When I go to the grocer’s I like to go to the rack at the back of the shop first. My local grocer has a big spiral stand-alone shelf near the fridge where he puts his out of date vegetables that have gone a bit squishy. There’s nothing wrong with the vegetables, just most people like to buy firm, crunchy veg and not things with a bit of give to them.
This week I got the selection above which was sweet potato, aubergine, red pepper, spring onions and garlic for just a few cents. I’m not a fan of hard work to get a meal to taste great so here’s 2 recipes for the price of 1 – a bargain I know! Both recipes are vegan, have no added salt or sugar, gluten-free, and paleo friendly. You can make both at the same time too.
Smoked Sweet Potato Mash (serves 2-3 adults)
- 1 large sweet potato
- 3 cloves of garlic or 1 clove of elephant garlic (the giant stuff pictured) with the skin on
- 3 spring onions, chopped
Take the potato as it is. Don’t peel it, pierce it or slice it. Place it on a low-medium heat on a barbecue. Wrap the garlic in tinfoil and place it beside the sweet potato. Cook for approximately 90 mins, turning the sweet potato occasionally.
After 90 mins, remove the sweet potato from the barbecue and slice in half. Scoop out the flesh into a large bowl. Discard the skins. Be careful it’s hot! Don’t worry too much if you have some blackened caramelised pieces on the inside, it all adds to the smoky flavour.
Remove the garlic from the barbecue and remove the skin. Add to the sweet potato in the bowl. Finally, add the chopped spring onions and stir well. Season if you want. You can eat this straight away if you want but you can also let it go cold and eat as a cold potato salad. It will keep for up to 2 days in a covered container in the fridge.
- 1 aubergine
- 1 red pepper
- 3 cloves of garlic or 1 clove of elephant garlic, skin on
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Place the whole aubergine directly onto a barbecue at a medium heat. Don’t cut it or pierce the skin. Wrap the garlic in a tinfoil parcel and place on the barbecue in a slightly cooler spot. Cook for approximately 45 minutes, turning the aubergine regularly. It will crisp and burn a little bit, that’s fine, it gives you a smokey flavour.
After 45 minutes have passed, chop the pepper into 4 large chunks, removing the stalk, white core and seeds. Pop the pepper onto the barbecue beside the aubergine, skin down. Cook until the skin blackens.
Remove all the ingredients from the barbecue.
Slice open the aubergine (be careful it’s hot), scoop out the flesh and discard the skin. Once the flesh has cooled a little, squeeze to remove excess water. Remove the skin from the red pepper (it should come away easily now it’s blackened). Skin the garlic. Chop both the aubergine and the red pepper into fine chunks or lash it all into a bowl, along with the skinned garlic and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and blitz with a stick blender until you get a chunky dip.
Season if you want to. I like to skip the salt and use a bit of cracked black pepper.
Serve with pitta/flatbreads or spoon over fresh pasta as it makes a perfect pasta sauce.