Baked eggplant, stuffed with cashew cream… could it get any better? I wasn’t able to get a photo once the sauce and cheese was added, but let me tell you, no one missed the pasta with this dish.
I took one large eggplant and thinly sliced it using a mandolin. Eggplants contain a lot of moisture and it’s best to salt the slices to help release some of the water. While the eggplant was sweating away, I made the filling. First, I sautéed some baby kale. Then, I made the cashew filling as follows:
- 2 c raw cashews, preferably soaked for 4 hours
- 1/2 c water
- 1 Tbls lemon juice
- 1 Tbls nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
Blend all ingredients until you get a creamy consistency.
Next, pat the sweated eggplant with paper towels; coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 400 F until the slices are tender. Remove from oven, let cool. Spread with cashew filling and baby kale. Roll and place in a dish that has a foundation of pasta sauce. Cover rolled eggplant with remaining pasta sauce and top with cheese, if desired. Bake at 350 F for about 30-40 minutes.
While in South Africa, my culinary curiosity was taken to a whole new level. I even received a fun cookbook by Evita Bezuidenhout for my birthday. I am excited to test out some of her veg friendly recipes!
The meal I made tonight is a very special one. Being abroad, one often lacks a satisfying, filled with love, home cooked meal. When my friend asked if I was keen on aubergine, my heart skipped a beat. “Um, yes I am keen on aubergine.” I waited as patiently as possible for the meal to be complete. I noticed the beautiful presentation right away; the harmony of the red tomatoes, white feta, dark kalamata olives, and green parsley made it look almost too pretty to eat. As I took my first bite, I savored the salty and earthy flavors. I was hooked. I asked where he came up with the recipe and I was told it’s from Macedonia and is something many of the peasants would eat. I never thought the meal I’d enjoy the most in South Africa would be from Macedonia…go figure.
Since I didn’t see how it was made, we (luckily) had the dish again. This time I was sous chef and got the scoop. We didn’t really measure much, so I am doing my best with how I eyeballed everything.
- 3-4 aubergines
- olive oil
- onion, chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- salt/pepper to taste
- 1 can of cherry tomatoes (I used plum, make sure they’re peeled; reserve the sauce), chopped
- 1/2 c pitted kalamata olives, chopped
- feta cheese
- fresh parsley
- Make a few slits in the aubergines and add them to a large pot of boiling water. Cover. Cook until tender. Drain them to let them cool
- Preheat oven to 350F (or about 180C)
- Sauté onion and garlic in a generous amount of oil. Once onions are translucent, add the spices
- Next, add tomatoes, olives, and a small handful of chopped parsley. Pour in some of the sauce from the canned tomatoes. I like mine less saucy and more chunky, so I didn’t add as much. Remove the sauce from the heat
- Use a cookie sheet and coat with oil. Make two large slits on the left and right side of each aubergine. Stuff the sauce into the slits. Sprinkle with feta and chopped parsley
- Bake for 10-15 minutes
Vegetables really amaze me sometimes. My parents live up in northern Minnesota. They had some light snow early this week, yet my dad just cut this beautiful eggplant for me to use. It was already starting to soften up so I needed to cook with it ASAP. This meal takes minutes to put together and needs a good 45 minutes in the oven, or until the eggplant is cooked. The thinner you slice the veggies, the less they will have to take, which I am sure you all know.
- one small eggplant, sliced 1/2-1/4″ rounds
- one red pepper, top cut, sliced whole
- half a container of Daiya havarti garlic cheese, sliced
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Slice eggplant and lightly salt to let some moisture out. Also slice the red pepper
- Prepare a baking dish by coating generously with oil, assemble the eggplant with cheese and red pepper
3. Bake for 20 minutes, remove and add pasta sauce, and bake for 25-35 minutes longer
Tonight I roasted some eggplant and yellow peppers. To do so I simply sliced the eggplant, oiled, salted and peppered each side and placed onto a baking sheet. For the peppers, I just cut these into big chunks and threw them on the pan with no oil or salt. I baked the veggies at 375 F for 7 minutes, flipped the eggplant and baked for another 7-10 minutes.
While these were roasting, I cooked 1 cup of dried quinoa according to the box. Then, I multi-tasked by whipping up a homemade tahini dressing (~about~ 2 tbls tahini; 2 tsp olive oil; 1-2 tsp water; couple dashes of cayenne; 1/2 garlic clove; minced; splash of rice vinegar; 1 tsp agave; 1 tsp sesame oil; and a 7 sprays of Bragg’s aminos).
When the quinoa was done, I added the dressing which made about 1/4 cup or so. And after the veggies had cooled down some, I cut the eggplant slices into bite sized pieces and stirred everything together. I think this salad would be nice served hot or cold. Enjoy!
Curries can sometimes be rich and heavy, but the eggplant chickpea curry from Isa’s Appetite for Reduction book is light and full of flavor. I’m not going to post the recipe because I think you all should go out and buy her books. However, I’ll give you a tip in that it is very similar to her eggplant and black-eyed pea curry she has posted on the Post Punk Kitchen site.
I made Baba Ganoush (Ghanoush) for my first time today. It turned out excellent. I will definitely make this again!
- 1 large globe eggplant
- 1 head of garlic
- 2 tbls tahini
- 2 tbls lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp liquid smoke
- 1/4 tsp cayenne (I’d suggest using cumin, I somehow didn’t have any on hand)
Pierce the eggplant a few times with a fork and bake at 450F for about 30 minutes or until soft. During this time, roast the garlic (cut off the tops and drizzle with oil, wrap in foil). Let the garlic and eggplant cool. When cool, pinch the garlic out of its skin and into a food processor. Next, cut the eggplant in half, lengthwise. Scoop the flesh out into the processor. Add the remaining ingredients and combine until smooth. Garnish with paprika and chives.
I had a few eggplants leftover and wanted to do something creative with them. I searched through the indices of a few cookbooks and met my match in Isa’s Appetite for Reduction. Her eggplant lentil chili is actually described as a mole, but subtract the cocoa and you have yourself a hearty chili! I didn’t know exactly how many pounds my eggplants weighed in at, but I guesstimated it was around 2lbs. I freaked a bit when I dumped the cubed eggplants into the pot. I knew they’d cook down, but there seemed to be an overwhelming amount. In the end, it all turned out marvy. (*note to those who seek heat, definitely kick it up with this one…I was making this for diners that are sensitive to heat, but it could use a hotter chili spice, maybe some Habanero peppers?)
Eggplant Lentil Chili
- 1 tbls olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced (I used orange)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbls mild chili powder
- 2 tsps ground cumin
- 2 tsps dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 c dried green lentils, rinsed
- 4 c veg broth
- 1 15oz can of diced tomatoes
- 2 lbs eggplant, peeled and cubed
- Saute onion and pepper. When onion is soft (after 5 minutes or so) add garlic. Let that sit for a minute.
- Then mix in powders and salt. Add 1/2 c broth, cook for a minute.
- After everything seems well incorporated, add lentils, remaining broth and eggplant.
4. Bring to a boil, once boiling lower to a simmer.
5. Cover and let chili simmer for 40 minutes, until the eggplant and lentils are soft.