While I was in Corsica, I tried many delicious vegetarian dishes that were simply prepared yet full of flavour from fresh herbs and garlic. Marjoram is a versatile and aromatic herb that works beautifully with vegetables; it’s similar in taste to oregano but with a milder, sweeter flavour. 






Skill level

Average: 3.6 (54 votes)

This dish is easy to prepare for a mid-week dinner – just toss it all together in the one dish! For a creamy topping, serve with a little Greek yoghurt or hummus. This is great on its own or with flatbreads.


  • 2 zucchini (courgettes), cut into 2-cm slices
  • 1 red onion, cut into 8 thin wedges
  • 1 medium eggplant (aubergine), cut into small cubes
  • 2 red capsicum (peppers), de-seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1½ tbsp (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 tsp fresh marjoram leaves (or 1 tsp dried oregano)
  • 1 400 g tin lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tsp (15 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 250 g cherry tomatoes
  • 250 g block halloumi, thickly sliced
  • zest and juice of ½ lemon
  • 8–10 basil leaves, shredded. with a few reserved whole for garnish
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6.

2. Put the zucchini, onion, eggplant, red capsicum, chilli and garlic into a large, shallow baking dish, drizzle with half the olive oil, season well, then scatter over half of the marjoram and toss together. Roast for 16–18 minutes.

3. Remove from the oven and toss through the lentils and balsamic vinegar, then stir in the cherry tomatoes and sit the halloumi slices on top. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and sprinkle over the lemon zest and remaining marjoram. Roast for a further 16–18 minutes until the tomatoes start to blister and release their juices and the halloumi is golden around the edges. If you like, you can brown the halloumi a little more under a hot grill for 1–2 minutes after baking.

4. To serve, drizzle with a little oil, squeeze over the lemon juice and scatter with the fresh basil.



Extracted from Ainsley’s Mediterranean Cookbook, by Ainsley Harriott (Ebury Press). Photography by Dan Jones.