Eggplant, Chickpea & Cheese Bake

This delicious chickpea recipe came about because I wanted to use up some eggplant and a spare tin of chickpeas. These experiments don't always work, but this recipe is going on regular rotation. It's a winner.

Eggplant, Chickpea & Cheese Bake Recipe

(Serves About 4-6)

Ingredients

 

General Ingredients

  • 2 Large Eggplant (cut into thin slices)

  • ½ Cup Grated Parmesan

For the Tomato & Chickpea Sauce

  • 1 White Onion (Diced)

  • 1 x 12-Oz Can Chopped Tomatoes

  • 1 x 12-Oz Can Chickpeas (Rinsed)

  • 1 x 12-0z Can Corn (Optional)

  • 3 Cloves Garlic (Minced)

  • 1 Bunch Parsley (Finely Chopped)

  • 1 Cup Vegetable Stock or Water

  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste

  • 1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

  • 1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

  • Olive Oil

  • Salt & Pepper

 

For the White Sauce

  • ½ Cup All-Purpose Flour

  • ½ Stick Butter

  • 2 Cups Milk

  • ½ Cup Shredded Cheese

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Grated Nutmeg

Instructions

For The Eggplant

  1. Place the eggplant slices on a baking tray and sprinkle with salt.

  2. Leave for one hour until they begin to release all their liquids. This will stop them soaking up so much oil when you cook them and will also make them less bitter.

  3. Dry the eggplant slices off with kitchen towel and fry each slice in a little olive oil until each side is golden brown.

  4. Place the slices on kitchen towel until you are ready to use them. 

For the White Sauce

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan.

  2. Add the flour and combine well with a wooden spoon.

  3. Cook the flour butter mixture over a gentle heat until it loses its raw smell (about one minute).

  4. Add ⅓ of the milk (it’s good to make sure this is really cold as it prevents the sauce from going lumpy) and use a whisk to combine well with the flour butter mixture. If it becomes too thick, you can do this off the heat.

  5. Add the next ⅓ cold milk and repeat.

  6. Add the final ⅓ cold milk and repeat, stirring until the sauce becomes thick.

  7. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg.

  8. Add the shredded cheese and stir until it is melted. 

For the Tomato and Chickpea Sauce

  1. Heat olive oil in saucepan.

  2. Add the onions.

  3. Season with salt and cook on a gentle heat until translucent.

  4. Add the garlic and cook until it loses its raw smell (about 1 minute).

  5. Add the red pepper flakes, the tomato paste, and the Worcestershire sauce and cook for 1 minute.

  6. Add the tomatoes, and the vegetable stock.

  7. Cover the pan and cook on a medium heat for 15 minutes.

  8. Remove the cover, add the corn (if using) and the chickpeas.

  9. Continue to cook until the sauce has become quite thick (losing about half its liquid).

  10. Check for seasoning and add the freshly chopped parsley. 

To Construct the Bake

  1. Take a baking dish.

  2. Layer the bottom with slices of eggplant.

  3. Season with salt & pepper.

  4. Spread some of the tomato & chickpea sauce on top.

  5. Layer with more eggplant and repeat the process until all of the eggplant and sauce is used up.

  6. Pour the white cheese sauce over the top of the baking dish, smoothing out to make sure it is all covered.

  7. Place in a pre-heated 300 degrees Fahrenheit oven and cook for 20 minutes.

  8. After 20 minutes, sprinkle the top of the bake with Parmesan and return to the oven.

  9. Broil until the top is crisp and golden.

  10. Serve with a salad and rolls.

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