This recipe is not only 100% Vegan, but it goes back a very long way, and with much nostalgia attached to it – the aroma and taste take me back to my childhood at the beach (Mellieha to be precise, in Malta). It’s simply delicious, mouthwatering and, I promise, a MUST for the summer months. I am going to show you how to eat this delight in a way that will make many of your summer days both memorable and full of culinary joy. This is my version, and cross-links somewhat between a caponata and a giardiniera. Why ? Well, because I simply love them both – and I’m just one of those people that loves marriages of food. And when they work (which they do most times, I am lucky to say) the result is a delicacy made in paradise. By the way, I have named this recipe FOREVER GIARDINIERA because of my strong faith in it being a summer lifetime culinary habit – a vice not easily broken !
My first choice would be to do it the Maltese way and eat it with Maltese Bread. The closest you are going to get to that is by using a ciabatta bread, cut horizontally (see my separate post “Delicious Tomatoed Ciabatta Bread”). Then smother it with tomato paste/puree, drizzle over with olive oil, then add copious amounts of this heavenly treat ! It’s a little sweet, it’s a little sour, it’s a little hot, it’s a little juicy, it’s so much more – quick go make it and taste for yourself. Man, oh man – culinary heaven awaits !
The quantities below yield around 4 cups. I haven’t measured the amount 100%, but you will need a jar that takes around ¾ litre of the cooked giardiniera (I used a Le Parfait 0.75l lever seal jar), plus a standard sized 450g jam jar. That was the amount I had when I made this batch with this amount of ingredients. Make sure the jars are sterilized properly, and that you add some olive oil on top of the giardiniera. Allow to cool, then seal tightly and refrigerate. The ingredients should last for up to a few weeks. My giardiniera can be eaten with rice, pasta, crunchy bread, pitta bread, etc, – experiment and find out. But it’s super delicious as a pizza topping, with added vegan cheese.
Must be stored in the refrigerator.
- 4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, cut into thin rings
- 2-3 garlic cloves, cut into slithers
- 3 red peppers cut lengthways into medium sized pieces (8/9 in total)
- 2 green peppers, cut as above
- 1 small eggplant, cut into medium pieces
- 1 grated carrot
- ½ cauliflower (use only its florets and lightly steam)
- ½ cup of chopped olives
- 1 large green chilli, chopped
- 12 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 1½ tsp coriander seeds (a must)
- 6 sundried tomatoes, halved and roughly chopped
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- 4 chopped artichoke hearts (the ones in a jar with olive oil, ready cooked)
- 3 tbsps sweetcorn (this is optional)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1½ tbsps tomato puree
- ¼ cup agave nectar
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- extra oil for drizzling on top
Simple, pour the oil in a non-stick large saucepan, and allow a few seconds for it to heat. Then throw in the eggplant pieces and the onions, and allow them to fry until they catch a little colour. Next, add the celery, making sure that you are tossing all the ingredients around as they cook.
At this point, you may need to add some extra olive oil, and shortly after, add the peppers and continue to stir. Then add the carrot, garlic, chilli, and coriander seeds, and allow to cook on a low heat for a few minutes. Now add in the tomato puree, and stir again. Add the remaining ingredients, lower the heat to the minimum, cover, and allow to cook gently (still keep an eye on what’s happening, and stirr gently from time to time). You will experience a wonderful aroma that emerges from this wonderful recipe. Enjoy !!
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