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Recipes from Andalucia

By Tracey Roberts

Roasted Middle Eastern Tomato and Aubergine tapas

This is a sweet and spicy Moroccan-inspired tapas recipe which can be used as a healthy vegan side dish or you can add the meat of your choice to make a main dish. 

In the Middle East and the Mediterranean, meals are often served as a “mezze” style– which are small bites, similar to tapas, as appetizers or to go along with main courses. These dishes are often sweet and spicy and served more like a condiment, at room temperature, with lots of olive oil added for a richer flavour. Usually served with freshly baked bread or pita, perfect for dipping into the saucy goodness. 

There is nothing more satisfying than sitting on the patio with a nice glass of your favourite drink, using a warm grilled pita as a spoon tasting the wonderful medley of the flavourful dish.

Roasted Middle Eastern Tomato and Aubergine tapas

Preparation Time: 40 mins Cooking Time: 40 mins Total Time: 80 mins
Serves: 8 Difficulty: Easy Suitable for: Vegans

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized aubergines
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, divided into 2
  • 2 whole red bell peppers
  • 1 red chilli pepper or whole jalapeño
  • 8-10 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced (or 2 large cans diced tomatoes)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic 
  • Good pinch of salt (or to taste)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • Sugar, to taste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Method

Heat oven to 200 degrees C (fan oven). Whilst the oven is heating up, slice the stem ends off the aubergines, peel them into stripes down the side so strips of skin remain intact around the aubergine, with half of the skin peeled away. (This helps the aubergine when cubed to hold their shape without being tough, too much skin can affect the texture).

Chop the aubergines into  1 and a 1/2 inch chunks and toss them in a bowl with 1 tbsp olive oil. Grease a full size baking sheet liberally, then spread the aubergines in a single layer onto the sheet.

Line half a baking sheet with foil and put the bell peppers and jalapeño (or chilli pepper, whichever you chose to use) on the sheet.  Put both baking sheets in the oven and let the vegetables roast for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, carefully turn the peppers over using tongs and continue to roast for another 5-10 minutes, or until the small pepper is soft and collapsing. Remove the small roasted pepper and set aside. Turn the bell peppers, stir the aubergines and continue to roast them for another 10 minutes, or until the aubergine is tender and lightly browned and the bell peppers are soft and collapsing. 

While the rest of the vegetables finish roasting, take off the stem of the small pepper and peel off any loose skin, you can take out the seeds unless you want it really spicy – or leave 10-15 seeds in for a little kick. Chop into small pieces.

When the aubergines and peppers finish roasting remove them from the oven. Put the peppers in a bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to steam for a few minutes. Once the peppers have steamed, seed them and peel the skin off. Dice into small pieces. Keep the aubergines to one side. 

Combine peppers, tomatoes, garlic, salt, tomato paste, and chilli flakes in a pan and bring the ingredients to the boil, turn down and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 8-10 minutes, until the mixture has cooked down and most of the excess liquid has evaporated.

Stir in the roasted aubergines and continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes longer until thick and saucy. Take it off the heat. Stir in sugar to taste, usually about 1 tbsp of sugar; it's supposed to be a sweet with a bit of a spicy kick. You can add more hot pepper flakes or salt to taste too, if you like.

In another small bowl, mix together the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, paprika and smoked paprika and pour oil into the dish and stir until well mixed.

Wonderful, enjoy!!


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