Blog » What’s in Season? Eggplant!
If I had a nickel every time someone told me, “I have no idea what to do with eggplant,” then I would be a rich woman. Eggplant is very versatile because it soaks up the flavors of the flavors around it, kind of like mushrooms. So, if you combine it with other delicious flavors, you can’t go wrong.
Here are two of my favorite ways to use eggplant:
Layered Pasta Bake (serves 6-8)
This vegetarian dish freezes beautifully. It’s so hearty, most people won’t notice the lack of meat, but add some ground beef to a layer if you insist.
1 16 oz. package of brown rice pasta (or pasta of choice)
2 cups marinara sauce
2 cups mozzarella
15 oz. package ricotta cheese
1 red bell pepper
herb and dried spice mixture:
2 tsp. parsley
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. thyme
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
almond pesto paste:
3 cups basil leaves
3/4 cup nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese
1/2 cup raw almonds, soaked for 15 minutes in water
3 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Cut red bell pepper in half and remove core and seeds. Roast on 500 degrees F under the broiler until slightly charred and slice into strips once cool. Cook entire package of pasta in salted boiling water until desired tenderness. Slice zucchini and eggplant into thin uniform slices. Mix ricotta cheese with 1/2 of the herb mixture. Blend pesto ingredients in a blender or food processor and set to the side. Combine herb and spice mixture and set to the side.
Layer in the following order in a large casserole dish:
1/4 of herb mixture,
1 cup marinara,
1 cup mozzarella,
1/2 of pasta,
ricotta herb mixture,
1 cup marinara
other 1/2 of pasta
red pepper, sliced
1 cup of mozzarella
1/2 of pesto paste
Notes: You can make only half of the pesto if you only want just enough for this dish. I know I’ll use the rest later so I made the whole recipe. Also, feel free to layer as you wish. The same flavors will still be there if you use the same ingredients.
Also, the noodles get a bit crispy when you bake this dish. If crispy noodles are not for you, simply cover the entire dish with aluminum foil prior to baking.
Ratatouille with Chicken (serves 3)
This dish is a delightful and easy way to use up a ton of veggies in one fell swoop.
2 cups fresh basil, chopped
2 lbs. tomatoes, chopped roughly*
2 yellow squash, sliced
1 medium eggplant, chopped roughly
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic (~ 2 Tbsp.)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the chicken:
12 oz. skinless chicken breast (free range and organic)
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
Combine all veggies in a large pot on medium-high heat. Stir periodically cooking for 10-15 minutes. Add all seasoning and spices and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Add oil and stir to incorporate throughout.
Heat a pan to medium high heat with 1 tsp. of oil. Mix all of the herbs and spices for the chicken and sprinkle evenly over both sides of each piece of chicken. Sauté the chicken until browned on both sides (~5 minutes each). Turn heat to low and allow to cook for an additional five minutes or until the center of the chicken is no longer pink.
Plate ratatouille with a piece of chicken on top and serve immediately or serve over pasta, rice, or another grain.
*Can substitute a 32 ounce can of diced tomatoes.
Eggplant also goes very nicely on top of pizza, after a bit of sautéing, or in a curry stir fry. Be creative! Eggplant is what you make of it. Do you have a favorite eggplant recipe?
Like what you see? Check out Kelly’s blog, foodiefresh.com, for more recipes and ramblings.