Baked Aubergine with Lemon-Infused Couscous

Áine Carlin
Baked Aubergine with Lemon-Infused Couscous - close up on white plate
Serves 2
Print recipe
  • Prep time 15 mins
  • Cook time 60 mins
  • Ready time 75 mins

A sophisticated dish with contrasting flavours, where meaty aubergine meets fluffy couscous.

Ratings
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (15 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5)
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Ingredients

For the aubergine and couscous

  • 1 aubergine, halved lengthways
  • 2 teaspoons harissa
  • 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 150 g couscous
  • pared strips of zest from ½ lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 30 g fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, plus extra to garnish
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted, to garnish

For the tahini dressing

  • 100 g tahini
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave nectar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4 and lightly oil a baking tray.

Score the aubergine flesh diagonally both ways, creating a diamond pattern. Place on the baking tray. Spread a teaspoon of harissa over each half, covering all the crevices. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil over each, season generously and bake for around 40 minutes until the flesh is completely soft, turning over halfway through to ensure the skin doesn’t crisp or dry out.

Place the couscous in a bowl with the lemon zest strips. Add 150 ml freshly boiled water, cover and set aside until all the liquid has been absorbed – about 10 minutes. Discard the lemon zest and fluff the couscous with a fork.

Scoop the flesh from the centre of each aubergine half, leaving enough around the sides to keep its shape. Roughly chop the flesh and place in a bowl. Stir through the couscous along with the lemon juice, smoked paprika and remaining olive oil. Season, then add the toasted pine nuts and parsley.  Divide the mixture evenly between the aubergine skins. Return to the baking tray and bake for a further 15–20 minutes.

To make the dressing, place the tahini in a bowl with the lemon juice, oil, maple syrup or agave nectar, salt and 2 tablespoons water. Whisk until smooth, adding a little more water if necessary – or use a hand blender.

Remove the stuffed aubergines from the oven and serve with a dollop of tahini dressing and a sprinkling of sesame seeds and parsley.

 

Additional notes

“Love couscous an inordinate amount. Often mistaken for a grain, it’s actually more akin to pasta as it is made from tiny granules of durum wheat. Whilst you could use a protein-packed option like quinoa (and feel free to do so), there’s something so tempting about a mouthful of lemon-infused couscous.”

Extract taken from Keep It Vegan by Áine Carlin, photographed by Ali Allen, £14.99, Kyle Books.