- Prep time:15 mins
- Cook time:90 mins
This Aubergine and Buckwheat Parmigiana is our take on a classic dish. From its deliciously warming tomato base to the indulgently cheesy parmesan topping, this is one hearty dinner to enjoy on a chilly evening, or on a warm day with a fresh side of leafy greens.
The star of the show is, of course, antioxidant-rich aubergine, which is a fantastically filling meat alternative to bulk out any vegetarian dish. Aubergines are known to assist with weight, cholesterol and blood sugar management, so they make for an excellent veggie staple for those on a health journey.
Similarly, butternut squash provides a host of benefits like supporting the immune system due to its high concentration of the plant pigment beta-carotene, which we convert to Vitamin A.
While it can be tricky to eat enough protein as a vegetarian, this particular recipe provides a whopping 25g of protein, thanks to the egg and ricotta. Plus, opting to include buckwheat flour in this recipe makes this a high fibre recipe too, containing almost a third of your daily fibre intake per portion. Buckwheat flour also makes this dish naturally gluten-free, gut-friendly, high in antioxidants, and supportive of a healthy heart and blood sugar level.
Developed by Matt Williamson in collaboration with The Fast 800, this vegetarian parmigiana was designed to be family-friendly while still incorporating Mediterranean-style diet principles. Or, if you’re cooking for fewer people, this recipe can be batch-cooked in advance ready to enjoy for dinners throughout the week.
- 1 aubergine, sliced 1cm thick
- 1kg butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and sliced 1cm thick
- 80g buckwheat flour
- 600g tomato passata
- 160g ricotta (see Notes)
- 80g Parmesan cheese, grated
- 160ml milk
- 1 egg
- 4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- Fresh basil, small bunch, leaves picked
- Salt and pepper
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the buckwheat flour, milk and egg (see Notes) until well combined, taking care not to overmix.
- Preheat a non-stick frying over medium heat and lightly grease the surface with extra olive oil, if needed.
- Pour a portion of the batter onto the frying for each pancake - you’ll be making one pancake per serve. Cook the pancakes on each side for about 1- 2 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove the cooked pancakes from the frying pan and keep on a plate. Repeat the process with the remaining batter, greasing with extra olive oil as needed.
- Preheat your oven to fan 180°C/200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6.
- Toss the aubergine and butternut squash with a big pinch of salt and ⅔ of the olive oil. Spread on a tray, or trays, in a single layer and bake for 20 minutes until tender.
- Meanwhile, in a pot over medium-high heat, cook the garlic in the remaining olive oil for 30 seconds, then add the tomato passata and dried oregano (see Notes) with a little salt and pepper.
- Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
- In a baking dish, spread a thin layer of about ⅓ of the tomato sauce on the bottom. Layer the buckwheat pancakes on top of the sauce, covering the entire surface (chop them to fill gaps if needed). Dot with ½ the ricotta cheese and about ½ the basil.
- Add a layer of butternut slices, slightly overlapping them and spread a layer of ½ the remaining tomato sauce over the butternut. Dot the sauce with the remaining ricotta cheese.
- Place a layer of the aubergine slices on top of the ricotta cheese, and again season with salt and pepper. Spread the remaining tomato sauce on top.
- Sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese evenly over the top of the dish.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbling.
- Remove the vegetarian parmigiana from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before serving topped with the remaining basil leaves. Slice into portions and serve warm, with mixed salad leaves on the side.
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- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat and serve.
- Batch-cook and freeze in portions for up to 2 months. Defrost and reheat before serving.
- Some brands of cheese (including parmesan/ricotta) may contain rennet so are not strictly vegetarian. Check the product you buy uses vegetarian ingredients. Brands vary, it is always important to read labels first.