Last week my heartmate and I had a moment where we really (really) started to feel the brutal cold of the winter months.
The temperatures had dropped below -20, the snow in our backyard was piling high, and our pup’s desire to run out and chase the squirrels away in the mornings had run dry. Poor thing shivers even on the mildest of days.
Despite the rain and slush that occurs this time of year, I love winter. Mostly because of comforting hearty recipes!
Every year, with the annual transition of summer to fall, comes Steph’s desire for “heartier vegan meals”. As a non-vegan, I really do get his point of view. I’m totally fine with salads, and chickpeas, and hummus 24/7, but for him… not so much. He’s also built differently than I am, with more muscle mass (which I’ll gladly take from him tyvm). He needs his sustenance.
Enter, the Eggplant Bolognese recipe from The First Mess Cookbook. Hearty, garlicky, and oh so autumn-y!
Often to “amp up” our pasta dishes, we’ll either add black beans or Yves’ ground veggie to give it some texture + added protein. But this recipe didn’t need it. Truly.
Sure, the eggplant bolognese isn’t high on the protein scale, but it is plenty hardy.
I’d heard great things about The First Mess Cookbook, particularly this eggplant bolognese recipe. So I ordered the book on Amazon, and this was the first time I’d made the dish.
I kid you not when I say we were both licking our bowls, and we both had seconds (and almost thirds). It was SO GOOD!
You may already know that to me, there can never be such a thing as too much garlic. It really is a love affair. This recipe spoke to my soul when I saw that it started off with frying up 5-6 cloves of garlic in olive oil in a deep skillet. THAT is true happiness my friends.
Very rarely do I follow a recipe to the T, but in this case, I was happy I did. Though, if you are looking to amp it up with added protein, I would suggest exactly what I mentioned above – adding either fried black beans, or Yves’ ground veggie.
Here are the photos from my making of Laura Wright’s The First Mess Cookbook Eggplant Bolognese!
Definitely gets two thumbs up from me!
This won’t be the last time I make it, that’s for sure – the heartmate is already begging for more. Thank you Laura for this delicious, hearty recipe!
Eggplant Bolognese [The First Mess Cookbook Recipe] Vegan
- 1 large eggplant diced into ½-inch cubes 1 cm salt
- ¼ cup olive oil + 1 Tablespoon 50 mL + 15 mL, divided salt and pepper to taste
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes 2 mL
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano 1 mL
- 1 can crushed tomatoes 28 ounces/796 mL
- 1 cup vegetable stock OR water 250 mL
- ¾ pound whole-grain or gluten-free long pasta of your choice 341 g such as spaghetti or linguini (I used gluten-free spaghetti)
- 6 whole fresh basil leaves plus extra chopped for garnish
- ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives 125 mL finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, toss the diced eggplant with a generous sprinkle of sea salt. Let the eggplant sit for 10 minutes to release some of its water. Pour the salted eggplant into a colander and rinse with fresh water. Dry the eggplant pieces as thoroughly as you can with a kitchen towel, and then lay them on the prepared baking sheet.
Toss the eggplant with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of the olive oil and the salt and pepper. Spread the eggplant out into a single layer. Slide the baking sheet into the oven, and roast until the eggplant is tender and has browned slightly, about 20 minutes. Set aside.
In a large, deep skillet (or braiser), heat the remaining ¼ cup (50 mL) of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, stir, and sauté for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the chili flakes and oregano, and stir. Add the tomatoes and vegetable stock to the skillet, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Lower the heat and simmer the sauce for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Drop the basil leaves into the tomato sauce and submerge the leaves. Cover the sauce and let it continue to cook for 10 more minutes.
Remove the basil leaves from the sauce, and season it with salt and pepper. Add the roasted eggplant and chopped olives to the sauce, and stir to distribute. Carefully toss the cooked pasta in the sauce. After the noodles are coated in sauce, sprinkle the chopped basil on top. Serve the pasta hot.
Nick Joly | Inspired by Nick
be good to your body