Roasted eggplant with tomato stuffing

Eggplants are popping out in northeast CSA shares this week.  And farmer’s markets are crawling with tomatoes.  Thus this seems like the perfect dish to try this week.  It can easily fly solo as a vegetarian main course, or be served as a hearty side to a simple sausage or chicken breast.  You can add or subtract as many veggies as you like to the stuffing- for instance collard greens would go great as would broccoli, green peppers, or even butternut squash.  Go ahead and get creative with your favorite flavors!

1 small eggplant, halved lengthwise

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1 small onion, sliced

4 oz. cremini mushrooms, cubed

1 small zucchini, quartered and sliced

1 small carrot, quartered and sliced

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 tomato cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 F
  • Place eggplant halves in a 9×9 pan, cut sides up. Sprinkle each half with about 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • In a small skillet over a medium heat, sauté the onions, mushrooms, zucchini and carrot in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until onions begin to be translucent, about five minutes
  • Transfer the mixture into a small bowl and stir in the tomato, basil, and remaining salt
  • Pile the mixture on top of the eggplant halves and drizzle the remaining olive oil, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes
  • Remove the foil and bake until eggplants are soft and tender, uncovered, for about 20 more minutes

We opted to have chicken sausages for our protein with this dish so I added them to the baking dish at the point where I removed the foil and baked for 20 more minutes (as my sausages were pre-cooked).

This recipe was inspired by this post and tweaked by me.

J

Moroccan Eggplant with Garbanzo Beans

This is a vegetarian dish where there is so much going on flavor-wise, you never even realize that there’s no meat.  Sweet chunks of red bell pepper meet with tart pieces of eggplant and meld together in the spices for a fantastic stew that is rich in vitamin c and fiber.  The chewy little raisins reconstitute in the sauce and add yet another level of texture.

Ingredients:

1 large onion, cut in half and sliced thinly

5 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

pinch of red pepper flakes

2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained

2 cups cooked lentils

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1-1/4 cups + 1 TBS chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 cup raisins (I used a variety of golden, Thompson & red flame)

1 TBS chopped fresh cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Heat 1 TBS of broth in a large skillet and sauté the onion over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently
  • Add garlic, red bell pepper, eggplant, garam masala, and turmeric

  • Stir to mix it up, and add remaining broth and tomato sauce
  • Stir again, cover, and cook over a medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Add garbanzo beans, lentils, red chili flakes, and raisins and simmer for another 5 minutes
  • Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with chopped cilantro

This recipe was inspired by a post on World’s Healthiest Foods.

J

Quinoa stuffed peppers

I can honestly say that I make stuffed peppers about twice each cool season, and I have never made them the same way twice.  Sometimes I stuff them with quinoa & veggies, sometimes with brown rice.  When I was a little girl my Mom stuffed green peppers with hamburger & rice and spaghetti sauce.  Some folks use sausage in their stuffing.  What I am trying to say is that there’s no limit to the flavor combinations you can make.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon Olive oil

1 rib Celery, chopped

½ of an Onion, chopped

1 Carrot, chopped

2 cloves Garlic

½ small Eggplant, chopped

6 Mushrooms, chopped

½ of a Summer squash, chopped

½ of a Zucchini, chopped

Handful of Spinach, sliced into ribbons

½ can of Aduki beans

Parmesan cheese

1 cup Quinoa

2 cups Chicken or vegetable broth

2 cups Tomato sauce (half for the stuffing, half for the baking dish)

2-4 Red peppers (depending on how many you plan to stuff)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • In a large fry pan heat the olive oil, then add the celery, onion and carrot and cook for 3 to 4 minutes
  • In a small sauce pan bring the quinoa & broth to a boil, then turn heat down to low, cover with a lid, and cook for 15 minutes

  • To the fry pan add garlic, eggplant, mushrooms, summer squash and zucchini and cook for 6 to 8 minutes

  • Set a large pot full of salted water to boil, cut the tops off of the peppers and remove their seeds while leaving the peppers whole
  • Add to the fry pan the spinach and beans, and any seasonings you might care for (salt, pepper, oregano, basil, cayenne, crushed red pepper, parsley- for instance)
  • Add the whole peppers to the boiling water, making sure that they are totally submerged, and cook for 3 minutes

  • Add the cooked quinoa to the vegetables into the fry pan, pour in 1 cup of tomato sauce, and simmer for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to come together, add Parmesan cheese to your taste

  • Pull the cooked peppers out of the boiling water and run under cool water to stop the cooking
  • Spray a loaf pan (for 2 peppers) or square baking dish (for 4 peppers) with baking spray and pour 1 cup of tomato sauce into the bottom of the pan
  • Stuff peppers with quinoa & vegetable mixture and place in baking pan
  • Cover baking dish with foil to prevent peppers from burning and bake for 20 minutes

Note: none of these ingredients are set in stone.  If you don’t like something- leave it out.  If you want to add things like artichoke hearts, olives, peas, broccoli, fresh tomatoes, anything– just add them.

We had the peppers as a second course, after spinach salads with blueberries & tomatoes.

J

Eggplant Bolognese

I can honestly say that I love a good bolognese.  So when I saw this recipe for one without any meat I was certainly skeptical.  How does one take a recipe that is by nature fatty with meat drippings and cream and make it both vegetarian and healthy?  In a side-by-side, there is no comparison.  They are simply two different beasts.  But to take this dish for what it is, it’s great in its own right.

I would suggest making it ahead a day or two and allow it to sit around in the fridge and meld flavors.

Ingredients

1 cup dry red wine
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), peeled and chopped
12 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons no-salt-added tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable (or chicken) broth
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup non-fat milk (or soy or almond milk)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, divided
1 pound pasta

Directions

  • Bring red wine to a simmer in a large pot over medium heat.  You should probably be prepared to serve the rest of that bottle with dinner 😉

  • Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook , stirring frequently, until onion is translucent and very tender and most of the wine has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
  • Add eggplant, mushrooms and rosemary and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Stir in tomato paste and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Add tomatoes, broth and pepper and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.

  • Remove from the heat and stir in milk and 2 tablespoons chopped basil.
  • Cook up some pasta…
  • …and steam up something green…
  • …and enjoy a very tasty dinner.

This recipe yielded two dinner plates, two good lunches, and a full quart to store in the freezer.  It was fantastic with some grated fresh Parm too.

J

Quinoa stuffing

Yesterday’s Farmer’s market had the best selection of fruits and vegetables yet this year, so I stocked up.   I had fresh garlic and eggplant, summer squash and zucchini, farm fresh eggs, and the list could go on and on.  A few nights ago my sister-in-law was over for dinner and talking about spaghetti and meatballs (which I love).  I decided that I would make myself some meatballs this week so I grabbed some ground turkey breast meat at the grocery store.  Since Duncan woke me up at 6:00 this morning I had nothing else to do before the rest of the human world awakes, so I decided to get started on those meatballs.

I began with a saute of celery, onion, and shallot and added to that mushrooms, summer squash, zucchini, eggplant, baby spinach, fresh basil, and assorted dried herbs.  Then I tossed in some cooked quinoa and shaved over a bit of Pecorino Romano.

Quinoa stuffing

Quinoa stuffing

I took about half of this mixture and tossed it in with my ground turkey, added an egg and some herbed bread crumbs and made meatballs.  I think that I’ll mix the other half with some tomato sauce for a stuffed pepper mixture.  If it doesn’t make it into a pepper it’ll be because I ate it as a side dish to eggplant stackers.