Roasted veg: the myth

Breakfast

Blueberry bagel filled with strawberry jam, grapes.

Perhaps a little high in sugar, but at least some of it was natural!

Lunch

Vegan ‘ham’ and tomato sandwich, crisps, grapes, fruit bar

The ‘cheatin’ brand does a range of vegan meats that are so realistic you almost end up feeling slightly uncomfortable eating them! The ‘ham’ style slices make a brilliant sandwich with soft bread and sliced tomato. You need about three slices of ‘ham’ for the full effect.

Dinner

Vegetable tortillas, cashew and carrot salad

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The basic principle is dead simple; prepare some veg and use it to fill a tortilla wrap. The question, though, is how you prepare the veg. I usually roast it and the results are genuinely delicious. Today I tried sauteing it and although the veg was tasty, it was indisputably inferior to the roasted version.

This is the part where I need to dispel any myths surrounding the roasting of veg. It’s often seen as a delicate and time-consuming process that cannot succeed without multiple oilings and turnings.  The truth is though,  peppers and aubergines will roast beautifully on their own, without any oil, and you can just go off and do something else while the house fills with lovely smells and the dinner essentially cooks itself. The aubergine cooking method is inspired by Ottolenghi, although it’s simplified a bit.

Ingredients for roast vegetable tortillas (serves 3):

– 3 large aubergines

– 6 peppers (not green as they have a different taste)

– 3 avocados

– 3 tortilla wraps

(Optional) pumpkin seeds and fresh herbs

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to gas 7 (220 C)

2. Top and tail the aubergines and place on a baking tray, whole.  Roast for about 45 mins- 1 hour until the skins are really charred and the aubergines feel soft when a knife is inserted.

3. Once the aubergines are in the oven, cut the tops off the peppers, remove the white parts with a sharp knife and tap out any remaining seeds. Place the peppers on a baking tray (whole) and cook on a rung underneath the aubergines, leaving them there until the aubergines are ready.

4. You can turn the vegetables once, roughly half way through cooking, but this isn’t essential.

5. When the aubergines are ready, remove from the oven, cut open lengthways and scoop out the flesh. It may help to steady the aubergine with a fork and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.

5. Remove the peppers from the oven and peel off the skins if you like, although this takes much longer and may not be worth the effort! Slice the peppers and avocados.

6. Place the aubergine and peppers in a saucepan and heat through gently. Warm the tortilla wraps for a couple of minutes in the oven on a low heat.

7. Divide the mixture between the tortillas, top with the avocado (and seeds/herbs if you are using), roll up and enjoy!

While they may look like a charred mess, the aubergine skins are surprising tasty spread with a little hummus.

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To prepare the carrot and cashew salad, you simply chop some carrots (or cheat like me and buy a pre-prepared packet), and mix with some salted cashews. The sweet and salty flavours go really well together. I will be adding a one minute salad section, but probably once I have time to catch up on myself a little at the weekend…

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