brinjal and courgette bake with a parmesan and garlic crumb
a perfect vegetarian comfort meal

I had a beautiful brinjal and a heap of courgettes which I had bought at the City Bowl Market on Hope street and was I craving a meal with some level of comfort.  I felt like eating vegetables and dosing up on something nutritious, but a salad or steamed vegetables simply would not do.

So I gazed into my fridge to scrounge around for other ingredients and found some creme fraiche there.  Bonus!  I had a few tubs of roasted tomato sauce in the freezer, and my little herb garden is flourishing in my back yard, so this is what I used to make this simple vegetable dish. The measurements are fairly rough, it doesn’t really matter.

  • 1 1/2 cups of brinjal chopped into medium / smallish cubes – I don’t ever bother salting / rinsing draining etc
  • 1 1/2 cups courgettes cut into slices (I always cut them on the bias – it just looks better)
  • 1 cup (and a bit) of ready made tomato sauce which I had made on a previous occasion and frozen.  You could use a good quality jar pasta sauce or passata or tinned tomatoes (just increase the seasoning if you do)
  • 4 Tbs creme fraiche (or cream)
  • 2 garlic cloves – crushed
  • small handful of fresh thyme leaves – stalks removed
  • a few fresh basil leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of bread crumbs – Once again at the risk of starting to sound like a domestic goddess, I had these on hand.  Its more a result of living on my own and never being able to finish the bread, so I often just process leftover bread to a crumb, and then freeze in a large ziploc bag for future use.
  • olive oil, a few glugs. I also used some chilli and smoked red pepper infused oil to add another flavour layer
  • about 1/4 cup grated parmesan (pecorino or gruyere also work well)
  • Salt and pepper
  • dried chilli / smoked red pepper sprinke (I used some smoked dried chilli flakes and smoked red pepper) *Optional*

This is what I did to make this:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (This is where my Solar Dom comes in very handy as it heats up in 5 minutes)
  • Heat some olive oil in a large pan (I used the flavoured oil here) and lightly fry in batches, first the brinjal and then the courgette (about 5 minutes each)
  • toss the semi cooked vegetables into an oven proof dish
  • mix in the tomato sauce, creme fraiche, half the garlic, chilli / smoked red pepper, basil and half the thyme into the vegetables
  • in a seperate bowl mix the breadcrumbs with the cheese, remaining garlic and thyme, another glug of olive oil and sprinkle this over the vegetable mix
  • bake for about 30 – 35 minutes until bubbling and nicely browned

I love the crunchy texture of the crumb on top of the creamy tomato-ey vegetables. This is a perfect side dish to chicken, or served on its own as a quick and easy vegetarian meal.

crunchy and creamy all at the same time
a delicious parmesan and garlic crumb with thyme
winter is here

Whether you call them aubergine, brinjal or eggplant, courgette or zucchini, I’m a bit of a sucker for these vegetables. Here are a few other dishes with them in:

roasted aubergine, courgette and mushroom crumble

grilled vegetable salad with basil infused olive oil and lemon juice

zucchini and basil fritters with stracciatella cheese


  1. Comforting and Meatless seldom gets mentioned in the same recipe, but you have managed to pull it off with great success. Looks absolutely delish!

  2. Sam

    Thanks Nina, it was actually more saucy than the pics depict (food styling you know) and really tasty. I do think that bacon would go quite well with it too 😉

  3. Am so going to try this, sounds delish. Please post some more veggie dishes x

  4. Looks stunning Sam! I love the combination of aubergine and a crisp crumb topping.

  5. Sam, your pics are as always just breathtaking! I love anything crumbed, so this will have to feature on my menu at home soon..

  6. Sam

    Thanks Marianna, Im a very big fan of crunchy bits in my food, so I am often trying to find texture.

  7. Sam

    Thanks Michaela, I have recently started categorising my veggie dishes, but still need to work through my whole site. In the recipe index you will find them there, and there will be more to come for sure.

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