Freekeh, made from durum wheat, makes a great replacement for rice in this deliciously simple vegetarian recipe. Once cooked, freekeh has a natural al dente bite and nutty texture which works brilliantly with silky aubergine, crunchy cucumber and creamy grilled goat’s cheese. Packed with veggie goodness and fresh, delicious flavours, we’ve got a feeling that this is about to become your new go-to recipe!
Vegetable Stock Powder(ContainsCelery)
Preheat your oven to 220°C. Halve, peel and thinly slice the red onion. Peel and grate the garlic (or use a garlic press). Cut the aubergine in half lengthways. Score diagonal criss-crosses into the flesh, 1cm apart. Go deep but avoid piercing the skin. Drizzle some oil on each half and season with salt and pepper. Place on a lined baking tray and pop on the top shelf of your oven. Cook until soft and browned, 25-30 mins.
Heat a drizzle of oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the garlic and chermoula spice blend and cook for 1 minute. Tip in the freekeh, then pour in the water (see ingredients for amount). Stir in the stock, and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and put a lid on. Cook the freekeh for 15 mins, then remove from the heat. Leave to the side for 5 mins (still covered) or until everything else is ready.
While the freekeh cooks, heat a splash of oil in another large saucepan on medium heat and add the onion. Cook until really soft, stirring every few mins, 8-10 mins. Next, add the balsamic vinegar. Turn the heat to low, put the lid on and cook for 3-4 mins. Remove the pan from the heat. While everything cooks, chop the cucumber into small chunks. Pick the mint leaves from their stalks and roughly chop (discard the stalks).
When the aubergine is soft all the way through, remove it from your oven and preheat your grill to high. Squash down the flesh of each aubergine half with a fork (see picture). Crumble in the goat's cheese, grind over some pepper and place under your grill until the cheese is brown and bubbling, 5-6 mins.
Meanwhile, zest the lemon and cut in half. Squeeze the lemon juice into a mixing bowl with the olive oil (see ingredients for amount), a pinch of salt and pepper and the wholegrain mustard. Whisk with a fork. Add in the cucumber chunks and three-quarters of the mint. Toss together.
Stir the lemon zest into the freekeh, taste and add salt and pepper if you feel it needs it. Serve the aubergine on a bed of freekeh with the cucumber and mint salad on the side. Spoon over the caramelised onion and finish with a sprinkling of the remaining mint. Enjoy!