The not-so-secret secret to the best barbacoa? Spices. Which is why this vegan version uses no less than six! Grilled and shredded eggplant and thinly sliced mushrooms are the perfect stand-in for traditional lamb or beef. Enjoy in corn tortillas with lime wedges, diced tomato, pickled onions, cilantro, sliced jalapenos, vegan cheese and vegan sour cream.
Prepare gas BBQ for indirect heat, turning all burners to high. Mix spices and salt in small bowl.
Score the side of aubergine with diagonal crisscross cuts about 1” apart, leaving skin intact. Brush tops of mushroom caps and cut-side of aubergine with oil. Sprinkle both mushrooms and aubergine evenly with ½ (about 4 tsp) of the spice mixture, making sure ½ seasoning gets into cuts in aubergine.
Grill mushroom caps and aubergine until charred, about 5 minutes per side. Turn off burners on one side of grill.
Meanwhile, place onion in center of double layer of foil. Sprinkle with about 1½ tsp of the spice mixture. Place charred aubergine, cut side up, on top of the onions. Arrange diced tomatoes over top of the aubergine and sprinkle with about 1½ tsp of the spice mixture. Top each aubergine half with 2 portobello mushrooms and sprinkle with remaining spice mixture. Bring up long sides of foil and fold to seal. Then fold in short sides, to form a tightly sealed packet.
Place foil packet on unlit side of the grill. Cook 10 minutes. Flip packet over and cook 10 minutes longer, until aubergine is tender and can be easily separated from skin.
Carefully remove packet from grill and open foil to allow steam to escape; let cool slightly. Remove mushrooms from packet and slice into very thin strips. Peel skin from the aubergine and discard. “Shred” aubergine with two forks and mix with onions. Stir in sliced mushrooms and sprinkle mixture with lime juice.
Serve vegan barbacoa mixture in warm corn tortillas, if desired with lime wedges and toppings such as diced tomato, pickled onions, coriander, sliced jalapenos, vegan cheese and vegan sour cream.
Test Kitchen Tips: Score aubergine most of the way through, leaving the skin intact, to allow the spice mixture to get into the cuts for even flavor. Slicing the mushrooms into very thin strips and “shredding” the aubergine will give you a more meat-like texture. If you don’t have a grill, place aubergine and mushrooms on a shallow baking pan and grill on high about 5 minutes per side or until each nicely charred. After charring the veggies and forming the foil packet as directed, you can finish cooking in the oven. Roast packets in preheated 180°C, 350°F, Gas Mark 4 oven for about 20 minutes, flipping packet over halfway through cooking.