There are many steps that we can take to help address the threat of climate change. Most of us realize that we should be switching to renewable energy, which is one of the reasons that the demand for solar power has growing sharply and will increase over 20.5% between 2019 and 2026.
However, some steps to improve the planet are going to require tougher sacrifices. This includes moving away from meat based diets to lower our carbon footprint.
You might cringe at the thought of giving up meat, but it can actually be a great way to protect the environment. Someone that eats meat regularly has an average carbon footprint of 3.3 tons of greenhouse gases, while a person following a vegan diet only has a carbon footprint of 1.5 tons of greenhouse gases.
This explains the sudden rise of plant-based businesses. However, it can feel challenging for even the most dedicated environmental activist to give up eating meat. Fortunately, it will be a lot easier if you know what vegan foods you should try. Some great vegan meals can be made with aubergine.
Aubergine is a Great Food for Eco-Friendly Vegans to Add to their Diet
We need to talk about the aubergine, which is known as the introvert of the vegetable world and is similar to the eggplant. The humble aubergine is often overshadowed in Britain by some of its more sought-after cousins (the tomato, chilli pepper, and potato to name just a few). But we don’t think it should be. If you are committed to being an eco-friendly vegan, you should know about this delectable vegetable.
A staple vegetable in Mediterranean countries, aubergines have high nutritional value, a unique flavour, and low-calorie content. What’s not to like?
Aubergines are in season from July to September, but as they can be enjoyed year-round, we implore you to add a couple to your basket and try one of the recipes below.
Pasta alla Norma is a quintessential Italian dish. Named after Sicilian composer Bellini’s opera, ‘ Norma’ is an aubergine-based pasta sauce that also contains lashings of tomatoes and basil.
Our recipe is free from any animal by-products, although it’s worth noting that pasta is not always vegan, as Pasta Evangelists explain: “Not all pasta is vegan friendly, as eggs are a key ingredient in many pasta shapes. However, many pasta shapes are made from what is known as pasta bianca, or “white dough,” made using only flour and water. Most dried pasta is vegan-friendly as it is made from semolina flour, water, and salt.”
Add your preference for egg-free pasta to your homemade sauce for a wholly vegan meal. Are you not sure which shape of pasta to choose from? Rigatoni, penne, or fusilli are all excellent choices due to their stocky, tubular shape — perfectly poised to capture the rich tomato sauce. We wish we covered this topic in our previous post on celebrating Veganuary.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25-35 minutes
- A large sprig of basil or approx 12 leaves
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 large aubergines, peeled
- A small onion
- A handful of capers
- 1tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- A pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
- 1 carrot
- Vegan red wine (optional)
- 1 can of peeled San Marzano tomatoes
- A pinch of oregano
- A touch of sugar (optional)
- 400g of vegan pasta
- Cut the aubergines into small chunks and put them to one side. Add salt to flavour and to remove any excess moisture, or wrap gently in a piece of paper towel.
- Next, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot and fry the onion and carrot until softened. Then add the minced garlic and saute until fragrant — but not so long that any ingredients are singed.
- Now set this mixture aside and add 2 tbsp to a frying pan. Then add the aubergine chunks to the pan in an even, singular layer once it is hot. Fry for 5 minutes, doing so in batches if you run out of pan-space.
- Once golden, add the garlic, carrot, and onion mixture back into the pan, with an optional slosh of vegan red wine. Prefer the flavour of white wine? No problem! This dish goes well with either due to the tender flavour of the aubergines and the richness of the tomato sauce.
- Add the can of tomatoes, then 200ml of water (roughly half a can’s worth).
- Sprinkle with a pinch of sugar, most of the basil, and a touch of oregano. Stir, then simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes.
- Once the aubergine is tender and the sauce has thickened nicely, take off the heat and season as desired with salt and pepper. Keep in the same pan for convenience at step 10.
- Around 10 minutes before serving, bring a pan of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente (not tough — but with a tiny amount of resistance when bitten into it).
- Strain the pasta and add to the pan of homemade sauce. Stir well.
- Now plate up! Add salty capers (optional) and the remaining fresh basil and serve.
Baba ganoush is a Lebanese dish of roasted aubergines, lemon juice, and tahini, and is typical of a Middle-Eastern appetizer or ‘meze’. With the creaminess of hummus and the smokiness of a lazy summer BBQ, this deceptively simple dish is perfect for sharing something lighter with others.
A smoky tapestry of Mediterranean flavours, this dish can be accompanied by a camaraderie of vegetables to complete your five a day, or with pitta bread served warm. If there is one dish to convert you to aubergines, it’s baba ganoush.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30-45 minutes
- 2 small aubergines
- 50ml tahini paste
- 30ml lemon juice
- A pinch of salt
- 3-5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 80ml extra-virgin olive oil
- A handful of pine nuts (optional)
- Sliced veggies or pitta bread for dipping
- Generously prick the whole aubergines and place them under the grill on medium heat. Cook for 30-45 minutes, rotating every so often until the vegetables are completely tender and beautifully charred.
- Remove from the grill and carefully wrap in foil. Put in a large container to collect the smoky juices and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
- Open the package and slit open the aubergines lengthways, then scoop out the flesh. Transfer to a salad spinner or strainer.
- Strain or spin off the excess moisture from the aubergines. Put them into a large bowl, ready for mixing.
- Add the tahini, minced garlic, and lemon juice to the bowl. Then add a pinch of salt plus the smoky juices set aside in step 2.
- Mix vigorously, then add 60ml of the extra-virgin olive oil. The mixture should be pale and creamy, with a gorgeous silky sheen.
- Finally, sprinkle with pine nuts and the remaining extra-virgin olive oil. Add additional salt and lemon juice to taste and serve with warm pitta bread or sliced vegetable sticks.
You may have already used vegetables when baking vegan puddings, but did you know that aubergines, in addition to courgettes, pair well with chocolate cake mixtures? This recipe creates six deliciously rich and moist cupcakes — with the main factor being aubergine! Chances are, you probably already have most ingredients at home, so give it a try and prepare to be obsessed with this strange-but-succulent blend of life’s two essential foods: aubergines and chocolate!
- Serves 6
- Prep: 20 minutes
- Cooking time: 30 minutes
- Difficulty: Easy-Medium
- 2 small aubergines (300g worth)
- 60g vegan chocolate chips
- 75ml maple syrup
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 1tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 80g cacao powder
- 80g all-purpose gluten-free cake flour
- 1.5tsp baking powder
- ½tsp baking soda
- 30g almond flour
- 1tbsp ground chia seeds
- Peel and chop the aubergines into small chunks, then put them on the hob, ready to steam.
- Start steaming the aubergines.
- Add the ground chia seeds to a small dish and top with 2 ½ tbsp water. Stir and leave for 10 minutes or until nicely thickened.
- Once gel-like, put to one side.
- Check the aubergines. Once tender, remove them from the heat and put them to one side.
- Add the cooked aubergine, chocolate chips, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract to a blender. Blend well until smooth.
- Put the cacao powder, flour, cake flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
- Add this mixture to the blended ingredients from step 7 and mix.
- Fold in the chia ‘egg’ and mix again.
- Preheat the oven to a moderate temperature of 180 degrees.
- Add the mixture to 6 cupcake cases, dividing it evenly.
- Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, rotating the cakes halfway through.
- Once cool, add your favourite vegan chocolate icing (optional).
- Serve and enjoy!
Aubergine is a Great Vegetable for Eco-Friendly Vegans
There are a lot of great ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Going vegan is one of them. If you are getting started on a plant-based diet, then you may want to try adding aubergines to your meals.