Cheese and sweet chermoula aubergines

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This baked aubergine recipe sees the vegetables topped with a zingy fresh chermoula, molten mozzarella and toasted pine nuts for a little crunch. While it serves four as a side dish or starter, the dish could easily feed two as a wonderfully fragrant vegetarian main. This recipe is taken from Casablanca: My Moroccan Food by Nargisse Benkabbou (Mitchell Beazley, £20). Image by Matt Russell.

First published in 2019

The aubergine is one of my favourite vegetables, and whether it’s roasted, braised or burned, I have rarely been disappointed with an aubergine dish. I find it incredibly creamy once cooked and it literally works with everything. When I am in a rush, my go-to meal is a roasted aubergine because it’s so simple and quick, and it always keeps me full and satisfied. But I am the happiest on those lucky days when I have the right ingredients in my fridge to make my sweet chermoula to go with it!




Sweet chermoula


Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas Mark 6
Stir all the ingredients for the sweet chermoula together in a bowl until smooth
Cut the aubergines in half lengthways. Make a few diagonal cuts in the flesh of each half, making sure that you don’t pierce the skin of the aubergines. This will allow the aubergines to cook faster and absorb the sweet chermoula
Cover the cut side of each aubergine half with 2–3 tablespoons of the sweet chermoula, then place, cut-side up, on a baking tray. Roast the aubergines for about 35 minutes or until they are just cooked
Carefully remove the tray from the oven and top each aubergine half with one-quarter of the mozzarella slices and a tablespoon of pine nuts. Roast the aubergines for about a further 10 minutes until they are soft and their tops are golden. Serve immediately

Nargisse Benkabbou is a London-based chef and author. While growing up in Brussels, her parents filled their kitchen with the flavours of their native Morocco, instilling in Nargisse a passion for exploring her culture through food.

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