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Our Head Chef’s Veganuary recipe

If you’ve committed to Veganuary this year, try your hand at creating Sichuan spiced aubergine, seasonal squash and charred tofu with tahini dressing and pomegranate. Veganism has come a long way from the days of being known as the lifestyle with the bland and boring diet. Gone are the days of plain salads being the only option on the menu, with the last few years seeing many restaurants, cafes and supermarkets expanding their menus to cater for delicious plant-based dishes to meet the increasing demand of individuals wishing to adopt a healthier and more ethical way of life. We love this simple and tasty dish, and the best thing about it? No animals were harmed!

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Ingredients

For the base

  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 small squash
  • 1 block of firm tofu

For the tahini dressing

  • 200g silken tofu
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 pinch lemon zest
  • 1 bunch of freshly picked parsley

For the Sichuan spiced butternut puree

  • 5g Sichuan pepper
  • ½ butternut squash

For the garnish

  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp pomegranate seeds
  • 2 handfuls kale

Method

For the base

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.
  2. Slice the aubergine in half, lengthways, and then score through the flesh, leaving the skin intact.
  3. Drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until tender.
  5. Cut six large 1-inch cubes from a butternut squash and ‘bar mark’ on the grill.
  6. Bake in the oven on 160 degrees for 20 minutes until tender but with minimal colour.
  7. Slice two 1cm-thick slices from a block of firm tofu and ‘bar mark’, then cut each slice into three.
  8. Place the butternut squash and tofu slices onto the flesh of the baked aubergine.

For the tahini dressing

  1. Blitz the silken tofu with the tahini, ground coriander, lemon zest and fresh parsley until it resembles a smooth, thick green sauce.
  2. Drizzle over the cooked aubergine.

For the Sichuan spiced butternut puree

  1. Toast the Sichuan pepper in a hot, dry pan and set aside to cool.
  2. Peel and roast half a butternut squash with a drizzle of olive oil and seasoning.
  3. Blitz the roasted squash in a blender until it resembles a smooth puree, seasoning with the roasted Sichuan pepper.

The finishing touches…

Garnish the finished dish with a teaspoon of toasted sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds and some kale. Enjoy!

 

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