Henry & Ian’s Lebanese Stuffed Aubergines
Henry Firth & Ian Theasby (Bosh!)
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
2 tbsp harissa paste (leave out or use half if you aren't a big spice fan)
handful of flaked almonds
1 fresh red chilli (leave out if not a fan of spice)
handful of fresh mint
handful of fresh coriander
80g pomegranate seeds
For the stuffing:
2 tbsp olive oil
200g soya mince (you can use regular mince if not vegan)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
For the tahini dressing:
1 tbsp dried mint
Veg Portions / Serving: 2
Speedy BOSH! by Henry Firth & Ian Theasby is out 17th September (HQ, HarperCollins). / Food photography credit: Lizzie Mayson / Headshot credit: Nicky Johnston.
A cheeky twist on the classic dish Imam Biyaldi, these stuffed aubergines are to die for. Imam Biyaldi roughly translates to ‘The priest fainted’, and folklore tells us that a priest was so impressed by the dish upon first eating it that he swooned. Our version is definitely delicious enough to make a holy man topple… The mince and onion stuffing browns brilliantly and packs a spicy punch, while the traditional tahini and mint dressing cools the whole thing down. If you’re a fan of aubergine, this is a must-try! We prefer to use a new, tasty brand of plant-based mince for this, available chilled in most good supermarkets.
Grill the aubergine • Cut the aubergines in half lengthways and lay them flesh-side up on the baking tray • Score the flesh in a crisscross pattern, being careful not to pierce the skin • Brush the scored flesh with the harissa paste and sprinkle with salt • Place under the hot grill to cook until soft, about 13–15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the stuffing mixture • Add the olive oil to the hot frying pan • Peel and dice the onion and add it to the pan • Cook for 4 minutes until soft • While the onions are cooking, hydrate the soya mince according to the packet instructions • Drain, pressing the mince with the back of a spoon to remove excess water • Add the mince and the ground spices to the onions and cook until golden and fragrant • Taste and season to perfection.
Make the dressing • Combine the tahini, mint and water in a bowl • Cut the lemon in half and squeeze in the juice • Whisk to a pouring consistency, adding extra tahini if the mixture is too loose, or extra water if it’s too thick • Taste and season with a little salt, to taste.
Serve • Take the tray out of the oven and transfer the aubergines to a serving dish • Tip the flaked almonds onto the tray and toast very briefly under the grill • Finely slice the chilli and tear the leaves from the fresh herbs • Tip the spiced stuffing mixture over the aubergines • Drizzle with the tahini dressing • Scatter over the herbs, chilli, pomegranate seeds and toasted flaked almonds, then serve.
Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating.
Kids in the kitchen
Let the kids brush the aubergines before grilling. Have them make the tahini dressing and help you plate it all up.
While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.
Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.
The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.
Dr Clare Bailey and Justine Pattison