Middle Eastern Traybake

I love Middle Eastern flavours, especially on plant foods. The spices and textures give the veggies a different dimension and flair. The secret to this dish is how you cut your veggies so pay attention – I call this ‘hedgehogging’ and it is the way you would cut a mango. It is perfect for making sure the flavours are really absorbed into the flesh of the vegetables – and they cook more quickly, too.



    For the Middle Eastern Traybake
  • 1 large aubergine (eggplant)
  • 1 red onion, quartered
  • 400 g (14 oz) tin of butter (lima) beans, drained
  • rice, quinoa or flatbreads, to serve
  • For the Dressing:
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon harissa
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • For the Toppings:
  • tahini (sesame paste)
  • pomegranate seeds
  • Boosters:
  • herbs of your choice


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Line a baking pan with baking parchment.
  2. To hedgehog the aubergine, cut it in half lengthways. Cut the flesh of each half lengthways into quarters without cutting through the skin. Then make 6–8 cuts across the flesh to divide the flesh into chunks. Put the aubergine and onion in the prepared pan.
  3. Mix the dressing ingredients in a bowl, then gently brush some over the veggies. Add the butter beans to the bowl with the remaining dressing, toss and add to the baking pan.
  4. Pop in the oven for 20–25 minutes until everything is golden brown. The beans should be slightly crunchy and veggies brown and soft. Once done, serve with rice, quinoa or flatbreads.

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