Vegan Aubergine and Chickpea Penne Recipe

I made something healthy, hurrah! Okay, so I served it with a most definitely unhealthy homemade vegan garlic bread but the thought was there. This vegan aubergine and chickpea penne is a dish I’ve made before but I’m going to post it again because it’s Veganuary and, as you might have noticed, I’m posting each – or at least almost each – day to show you what I’ve eaten and if I don’t post what I ate last night, all you’ll have to look at is this photo of the kiwi, frozen summer fruit, cashews and dates Nutriblast I had at lunchtime.

Kiwi, frozen summer fruits, cashews and dates nutriblast
Kiwi, frozen summer fruits, cashews and dates

Vegan Aubergine and Chickpea Penne 

Vegan aubergine and chickpea penne

This aubergine and chickpea penne recipe was another from the Vegan – 100 Everyday Recipes cookbook that I’ve been getting a bit of use out of so far during Veganuary. This is the third dish I’ve made from it – the others being Vegan Smoky Mushroom Burgers and Vegan Thai Red Curry (as I’m typing this, I’m flicking through the book and have seen a recipe for a sparkling wine sorbet. Oh my).

The original aubergine and chickpea penne recipe calls for cinnamon and coriander, both of which I left out of my version.

Vegan Aubergine and Chickpea Penne Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 4
  • large pinch of saffron threads
  • 450ml vegan stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 350g aubergine, diced
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 300g dried penne
  • salt and pepper
  1. Toast the saffron threads in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for 20-30 seconds. Place in a small bowl/ramekin and crumble with your fingers. Add 2 tbsp of the stock and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in the frying pan, add the onion and garlic and fry for about 5 minutes. Add the cumin and fry for another 20-30 seconds, then add the aubergine, yellow or red pepper, chopped tomatoes, saffron liquid and the remaining stock. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the chickpeas to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Uncover and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Serve with pasta.

And now it’s Friday again, which means I get another excuse to make my tofush to go with my chippy chips. Yay.

pasta please linky

I’m adding this post to the Pasta Please linky, hosted by Thinly Spread and Tinned Tomatoes.


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Pesto, Spinach and Mozzarella Pasta Salad


Now my shingles have gone, I’m heading back to the running group tonight, which means I won’t be in at dinnertime. So, to prevent me coming in and eating crisps, I prepared a pasta salad to keep in the fridge to have when I get in – there’s enough for about three servings, so I’ll also be having it tomorrow night after my spin class.

Pesto, Spinach and Mozzarella Pasta Salad (serves 3)

150g penne or other pasta shape
1 handful spinach, chopped
2-3 tbsp pesto (Sacla’s Organic Pesto is labelled vegetarian)
50g mozzarella, diced
1 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds and pine nuts (I got mine from Tesco)

  1. Cook the pasta and leave to cool.
  2. Stir in all the other ingredients.
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Aubergine and pasta bake

The Meat Eater looked at his plate and said ‘this looks suspiciously vegan’. Huh? It was covered with cheese and not the slightest bit vegan. The boy is paranoid.


It’s a recipe adapted from Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian. The only bit I adapted was where she uses wholemeal auelli; I used non-wholemeal pasta (as I get moaned at if I use wholemeal despite the taste and texture being identical) and spirals, not auelli (as I haven’t a clue what auelli looks like and anyway, I had spirals in the cupboard).

Also, I didn’t fry the aubergine slices as that’s too fiddly and takes too long. Instead, I brushed some oil over them and roasted them in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Oh, and I used a large can of tomatoes, not 225g.

I didn’t use an egg, either.

And I only used one onion, not two.

Okay, I adapted it quite a lot.


Pasta and aubergine bake (serves 4)
(Adapted from Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian)

1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
450g aubergine
75g pasta shapes
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp dried oregano
50g fresh breadcrumbs
50g cheddar cheese, grated

  1. Fry the onions in 1 tbsp olive oil for about 10 minutes.
  2. Slice the aubergine into thin rounds, brush with oil and bake in the oven at 200C for about 20 minutes, until tender.
  3. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet and drain.
  4. Mix the pasta, tomatoes, ketchup and oregano with the onions and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Put the aubergine slices in the base of a greased shallow ovenproof dish. Spoon the pasta mixture on top, cover with the rest of the aubergine slices and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and grated cheese.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
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Aubergine and chickpea penne


I had written ‘saffron’ on the shopping list but The Meat Eater went to the supermarket on his own and came back saffronless as he couldn’t bring himself to pay so much for it. Saffron is, after all, more expensive – pound for pound – than gold.

Still, I found some in the back of the spice cupboard so it didn’t really matter. I may still put it in the trolley when he’s not looking though.

