Ella Mills’ garlicky roasted aubergine ragu recipe

This is a real favourite. It’s great for batch cooking and is delicious with spaghetti, orzo, piled on to a jacket potato, or you can serve it with whichever grain you have in the house – quinoa (for extra protein), barley or rice.

aubergine ragu
Clare Winfield

Serves 4

2 medium aubergines
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 white onion, finely sliced
5 large garlic cloves, crushed
1-2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp maple syrup
400g tin of brown lentils, drained and rinsed
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
4 servings of spaghetti (75g per person)
1 tsp brown rice miso
1⁄2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Sea salt and pepper
Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped, to serve
Sprinkling of walnut parmesan (see recipe below), to serve

  1. Preheat the oven to 230C/210C fan/gas 8. Pierce the aubergines all over with a knife – this allows them to release steam as they cook – then place them on a baking tray and roast for about an hour, until the skin blisters and gently chars, while the inside cooks slowly. Once the aubergines are cooked, the skin will be wrinkled and shrivelled, and it’ll look as though they’ve collapsed.
  2. After the aubergines have been in the oven for about 30 minutes, start to make the ragu.
  3. Put a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil, a generous sprinkling of salt and the onions. After 5 minutes, once the onions start to soften, add the garlic. Let this cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the paprika, letting it cook for 2 minutes or so, before adding the maple syrup, stir, then add the lentils. Mix well and, a few minutes later, add the chopped tomatoes.
  5. Once the aubergines have cooked, slice them open and scoop out the flesh with a spoon – it should be silky smooth.
  6. Mash the aubergine into the lentil mixture and let everything simmer for a further 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the pack.
  7. Finally, add the miso and apple cider vinegar to the ragu and taste to check the seasoning. Add the cooked pasta to the pan of ragu and mix thoroughly to combine. Serve each portion sprinkled with fresh parsley and some walnut parmesan.

Walnut parmesan

This nutty ‘parmesan’ is an easy way to add extra flavour and nutrients into your day. I sprinkle this on to all our pasta dishes, and use it as a topping for tray bakes, risottos and grains.

Makes about 200g

100g walnuts
100g macadamia or cashew nuts
20g nutritional yeast
1⁄3 tsp garlic powder
1⁄3 tsp sea salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Place the nuts on a baking sheet and toast them in the hot oven for 5 minutes, then leave to cool.
  2. Once cool, simply add all the ingredients to a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds or so, until you have a fine meal. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Now buy the book

how to go plant-based
How To Go Plant-Based
by Ella Mills will be published by Yellow Kite on 18 August, price £26. To pre-order a copy for £22.10 with free UK delivery until 21 August, go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3176 2937.