In the need of a vegetable fix? Then this is the dish for you! Grilled aubergine and courgette, studded with cheesy and salty halloumi, cooked on a rich sauce of tomatoes, harissa and bell peppers. This is one hell of a vegetarian dish! I served it with lemony bulgur, a perfect side for the silky aubergines and the spicy sauce. Oh, and don’t forget the dried mint sprinkled on top, that’s a game changer!
This is definitely a keeper, Rob even called it a Saffie Staple, so I’ll be sure to make this more often.
Strapped for time? See the notes below the recipe.
Aubergine, Courgette & Halloumi Skillet Bake with Harissa
- Tomato sauce
- 2-4 tbsp olive oil, plus a drizzle
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 celery stalk, finely diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced (you can also just use a whole one, I had half lying around)
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp harissa paste
- ½ tsp caster sugar
- Pepper & Salt to taste
- Rest of the ingredients
- 2 long aubergines, sliced into rounds about 0.5 cm thick
- 1 courgette, , sliced into rounds about 0.5 cm thick
- 225g block halloumi, sliced into 0.5 cm tick pieces and then halved again into smaller squares (you'll have a about 20 pieces)
- Pinch of dried mint
- Lemon Bulgur
- 200 g bulgur
- 1/4 stock cube (vegetable or chicken)
- Boiling water
- Zest of 1.2 lemon
- 1 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
- Pepper & Salt
- Olive oil
- Small bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
The Sauce (± 30 minutes. Strapped for time? See notes)
Heat some olive oil in a heavy based sauce pan.
Add the onion and sauté for ± 2 minutes until fragrant and translucent.
Add the garlic and sauté for ± 1 minute until fragrant and translucent.
Add the celery and peppers and sauté for ± 2 minutes.
Add the harissa and give it a good stir, cook along for ± 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes, half a can of water, sugar, pepper and salt and bring to a simmer.
Cook for 20-30 minutes (depends on how much time you have, the longer the intenser the flavour).
The Vegetables (15 minutes veggies & assembly / 30 minutes in oven)
(Strapped for time? See notes)
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Heat a good glug olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet (see notes).
Lay the aubergine and courgette in a single layer in the pan and fry, when starting to brown flip to the other side. You will have to do this in batches until all the vegetables are done.
Pour the tomato sauce into the skillet (or oven proof dish, see notes) and lay the vegetables and halloumi on top, alternating between the aubergine, courgette and halloumi.
Sprinkle a good amount of dried mint over the top and some extra olive oil.
Cover with aluminium foil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes remove the aluminium foil and bake for another 10 minutes until the veggies and halloumi are starting to brown.
For some extra charring I turned on the grill for an additional 2 minutes at the end.
The Bulgur (30 minutes steaming, 2 minutes seasoning)
Add the bulgur to a large bowl, crumble in the stock cube and pour boiling water over the top so it covers the bulgur by ± 0.5 cm.
Cover with a plate and tea towel and let it steam for 30 minutes.
When ready, fluff up with a fork.
Season with lemon zest, lemon juice, pepper, salt, parsley and some good quality olive oil.
- If you don't have an ovenproof skillet you can also cook everything in a regular oven dish.
- Time saver tip 1: If you don't have much time you could also use pre-made tomato sauce (like Napolitana sauce). Add a teaspoon of dried cumin for extra flavour.
- Time saver tip 2: Frying the courgette and aubergine in advance helps to soften the vegetables for extra richness, but if you're strapped for time you can skip this part and just use the raw vegetables together with the halloumi. Bake at 200°C for 40 minutes and you're good to go. You might need to cover with aluminium foil for the last 10 minutes.