp dukkah (a crunchy spice & seed blend)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh coriander


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C fan.
  2. Dice the onion and add to your pot (ensure it's suitable for both the hob and oven) on a medium heat with a splash of olive oil. Cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, mince the garlic, measure out your spiced and chop your aubergines into 2-3cm chunks. After 5 minutes, reduce the heat slightly, add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the spices and tomato paste and cook for a further minute or so, stirring often so the spices don't burn.
  4. Add the aubergine chunks, chickpeas and plum tomatoes and stir to combine, breaking up the tomatoes into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then pop the lid on and place the pot in the oven. Cook for 30 minutes with the lid on, then carefully remove the lid and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, allowing the top to crisp slightly.
  5. Serve up as is or with some grains or bread, drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil (don't skip this bit!), sprinkle over a little dukkah and fresh coriander leaves and enjoy!
Cassidy xx