Tag Archives: eggplant

Grilled Vegetable Salad & Fruit Smoothie

17 Aug

We have a problem. The significant other and I tend to buy way too many Groupons & Livingsocial deals…and then forget about them until right before they expire. We bought a voucher for $30 worth of organic, local vegetables delivered to our door like three months ago…and got out veggies this morning! The tub was packed full of leafy greens, potatoes, corn, broccoli, eggplant and carrots. Now to find a way to use all this!

Lunch was easy to throw together. I salted and let eggplants slices sweat for about 30 minutes. I sliced some zucchini squash and heirloom beefsteak tomatoes and let those marinate in garlic powder, salt+pepper, balsamic vinegar and olive oil while the eggplant was sweating. The grill was then fired up and everything thrown on for about 10 minutes. Grilled Vegetable Salad!  The great thing about marinating vegetables is that the leftover marinade doesn’t go to waste, unlike when you marinate meat stuffs. Leftover marinade = lazy man’s salad dressing. The salad was gorgeous and bright BUT unfortunately, the eggplant was SO BITTER! Such a bummer. I know salting/sweating helps with the bitterness, but wow, it was pretty much inedible. It made my mouth hurt so much! Oh well! I devoured the rest of the salad and ended up pitching the eggplant. Not sure what went wrong, maybe just a bad aubergine?

I also made a fruit smoothie to add a bit of sweetness + daily serving of fruits to the meal. LOVE smoothies, especially on hot summer days! We try to buy and use fresh fruit as much as possible, but sometimes it’s too expensive or not available! When fruit is on sale, we buy a lot of it and freeze it. Perfect for smoothie making because you don’t need to add any ice. This smoothie consisted of: pineapple slices, strawberries (with the greens still on top), blueberries, and orange juice. Simple, but so sweet and refreshing!

 

Super excited to be seeing one of my all-time favorite bands, Incubus, at Red Rocks Amphitheatre tonight! Just hoping the thunderstorms roll right on past us 🙂 Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan with Homemade Whole Wheat Spinach Pasta

3 Aug

So delightfully creamy on the inside and crunchy bready goodness on the outside! and fresh pasta is far superior to store-bought...

Eggplant has always intimidated me. It’s such a strange, elusive vegetable that I had never really tried until going vegetarian. It’s such a versatile veggie that can be prepared in so many ways. Today, I had so many different cravings that I decided to make an entire meal that was a little involved and time-consuming. SO WORTH IT. This baked version of eggplant parmesan had so much flavor and the homemade whole wheat spinach pasta complemented the eggplant well. I’ve made eggplant parmesan in the past and always had issues getting the breadcrumbs to stick well…so I improvised. with veggie gravy. Of course, if you’re not vegan, just go with a typical egg dunk because that’s usually pretty reliable. With vegetable stock, I made a super thick gravy (thanks to arrowroot powder) and used that to dunk the eggplant. I feel it added more flavor overall and created a lovely crunchy exterior.

Vegan Baked Eggplant Parmesan

  • One fresh aubergine (eggplant!), sliced into 1/2″ thick rounds
  • Copious amounts of salt
  • 2 cups Vegetable stock
  • Cornstarch, arrowroot powder or flour to use as a thickener
  • Spices that make this dish sublime, such as onion powder, garlic powder, oregano…
  • Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs (since I have no bread, used Progresso Panko breadcrumbs)
  • Your favorite marinara sauce
  • Daiya shredded mozzarella style “cheese” (or your favorite non-dairy cheese…or cheese.)
  • Fresh chopped basil as a topping
Slice the eggplant into rounds. Cover a baking sheet with foil (for easy clean-up) and make a single layer of eggplant on the sheet. Sprinkle with lots of salt and let SWEAT for 20 minutes. Sweaty eggplant! During this time, make your gravy to dunk the eggplant in (or just use a couple eggs if you don’t want to do this step…i know, a lot of work). In a small saucepan, start heating the vegetable stock. Mix cornstarch or arrowroot powder per directions with water and then add to the veggie stock. Bring to a boil, constantly stirring. I made mine super thick to ensure that it would stick to the eggplant, so if yours isn’t to your liking, add more starch. It won’t look pretty or taste too exciting, but that isn’t too important! It’s just for dunking purposes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse the salt off the eggplant and pat dry. Get your dunking stations ready! Also, have your baking sheet ready so that you can just put everything on and pop in the oven (I baked mine on a Silpat, you might want to lightly spray your baking sheet with oil). Take a round of eggplant and dunk into the gravy. Let excess gravy drip off and then dunk into breadcrumbs, thoroughly coating. Repeat! I ended up with like 12 rounds of eggplant…way too many for the two people in our household. SO. I grabbed another baking sheet, put all the extra prepared eggplant on it and threw it in the freezer. Once they’re completely frozen, I’ll transfer them to a freezer bag. Hooray for quick easy dinners! Back to the present.
Once all the eggplant are coated, place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. Flip once midway. Towards the last 5-10 minutes, grab spoonfuls of marinara and spread it over the tops of the eggplant. Then top with mozzarella cheese and let cook a few more minutes. DONE!
Vegan Whole Wheat Spinach Pasta
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (olive oil infused with something, such as garlic, works GREAT here)
  • handful of fresh baby spinach
  • spices, such as onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, or pepper
Mix flours together. In a blender, add the vegetable stock, spinach and spices. Blend until VERY smooth (a Vitamix is awesome for this, FYI).  Work oil and spinach/stock into the flour until dough starts forming. Dough should be smooth, not too sticky, but not cracking either.  Add more stock if not pliable enough. Let dough rest for a few minutes.
If you’re brave and strong, you can roll this dough out by hand, as thin as you can and slice with a sharp knife. If you have a pasta maker, roll out the dough to your favorite settings. Let dry for 10-20 minutes (not completely necessary) and when ready, boil for a couple minutes or until they float. Mix with your favorite sauce (in this case, marinara).
Notes:
  • I really liked the way the gravy + breadcrumb mixture made a very crispy outside and kept the middle soft and flavorful.
  • Pinot Noir would pair great with this, but I made this at like, noon. Can’t go to work tipsy, unfortunately.
  • I’m hoping the freezer version of these keep their flavor and texture. I will report back!
  • EVERYONE NEEDS TO BUY A PASTA MAKER SO THEY CAN ALWAYS INDULGE IN THE WONDERS OF FRESH PASTA. seriously.
This was quite a success. So good. Can’t wait to eat more. Tonight. With that Pinot Noir that’s been staring at me for a couple days.