Serves 6, can be made ahead and frozen
How does one make a vegan Passover recipe to represent the difficult and evocative imagery of pestilence? We’ve used Aubergines which soften and transform to represent the fourth plague.
Like our Chicken Marbella, this vegan version is an adaptation of Yotam Ottolenghi’s Marbella. Swapping out prunes for dates, we think it’s perfect for Pesach. Most Sephardim and Mizrahim use date syrup (haleg/silan) or chopped dates for their charoset, and this dish contains both!
Dates and olives are two of the seven species named in the Torah as special products of the Holy Land to which our ancestors made their exodus. The ‘land flowing with milk and honey’ referred not to bees’ honey, but to the date honey (Silan) we use in this recipe. And the red wine in the marinade hints at the four cups of wine we drink on Seder night.
IN THE TRAY:
- 6 small or 3 large Aubergines
- 1 medium Onion ribboned
- 2 Bell Peppers thinly sliced
(we used red and orange, use what you can—although we don’t recommend green peppers
for this dish)
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
(for base of the roasting dish)
- 225g (1 cup) Dates
(225g pre pitted or 210g pitted)
- 90g (½ cup) Pitted Green Olives
(one small jar, drained)
FOR THE MARINADE:
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 3 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 3 tbsp Red Wine
- 10g (3 tbsp) picked Oregano Leaves (we used fresh, you can substitute with dry)
- 3g (1 tbsp) fresh Thyme Leaves
(we used fresh, you can substitute with dry)
- 2 heaped tbsp Silan (date syrup)
- In a blender, (or using a hand blender) combine all the marinade ingredients.
- Slice aubergines in half lengthwise (or into chunky, uneven strips), place in a deep bowl and pour over the marinade. In an ideal world you’d leave this for at least 2 hours in the fridge, but we’ve made it straight away and we promise it is just as good!
- In a big and deep ovenproof dish pour 1 tbsp of olive oil to grease.
- Layer in your onions and peppers, add ½ tsp salt and mix. Try to even out your vegetables on the base of the dish.
- Sprinkle in ⅔ of the olives and dates.
- Place the marinade-coated aubergines face-down on top of the onions and peppers and scatter the remaining olives and dates, pushing them into crevices between the aubergine halves. Pour over whatever marinade remains and seal the dish with foil.
- Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour.
- Remove foil and cook for a further 20-30 minutes uncovered.
Serve in the tray or on a platter with the aubergines layered across the bed of onions, dates and peppers, to represent the carcasses.