Recipe: Chickpea & Aubergine Traybake with Cheesy Croutons

chickpea & aubergine traybake

I lived off pesto at university, but I wish someone had told me you could use it for more than just pesto pasta!

This fuss-free traybake only uses a teaspoon of sun-dried tomato pesto with some cheap dried herbs and tins to add tons of flavour to a tray of healthy roasted veggies. It also uses up a couple of slices of stale sourdough to make some crunchy croutons – you could use whatever bread you have going spare.

I first shared this recipe with Cardiff University as part of their ‘Recipes for Success’ – a series of recipes from alumni now working in the food and drink industry.


  • 1 x 400g tin chickpeas
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small aubergine
  • 1 medium courgette
  • 1 white onion
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried parsley
  • 1 large tsp sun dried tomato pesto
  • 2 slices of stale bread (sourdough works best but you can use whatever you have)
  • A few generous glugs of olive oil
  • Sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper
  • 30g parmesan cheese (optional)
  • A few sprigs of fresh basil (optional)

chickpea & aubergine traybake


  1. Heat a fan oven to 220 degrees. Chop the aubergine, courgette and onion into small cubes of a similar size, and transfer to a large baking dish – the bigger the better.
  2. Drain the chickpeas and throw them into the same tray.
  3. Add all of the dried herbs, and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Drizzle everything in the tray with a generous glug of olive oil, then mix everything together to ensure an even coating of oil and dried herbs on everything in the tray.
  5. Pop into the oven to roast for 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, tear or chop the stale bread into similar sized chunks.
  7. Drizzle the bread chunks with olive oil and season with black pepper, before covering with a light sprinkling of grated parmesan. For garlic croutons, you could use ½ tsp garlic powder instead.
  8. Pop the bread chunks in the oven for 10 minutes.
  9. After the bread has been in for 10 minutes, take out the veg tray, and add the croutons, a tin of chopped tomatoes, a generous teaspoon of tomato pesto, and the juice of half a lemon. Give everything a stir to mix everything together.
  10. Return the tray to the oven for 10 more minutes.
  11. When ready to serve, spoon into bowls and top with grated parmesan, freshly cracked black pepper, and a scattering of fresh basil.

Recipe notes:

  • You want the chickpeas to get a little crispy and the veg to caramelise a little in the first 20 mins – if they need a bit longer than 20 mins in the oven, don’t be afraid to wait before adding the wet ingredients. Alternatively, if the pan gets a little dry, just add a little water.
  • To make this recipe vegan, use a vegan pesto and omit the parmesan on the croutons and when serving.
  • You can experiment with using different types of pesto, changing up the mix of herbs and spices; try swapping the tsp of pesto for a few chunks of spicy chorizo and a tsp of smoked paprika, then scatter with fresh parsley to serve.
  • Add diced potatoes to the traybake if you are feeling really hungry!

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