Who DOESN’T love eggplant? If you are thinking, “Well, me,” then it is entirely possible you just haven’t found the right recipe yet. This versatile member of the nightshade family is a delicious addition to dishes from all over the world, be they Italian, Indian, Greek, Thai, Chinese, American, or (as seen below) traditional French Provencal. It can be enjoyed hot or cold, with or without skin, and seasoned in any way you like. On top of all that, it is a rich source of fiber and potassium, and it may help prevent cancer and lower cholesterol. So I ask you again: who DOESN’T love eggplant?
In the interest of helping the uneducated palate to discover the culinary delight that is the Aubergine (a.k.a. eggplant), Lexan Koenig, Culinary Sales Coordinator for Earth Fare and owner/chef of The Kitchen Witch (a personal chef and culinary coaching business based in Knoxville, Tennessee) has provided my fortunate readers with her mouth – watering and vegan – friendly Roasted Ratatouille, featuring our friend the eggplant. The dish takes less than thirty minutes’ prep time and about an hour in the oven. This delicious, nutritious meal can be served hot, room temperature, or just – out – of –the – fridge cold. Also, it makes plenty and stores for up to one week in the refrigerator. So read on, but be prepared to be inspired to take a sudden trip to the grocery store, because this easy, mouth – watering meal will immediately become a regular fixture in your culinary repertoire.
Cut all in 1/2 inch cubes:
-1 large eggplant (Lexan said she does not peel the eggplant, but you can if you like. However, I would recommend that my readers leave the peels on, due to their health benefits.)
-2 large carrots (Again, Lexan doesn’t peel them, just washes and cuts them.)
-4 ribs celery (Our personal chef recommends using the hearts with the leaves on them for extra flavor)
-1 red onion
-1 yellow/Spanish onion
-1 yellow squash
-1 red bell pepper
-1 green bell pepper
-1 yellow bell pepper
-1 bulb fennel, fronds removed
-3 large portobellas (Lexan recommends using the stems, trimmed, “but use a spoon to remove the gills so everything doesn’t turn mud color.”)
-8 to 10 plum tomatoes (Lexan does not remove the seeds, but says that is an option if there is an issue.)
-3 rosemary stems – leaves removed and chopped
-6 thyme stems – leaves removed
-1 bunch oregano – leaves removed
-1 bunch flat leaf parsley – leaves and stems chopped
-6 cloves garlic, chopped
-1/4 c. good extra virgin olive oil
-sea salt (or kosher salt) and fresh ground pepper to taste
Pre – heat the oven to 350*.
Then, Lexan says, “Toss everything together in a heavy roasting pan, coating well with the oil, herbs and salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast until browned on the edges, tomatoes have given up their juice and everything smells divine,” which she says will take about an hour.
For those who would like a little extra protein, or just to put a different spin on the dish, Lexan suggests adding a can of chickpeas, black beans or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, or even cubed tofu to the pan for the last 20 minutes of cooking.
Again, this makes plenty and will keep in the fridge for about a week. Give the recipe a try, and please leave comments here to let us know how it turns out for you!