In the spirit of Meat Free Mondays I always make a point of eating a vegetarian meal on a Monday. These brinjal-based dishes are quick to throw together and kind on the pocket too.
Also read my quick meal ideas using fish
Typical quick recipes I'd make using chicken
QUICK CHILLI TOMATO-AND-BEAN STEW GRILLED BRINJALS
I simply can't resist adding any kind of bean or pulse to most of my weekday dinners. They are so good for you and during the days just before payday they can stretch a meal with lots of healthy protein.
When simmered in this simple tomato sauce they absorb the flavours beautifully and the brinjal slices are perfect for scooping up all of the lovely beans.
Drain a can of butter beans and leave aside. Add a splash of olive oil to a pan over a medium to high heat and quickly fry 3 cloves of crushed garlic. Add 1 chopped chilli and ½ t Spanish smoked paprika for a few seconds until fragrant.
Add a can of tomatoes and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes before adding the butter beans. Toss through chopped parsley with a crack of black pepper and sea salt.
Slice1 or 2 brinjals lengthways and chargrill in a hot pan with a little olive oil, then serve with your bean-and-tomato stew.
BRINJALS WITH FRESH MINT ON BUTTER BEAN MASH
The fresh mint really picks up this dish. If you aren’t a big fan of mint substitute it for freshly chopped coriander or flat leaf parsley.
The butter bean mash is silky smooth and mops up the flavours of the smokey, charred brinjals and thick tomato sauce. Use wet Parmesan polenta instead of butter bean mash if you like.
Fry a finely chopped onion and 2 cloves of crushed garlic in 1 T olive oil for 2 minutes until softened and fragrant. Add 1 T tomato paste, 1 can of tomatoes, 2 sprigs of chopped thyme and some rosemary and leave to simmer with 1 cup stock until reduced, for about 25 – 30minutes, stirring occasionally.
Place a pan over a medium to high heat and add 2 T olive oil. Pan-fry thick brinjals rounds until golden.
To make the butter bean mash, fry some garlic (optional) in olive oil, add a tin of butter beans and when warm and soft, mash them with a potato masher or push them through a ricer.
Top your brinjals with freshly chopped mint and serve with garlic butter bean mash and tomato sauce.
WHOLE BAKED BRINJAL AND BUTTER BEAN DIP
This budget beating dip is such a crowd pleaser and is perfect served with warm pita breads when friends come over on a Saturday afternoon.
Feel free to use cannellini beans or chickpeas as an alternative and add loads of lemon and garlic before serving.
Drain 2 cans of butter beans and pulse in a blender with the juice of half a lemon, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1 chopped green chilli and 2 T olive oil. Season to taste. Add the soft inside of two whole, roasted brinjals and whizz into the butter beans to make a smooth dip.
Remove from the blender and mix in 1\2 cup roughly chopped Italian flat leaf parsley. Drizzle with a little more good olive oil and serve with crusty bread and reduced, basic tomato sauce. For a final touch, top with loads of caramelised onions.