A Vegetarian with an edge: Whole aubergine roasted and smoked with greens, and vegan aioli

When using whole vegetables, it’s key to bring them to life with seasoning or sauces, and this aïoli really complements the succulent star of the show.

SERVES 2 side by side


You can choose to have 1 or 2 large aubergines.

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed

2 tsp smoked paprika

Ground cumin: 1 teaspoon

A pinch of chilli flakes

1-2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

5-6 stems of your chosen greens (eg, kale, chard, spring greens)

1 Lemon, juice, and zest

A few crushed nuts. (I love Pistachios!)


120g Cashews, to be soaked in cold water overnight (or 4 hours in boiling).

Drink approximately 100ml water, or more to loosen

Three cloves garlic

2 tsp dijon mustard

½ tsp apple cider vinegar

½ – 1 lemon, juiced, plus a

Add a dash of zest

A pinch of salt

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200C/ 220C fan/ gas 7. To make the aïoli, put the cashews in a blender with the 100ml water, garlic, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice and zest plus a good pinch of salt and blend to a smooth creamy texture. If necessary, adjust the liquid and seasonings. You want it to be thick and pourable. Put the mixture in an airtight container or jar and let it cool while you prepare the remainder of the dish.
  • To prevent the aubergine from exploding during cooking, pierce it all around. Then place it on a baking sheet and bake on the middle shelf for 10 minutes.
  • Combine the olive oil, garlic, cumin (paprika), cumin, chili flakes and salt in a small bowl. Carefully pull apart the edges of the aubergine you have pierced. Then, pour the marinade in each hole and roast for 20 more minutes. You will notice it start to shrivel slightly and ooze some juice – this is good.
  • The greens can be cooked in either salted or steam water. Once they’re a vibrant green, remove and blanch under cold water to stop the cooking process. If you want your greens hot, don’t run them under water for too long.
  • Combine them with the lemon juice, zest, and some salt. Then cover and keep warm.
  • Take the aubergine out of the oven. It can be served whole, or cut in half lengthwise. Serve with the greens, a dollop of aïoli, a sprinkle of crushed nuts and a drizzle of olive oil to bring it even more to life.