Ahhhh – officially the first day of summer and its torrential rain outside. You just have to love the irony of it, don’t you? I guess it wouldn’t be called an English summer without the guarantee of rain.
In between the downpours, we’ve been making the most of the barbeque, which of course means on an onslaught of meat! Not sure if any of you have been feeling the effect of the all those burgers and sausages – ‘the meat bloat’ I call it. (No? Just me then. Clearly, I need to exercise a little more self-control)!
So this dish was created as much from necessity to combat the over-indulgence as well as trying to make the most of the fresh produce currently bursting from the supermarkets.
What better combination is there when you can make use of beautiful nutritious veggies that practically leave you feeling cleansed inside and out, yet still be able to make it all outdoors?
Mr M categorically stated that that he would not be giving up the burgers for the veggies, but once presented with the colourful, fragrant dish, his senses took over and he found it hard to resist.
The selection of vegetables that I chose to put together were simply based around what flavours I thought worked well together. I also looked to find vegetables that would be filling enough for a main meal. With the marinades, I hoped to enhance the flavours of the vegetables instead of covering them up. You could of course, change up the veggies or the marinades to suit your tastes.
My favourite has to be the aubergine. The intense smoky flavour of the aubergine is bought to life through the paprika marinade and then finished off using the barbeque.
Instead of the standard garlic, mayo combo often served with standard burgers, I used a caramalised onion hummus as the condiment which I found just bought the dish together. Not to mention that it ups the protein intake (making you feel fuller longer).
When I created this dish, it was with the barbeque in mind, but it’s just as easy to do on a grill pan on a rainy day.
Happy healthy barbequing! Enjoy!!!
And please do let me have your comments and thoughts…. I would very much appreciate it. 🙂
Ingredients (Serving size: 4 veggie stacks)
For the Veggie Stack
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled
- 1 large aubergine (large enough to be able to slice some burger size circles)
- 1 large red onion, peeled
- 4 portobello mushrooms, cleaned with the stalk removed
- 1 red or yellow pepper
- 50g Feta cheese
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp of crushed garlic paste (pound with pestle and mortar once crushed to give smoother texture)
- 1 spring rosemary
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 ripe beef tomato, thinly sliced
- Sea salt and pepper
- Light olive oil spray
- 4 wholemeal rolls
For the Caramelised Onion Hummus (serves 4-6) *
- 1 large onion, peeled
- 1 x 400g tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and ground black pepper
Prep your barbeque ensuring it is clean.
Prepare your vegetables by slicing the sweet potatoes, aubergine and onion into ½ cm slices. Try to keep the sizes as consistent as possible. Slice the pepper in half along the length and remove the stalk and core. Then slice ½ cm off the bottom and top so the pepper can lay flat.
Marinade the vegetables as follows and rest for 30 mins or so to allow the flavours to develop:
Sweet potatoes: 1 tbsp. olive oil, ½ tsp crushed garlic paste and rosemary leaves (bash the leaves slight to bruise and release the flavour), sea salt & pepper to taste
Aubergine: 1 tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp crushed garlic paste, 1 tsp smoked paprika and sea salt to taste
Onions: ½ tsp olive oil, 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
Mushrooms, peppers and tomatoes: lightly spray with olive oil spray, season with a little salt and pepper.
Aside from the mushrooms and tomatoes, grill the vegetables on a medium to high heat, charring all the vegetables well and ensuring they are full cooked through. Brush with additional marinate left over during the cooking process. The onions make take a little longer, but cook these on indirect heat until they are soft. Once cooked, set aside to keep warm.
Grill the mushrooms and tomatoes on a high heat on both sides for a minute or two. Then place the tomato slices on top of the mushrooms and top with feta. Allow to grill until feta has as melted
Prep your veggie stack by piling the vegetables into your wholemeal rolls – to be honest, I place the grilled vegetables in the middle of the table and let everyone create their own! Don’t forget the hummus!
For the Hummus: (I would make this while your vegetables are marinating)
Slice the onion into roughly ½ cm thick slices. Grill these on the barbeque with a little oil until brown and soft. Allow to cool, then lightly process them in your food processor until the onions are roughly chopped. Place aside for use later.
Next, process the chickpeas and a little water in the food processor into a smooth paste. Add the crushed garlic, cumin and cayenne to the mixture and blend in the lemon juice and olive oil to taste.
Now add the caramalised onions, mix through and finally season with salt and pepper to taste.
Use as a condiment for the veggie stacks, or serve on the side with crudités or pitta bread.