I’m going to be completely honest and say that I never really intended for this to be a “proper” recipe. I had an aubergine and passata to use up, and some time to myself one evening, and I wanted a throw together dinner that was going to be truly delicious, and leave me something hearty for lunch the next day too.
I’m telling you this because the simplicity of the dish, the basic flavours and elements are well, simple. Perhaps that’s what makes this recipe so special in the first place. It’s convenient and it’s quick and it gives your evening and extra little sizzle as the smokey aromas of hot smoked paprika fill the kitchen.
In attempting to write this “thrown together” recipe, I’ve estimated measurements but please go ahead and change things as you like. If you prefer feta or mozzarella to goat’s cheese be my guest. If you’d prefer to use quinoa, rice or beans instead of lentils it will work great. Or perhaps you’d like to add some finely chopped carrot, garlic or onions to the filling. It’s totally up to you, what you like and what will bring a smile to you face as you sit down to eat.
Preheat the over to 180 degrees celsius.
Cut the aubergine in half lengthways. Using a variety of kitchen utensils remove the flesh from the skin. This doesn’t have to look perfect – mine certainly never is! Roughly chop the flesh and leave to one side.
Massage the aubergine halves with rapeseed oil and place them face down in a baking tray. Season and bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes or until soft and pretty much ready to eat.
To make the filling heat the remaining tbsp of rapeseed oil over a medium heat. Add in the roughly chopped aubergine flesh and cook until soft. You may need to add in a little more oil.
Turn down the heat and pour over the passata. Add in the spices and plenty of seasoning. Taste and adjust accordingly.
Wilt the spinach into the smokey tomato sauce before adding the lentils and finally about 100g of the goat’s cheese. I like to crumble this in so it melts. If the passata starts sticking to the bottom of the pan, add a little more, or even a dash of water.
Once the aubergine skins are cooked, load then up with plenty of filling. You may have too much too fit, in which case it tastes totally great on its own the next day too. Crumble over the remaining goats cheese and return to the oven for a final 10 minutes.
Serve with plenty of fresh parsley and whatever else tickles your fancy.