How much does it cost? This recipe cost me less than 50p per person.
What are the benefits? This slow cooked BBQ feast is totally veggie-friendly, low in fat compared to pulled pork and provides one of your five a day.
We’ve never really eaten much meat at home, even more so since my boyfriend decided to become a vegetarian. It’s been pretty decent, actually; our shopping has been cheaper (see ‘We Cut Down Our Family Food Shop to £25 Per Week – And Now There’s No Looking Back! Here’s How…‘), we’ve both felt healthier and, best of all, it’s forced me to think of even more recipe ideas!
I’ve always tried to base my recipes around “alternatives”, ways to still eat our favourite foods but healthier versions. Not eating meat means we’ve had to think of ways to still enjoy the food we’ve been used to our whole lives, but without actually eating it.
That’s how I came up with this recipe for slow cooked BBQ aubergine. We both love pulled pork, but obviously that’s a big no-no these days; that doesn’t mean we don’t still enjoy the flavours though. Smokey, spicy BBQ sauce and a soft, succulent filling for the ultimate juicy burger… We just had to find a new way to eat this!
Aubergine has a thick, creamy texture that your teeth just sink right into, and this wonderfully versatile vegetable soaks up almost anything you cook it in, meaning it really takes on the BBQ flavour in this dish.
Using a vegetable replacement absolutely demolishes the fat content of this dish when compared to pork shoulder, and it ups your five a day too! It’s definitely a leaner alternative and, at just under 30p per person, it’s a cheaper option as well.
1 Large Aubergine
2 tbsp Runny Honey
6 tbsp BBQ Sauce
1 tbsp Tomato Purée
1 Mug of Vegetable Stock
4 Burger Buns (optional – burgers are just my serving suggestion, you can do whatever you want with it!)
The BBQ sauce obviously is the main source of the flavour here, but adding garlic, cumin, paprika and chilli flakes into the mix really helps pack a punch.
So, this is how I did it…
1. Bake the whole aubergine in the oven for 20 minutes on 200°C, turning once halfway through.
2. Allow to cool and peel off skin (optional – I peeled most of the skin off mine but also couldn’t be bothered to do the whole thing so some got left on and I couldn’t really tell the difference after several hours of slow cooking!). Tear into strips.
3. Add the aubergine strips along with the garlic, cumin, paprika, chilli flakes, honey, BBQ sauce, tomato purée and a mug of vegetable stock.
4. Cook for 4 hours on high, 6 hours on low. Carefully remove the strips from the slow cooker and serve in the burger buns – or however you prefer!
Tips & Tricks
- You don’t need a slow cooker for this recipe – just throw it all into a large stovetop pan or dish and leave on a low heat for a similar time, you’ll get the same results.
- Make this even more vegelicious (yes, that’s now a word) by throwing in some cherry tomatoes and sliced red onion, these make excellent additions.
- If you’ve got leftovers, make up some smokey barbecue wraps for your lunchbox, or serve with rice the next day to stretch it out for another meal. It’s a very adaptable dish.