Today’s recipe is another one from Vegan 100 Everyday Recipes and it was perfect summer evening food.

What I did differently to the recipe:

I cut down on the amount of coriander, as coriander’s not really my thing.
It asks for cumin seeds, crushed, so I thought this was probably the same as ground cumin, so I used that.

I didn’t have tinned chopped tomatoes with garlic, so used plain tinned tomatoes and added 1tsp garlic powder (I would have used fresh but didn’t have any).

I left out the cinnamon as The Meat Eater doesn’t like it in savoury stuff.

Aubergine and chickpea penne (serves 4)

large pinch of saffron threads
450ml vegan stock
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
350g aubergine, diced
1 large red pepper, deseeded and chopped
400g canned chopped tomatoes with garlic
1 tsp ground cinnamon
30g fresh coriander, leaves and stalks separated and roughly chopped
400g canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
280g dried penne
salt and pepper

Toast the saffron threads in a dry frying pan set over a medium heat for 20-30 seconds, just until they begin to give off their aroma. Place in a small bowl and crumble with your fingers. Add 2 tablespoons of the hot stock and set aside to infuse.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and fry for 5-6 minutes, until golden brown. Add the cumin and fry for a further 20-30 seconds, then stir in the aubergine, red pepper, tomatoes, cinnamon, coriander stalks, saffron liquid and remaining stock. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the chickpeas to the saucepan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for a further 5 minutes, removing the lid to reduce and thicken the sauce if necessary.

Serve with penne or other pasta.

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Pasta with roast vegetables and tomato sauce

I’ve been eating a lot of food out of packets recently, so tonight I decided to have something healthy. There’s a farm shop local to me that sells seasonal vegetables, so I scooted down there to see what they had and made a super-healthy dish that probably contained at least 8 of my 5-a-day.


Pasta with roast vegetables and tomato sauce (serves 6)

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 leek, sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped into chunks
1 aubergine, chopped into chunks
1 courgette, thickly sliced
200g mushrooms, sliced
100g spinach
2 cans chopped tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp mixed herbs
salt and ground black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
Place the red pepper, aubergine and courgette into a roasting tray and drizzle with some oil. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes.
Fry the onion and garlic in the vegetable oil for a few minutes until soft.
Add the mushrooms and leeks to the onion and fry for about 5 minutes.
Add the roasted red pepper, aubergine and courgette to the onion, mushrooms and leeks.
Add the tinned tomatoes to the vegetables and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add the mixed herbs and season to taste.
Add the spinach and cook until wilted.
Serve with pasta of your choice.

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Quorn Lasagne

I seem to be going through a pasta and pizza phase at the moment. We had spaghetti on Friday, chilled supermarket pizza on Saturday, Papa John’s delivery pizza on Sunday, pasta bake on Monday and lasagne tonight.

Tonight’s lasagne was from the Quorn Kitchen cookbook. It contains pesto and The Meat Eater’s not a huge fan of pesto but recently he said he’s ok with it in stuff, just not when it’s the main part. So, I thought I’d be ok with a bit of pesto in a lasagne but after a couple of mouthfuls he asked what was the ingredient that tasted of perfume. Unlike me, that boy has well-developed tastebuds – I would never pass the palate test on Masterchef.

Anyway, forget what he says about it tasting of perfume, it doesn’t. It just has a slight pesto kick to it which is ace (obviously only if you like pesto).


I didn’t stick rigidly to the recipe; I used Sainsbury’s meat-free mince instead of Quorn, green pesto instead of red pesto (it’s hard to find veggie red pesto), and used red wine vinegar instead of real wine.

Quorn Lasagne
Serves 4

300g Quorn Mince
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
100g mushrooms diced
400g passata
3 tbsp red pesto
1 tsp dried oregano
3 tbsp red wine – fruity red
1/2 tsp sugar
1 vegetable stock cube
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, torn
8 lasagne sheets

Cheese sauce

25g butter
25g plain flour
300ml semi-skimmed milk
100g mature Cheddar cheese, grated

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion and garlic for 5 minutes until softened. Add the diced mushrooms and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
  2. Stir in the Quorn Mince and then add the passata, red pesto, oregano, wine, sugar and vegetable stock cube. Gently simmer for 8 minutes. Season to taste and stir in the basil. Remove from the heat.
  3. Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce by melting the butter in a pan and slowly stir in the flour. Slowly add the milk stirring continuously to avoid lumps, until it thickens. Stir in three quarters of the grated cheese, keeping the remainder for the top of the lasagne.
  4. To assemble the dish, put 2 pasta sheets in the base of a lightly greased shallow ovenproof dish. Spoon a third of the mixture on the lasagne sheets. Repeat these layers finishing with a layer of lasagne. Pour over the cheese sauce, scatter over the remaining cheese and bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbling.
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Spicy bean lasagne

When my running’s going well and I’m feeling fit and healthy, that’s when I usually reach for Anita Bean’s Food for Fitness book that has a load of delicious, healthy recipes (not all vegetarian but plenty that are) that are quick and easy to make. Tonight’s was no exception.


