Well this was a winner, winner Vego dinner.  Thick chunks of roasted eggplant in a rich, red wine and spice laden stew.  Chickpeas for protein, spinach for greens, a delicious dollop of greek yoghurt and topped with toasted almonds and chopped fresh herbs.  Absolutely no meat needed, a delicious, healthy Meat Free Monday meal that the whole family will love.

Prep time:  25  Minutes                       Cooking time:  40  minutes                   $$  Medium Budget

Serves 4

Olive oil for frying

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 large brown onion, peeled, halved and sliced top to bottom

2 medium eggplants, cut into largish chunks (about 2 inches)

1/4 cup of  extra virgin olive oil

2 bay leaves

1 tsp of dried oregano

3 strips of lemon rind

1/2 a cup of dry red wine

1/2 tsp of ground cumin

1 cinnamon stick

400gm tin of chickpeas, drained

400gm tin of chopped tomatoes

1 cup of pitted kalamata olives

1 tbs of tomato paste

1 tsp of sugar

juice of 1/2 a lemon

Sea salt and cracked pepper

1 bag of baby spinach leaves

4 tbs of Greek yoghurt

2 tbs of finely chopped parsley

2 tbs of finely chopped dill

1/4 cup of toasted, flaked natural almonds

2 cups of cooked quinoa or rice to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Place the eggplant chunks in a large lined baking tray.  Drizzle over the 1/4 cup of oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden.

Heat a large heavy based pan and add a little oil.  Fry the onion until soft before adding the garlic, bayleaves, oregano, cinnamon stick and lemon rind.  Fry until aromatic and then add the chickpeas, olives, cumin and red wine to the pan.  Simmer for a few minutes until the wine has reduced slightly and then pour in the tomatoes.  Pour a little water into the tomato can (about 1/2 a cup) and swirl it around to grab any residual tomatoes and pour that into the pan.  Add the tomato paste and season with salt, pepper, sugar and lemon juice.  Stir to combine and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.

When the eggplant is golden, remove it from the oven and gently add it to the stew.  Stir gently and then place the spinach leaves in the pan, continuing to stir gently (so as to not break up the eggplant) and allow the spinach to wilt before gently folding in about 2/3rds of the chopped herbs, saving the remainder for garnish.

To serve, divide quinoa or rice between four serving bowls.  Ladle over the stew and top with a dollop fo greek yoghurt.  Scatter over the remaining herbs and some lightly toasted, flaked natural almonds.  This was so delicious!

Leftover parley and toasted almonds?  This could be just the recipe you were looking for: