Eggplant, also known as aubergine, is a perfect example of a vegetable that depending on its preparation, can either taste really delicious, or at the risk of sounding vulgar, well, like a dirty sponge. Most people think highly of eggplant in a single context, fried and rolled around cheese and smothered with tomato sauce, i.e. in eggplant parmesan. Though eggplant parm is indisputably yummy it’s rarely a healthy dish, which is a shame because eggplant in and of itself is a lovely ingredient. It’s loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, and is rich in minerals like potassium, magnesium, and calcium. It’s also very versatile and when paired with complimentary ingredients, is absolutely delicious!
My favorite way to use eggplant is to slice it into thin strips and roast it slowly in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt and smoked paprika. It develops a rich, slightly sweet, smoky flavor that is perfect with slivers of sun-dried tomatoes and toasted pine nuts. Here, I tossed it with a cup of quinoa, and some steamed broccoli leftover from the night before. I imagine olives, if you have some on hand, would complement the dish quite well too. When plated over a bed of vibrant green arugula it’s actually quite stunning and would make an excellent side for a dinner party! to prepare
ingredients: 1 organic eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, 1/4 cup of pine nuts, arugula, 1 lemon, olive oil, sea salt, smoked paprika. optional, quinoa, broccoli, olives.
preheat oven to 400 degrees. cook quinoa. when it’s ten minutes away from done, throw some broccoli florets in the pot (if you would like to include them) and let it steam atop the quinoa while it cooks. wash and dry eggplant. slice into thin strips. toss with olive oil (don’t be alarmed if you have to use quite a bit, eggplant is sponge like and will absorb quite a bit), sea salt, and 1 tsp. of smoked paprika. place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, flipping once or twice to ensure it roasts evenly. meanwhile, place sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl and cover them with a bit of boiling water for 2-3 minutes to help them soften up. slice into thin slivers and place in a large mixing bowl with quinoa, broccoli if using, roasted eggplant, and toasted pine nuts. whisk together juice of 1/2 a lemon, sea salt, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and a teaspoon of tahini. drizzle it over the salad and toss to coat. plate over a bed of arugula, enjoy!