Avocado and eggplant stacks

A topping of haloumi cheese adds a taste of Cyprus to little towers of tender sun-ripened vegetables for an enticing mix of textures and flavours. Just add a tomato salad.

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Serves 4
Preparation 10 minutes
Cooking 12 minutes

Ingredients for avocado and eggplant stacks

1 large eggplant, about 400 g
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
grated zest of 1 lemon and
juice of ½ lemon
2 firm ripe avocados
250 g haloumi cheese
25 g flaked almonds

Preparation for avocado and eggplant stacks

1. Preheat the grill to the hottest setting and line the grill pan with foil. Trim and cut the eggplant into 12 slices. Place the eggplant on the foil. Mix the oil and garlic and brush sparingly over the eggplant. Grill for 4 minutes, or until just beginning to brown in places. Turn over, brush with more oil and grill for a further 4 minutes, or until tender.
2. Put the lemon zest and juice in a shallow non-metallic dish. Cut the avocados into quarters. Peel and cut each quarter into three slices, coating them in the lemon juice to prevent discolouration. Cut the haloumi into 12 slices.
3. Sprinkle the almonds over the eggplant and arrange three avocado slices, with the lemon zest, on each. Top each stack with a slice of haloumi and brush with any remaining oil. Grill for 4 minutes, or until the cheese browns.
Cook’s tips:
• For a balanced stack, layer up a large slice of eggplant, then a medium slice of avocado and finally a small slice of cheese. If top-heavy, the stacks will topple over.
• If the heat is not evenly distributed under the grill, rearrange the eggplant slices when turning them so that they brown all over.
Each serving provides:
• 1946 kJ • 465 kcal • 16 g protein • 42 g fat of which 15 g saturates • 6 g carbohydrates of which 4 g sugars • 6 g fibre 
Alternative ingredients:
• Try Indian paneer or mozzarella cheese instead of the haloumi. Paneer retains a similarly firm texture during cooking, but the mozzarella will melt. 
• If you do not have a fresh lemon, use 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice. The recipe will taste just as good but with a slightly less zingy flavour. 
• Use pine nuts instead of the flaked almonds.
• Sliced tomatoes can be grilled on top of the eggplant – include them instead of the almonds or the avocado slices. Use 1–2 tomato slices for each slice of eggplant.
Unusually for a fruit, avocados are high in fat – 20 g in half an avocado – though most of the fat is the healthy, monounsaturated kind that helps to lower blood cholesterol and keep hearts healthy. Avocados are also rich in fibre. Half an avocado provides one quarter of your total daily fibre needs.

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