No matter how much you enjoy cooking, there’s always the times when you just want something quick and easy that doesn’t keep you tied to the kitchen whilst it’s cooking. Particularly on those busy weekdays. Even though we’re still in lockdown and not physically going anywhere, I’ve found my weekday evenings seem to be just as busy with online meetings, webinars or social chats.
Of course, you could order a take-away. But when you’re following a way of eating for health reasons, or you live a distance from the nearest one, then it’s good to have options to throw together. This colourful pasta dish ticks all the boxes. It’s quick, needs little preparation, can be left to it’s own devices for a while, is packed full of healthful nutrients and – most importantly – it taste delicious.
I’m a big fan of roasting vegetables as once they’re chopped and in the oven they need little attention – just remember to pop the timer on to remind you to come back and check on them. I get easily distracted doing something else and it’s not so much fun being reminded by the smoke alarm rather than the oven timer alarm!
I love aubergine. Sadly my husband is not, so for me, this combination is something to enjoy when he’s out or away with work (something that used to happen all the time, not so much in our new world reality!). If it’s also not your thing then swap for peppers, or if you don’t do nightshades at all then try courgette or a chopped sweet potato.
If you’re nut-free, then you can add a handful of toasted pumpkin seeds for texture and/or a tablespoon of olives with the brine rinsed off.
Use whatever type of pasta and of course gluten free if needed. I’ve had this with red lentil pasta which was surprisingly tasty plus it gives a little extra plant-protein boost if you feel you need it.
Will all these combination options, you can see just how flexible this recipe is, so use it as a guide and put your own stamp on it. Most importantly, enjoy a tasty and nutrient-packed dinner that’s quicker to make than waiting for a take-away to be delivered! Enjoy.
Aubergine, walnut and rocket spaghetti
- 1 medium red onion
- 1 medium aubergine
- olive oil spray
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary, thyme or oregano (optional but good)
- 2 tablespoons walnuts
- 2 handfuls rocket
- glug flaxseed oil or extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 100 grams whole-wheat spaghetti
- Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC. Boil a kettle full of water then pour into a large pan. Bring back up to the boil, add the spaghetti, reduce the heat and pop on the lid. Simmer until cooked.
- Cut the onion into eigths. Wash the aubergine and cut into smallish chunks. Tip onto a non-stick tray with the fresh herbs if using and cover with a couple of squirts of olive oil spray. Massage the oil into the veg with your hands then place the tray in the oven for 12 minutes.
- Wash the cherry tomotoes and pop them on the baking tray with the other veg. Roast for another 5 minutes or so until they are soft and bursting.
- The spaghetti should be cooked by now, so drain off the water and return to the pan. Remove the baking tray of veg from the oven and tip into the drained spaghetti. Season with salt and pepper and add a glug of oil if using. Toss well then transfer to serving plates or bowls.
- Sprinkle the walnuts and rocket over the top and serve immediately.