Spicy bean lasagne (serves 4)

1 onion, chopped
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp each of cumin and ground coriander
2 tins (2 x 420g) borlotti beans (or other variety [I used black eye beans]), drained
1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes
12 sheets lasagne (I actually only used 6)
350g (12 oz) cottage cheese (I used cheddar)
40g (1 1/2 oz) reduced fat mozzarella, grated

  1. For the spicy beans, heat the oil in a pan and saute the onions and spices for 5 minutes
  2. Add the beans and tomatoes, bring to the boil and cook for a few more minutes
  3. Spray a baking dish with oil spray or coat lightly with a little oil
  4. Place 3 sheets of lasagne in the bottom of the dish and cover with one quarter of the cottage cheese. Repeat the layers, finishing with the beans and cottage cheese
  5. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and bake at 180C/gas mark 4 for 30 minutes
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Spicy bean enchiladas

After last week’s Italian themed meals of lasagne, pizza and pasta, this week I decide to be healthy and make meals that weren’t covered in cheese.

That was the plan, anyway.

What actually happened was that I made healthy bean-based meals and then covered them in cheese.

Food for Fitness
Food for Fitness

Last night’s bean-based-cheese-covered meal was white bean chili from The Seasoned Vegetarian by Simon Rimmer which was very nice indeed, but unfortunately went unphotographed.  Tonight, however, I got my camera out to take photographs of tonight’s spicy bean enchiladas, taken from Anita Bean’s Food for Fitness: Nutrition Plan, Eating Plan, Recipes.

Spicy bean enchiladas

Ingredients (makes 4)
1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tin (420g) pinto or red kidney beans (or 175g/6oz dried beans, soaked, cooked and drained)
1/2 tin (200g) chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp (15g) taco seasoning mix or 150g (5oz) enchilada sauce
4 corn or wheat tortillas
225g (8 oz) passata with herbs or garlic
50g (2 oz) grated mature Cheddar cheese
Low fat plain yoghurt, sliced onions, shredded lettuce

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan.  Saute the onion and garlic for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the beans to the pan and mash roughly.
  3. Add the tomatoes, taco seasoning (or enchilada sauce) and continue to cook for a few minutes.
  4. Spread one quarter of the mixture over each tortilla.  Roll up and place seam-side down in a baking dish sprayed with oil spray.
  5. Spoon the passata over the tortillas and sprinkle the cheese over the top.
  6. Cover with foil and bake at 180C/350F/gas mark 4 for 30 minutes.  Alternatively, cover and microwave for 7 minutes.
  7. Serve with a spoonful of yoghurt, and sprinkle with onions and lettuce.

Here they are before they went into the oven.

Enchiladas pre-oven
Enchiladas pre-oven

And after.

Enchiladas post-oven
Enchiladas post-oven


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Broccoli and yellow pepper soup

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and The Meat Eater got me a knives set.  Not just any old knives set, but the coolest knife set in the world ever.

Voodoo knife set (aka the coolest knife set in the world ever)
Voodoo knife set (aka coolest knife set in the world)

But me being a wimp that is too scared to touch the coolest knife set in the world ever, I let The Meat Eater insert them into their holders and we go out and get the worst service in the world ever from my local Indian restaurant and the next day we go out and get the best service in the world ever from a local Italian restaurant (voted Best Pizza In London by Time Out magazine (it’s not, but don’t let that put you off going, it is very nice but the nicest is Mondragone (for pizza anyway Uffizzi may have the touch on pasta))) and later on I decide to be brave and use my new knives while I’m making my weekly soup and so I decide to use the one penetrating his right leg to chop up the vegetables for

Broccoli and yellow pepper soup (serves 5)

1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 yellow pepper
2,500ml stock
Nutritional yeast
Black pepper
Brown miso

How to make it:
Melt the butter in a large pan
Add the onion and garlic and fry for a few minutes
Add the stock
Add the broccoli and yellow pepper
Add some nutritional yeast
Add some black pepper
After about 15 minutes, whizz it up with a stick blender and add some brown miso
Don’t cut your fingers off with new knives from the coolest knife set in the world ever

Broccoli and yellow pepper soup
Broccoli and yellow pepper soup
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