This idea came to my attention because my friend was cooking a meaty version from the BBC Good Food website. I loved the idea of the chickpea topping and thought it would be perfectly good done as a veggie recipe – and it was!
The seasoning is North African with harissa and ras-al-hanout (the spice mix, not the paste). I use Seasoned Pioneer’s Ras-al-hanout because it’s really fresh-tasting and pretty with its bits of rose petals and lavender (though in this dish you don’t really appreciate them because it’s all cooked into the casserole). If you’re stuck for other places to use your ras-al-hanout, this warm aubergine and lentil salad is lovely and really shows it off.
You could definitely stretch this to serve 4 if you served it with a veg on the side; some broccoli would be nice. There’s two of us so we had the leftovers reheated for lunch with olive bread.
Veggie Casserole with a Feta and Chickpea Topping
- 1 aubergine
- 1 medium-sized sweet potato
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
- 1/2 red pepper, quartered and sliced
- 100 g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
- 1 tbsp harissa
- 1 tbsp ras-al-hanout spice mix
- 400 g can of tomatoes
- 100 g feta cheese
- 400 g can of chickpeas
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
- Peel the sweet potato. Chop the aubergine and the sweet potato into bitesize chunks. Mix with 1 tbsp of the olive oil, spread on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through. The sweet potato should be quite tender.
- In the meantime, heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the chopped onion and garlic and fry for about 5 minutes to soften without colouring.
- Add the chopped red pepper and mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add the harissa and ras-al-hanout and cook stirring for a minute or two before adding the tinned tomatoes. Bring to the boil.
- By this time the aubergine and sweet potato should be more or less done. Add this to the pan, mix well and transfer it to a casserole dish.
- Drain the chickpeas, put them in bowl and mash them roughly with a fork. You just want to squash some of them leaving about half of them whole.
- Add 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp cumin and crumble the feta in. Mix well and spread out on top of the casserole.
- Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until the top has started to brown and the edges crisp up a bit.