I am not a promoter of adultery at all. But I think food is an exception. I cheat on peanut butter, Greek yogurt, sweet potatoes, chocolate, plums, tofu, kale, eggs, almonds, et cetera. However, if I ever see the word “eggplant” on a menu, then I’m getting that dish. No doubt about it.
Eggplant gets too much of a mellow to negative rep, mainly because it’s a nightshade vegetable. However, it’s versatile, absorbent, low in calories and fat, high in fiber, vitamin B1, potassium, manganese, phytonutrients and phenolic compounds that act as antioxidants. But mostly, it tastes SO. FREAKING. GOOD. In fact, it’s a popular vegan/vegetarian substitute for meat because of its hearty texture! What’s weird is that I’m the only person I know that loves the skin. It literally breaks my heart when I see people peeling the skin off of not just eggplants, but everything! I’m like–WHY?!?!
You can basically do anything with eggplant: saute them, miso glaze them, bake them, boil them, make babaganoush, hummus, put them in curries, but in my house we traditionally have it Italian style: homemade marinara with pepper and sometimes a little cheese. I always like to have a nutrient dense side salad–in this case, I created a gorgeous cranberry kale salad with avocado and a lemony balsamic dressing to make the perfect autumn dish that you could have any time of the day.
And is it weird that I call these my favorite savory pancakes? Because they look like a stack of pancakes…
RECIPE (eggplant stacks; serving size will vary)
- 2 large eggplants
- Olive oil to taste; can also be truffle oil or coconut oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Homemade marinara sauce
- Opt: Mozzarella, goat cheese or parmesan, various spices such as cayenne, cumin, etc.
- Set the oven to roast, or preheat to 375F or 190C.
- Rinse your eggplants in a strainer and pat dry on a chopping board.
- Take a large baking tray and cover with aluminum foil.
- Brush or drizzle olive oil on the foil.
- Cut your eggplant into medium-thick slices.
- Place each eggplant stack on the foil.
- Flip to cover each side with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Repeat on other side.
- Roast for 25-30 minutes or until soft and golden-brown.
- Let cool out of the oven.
- Stack the eggplant slices and layer each with homemade marinara sauce, cheese or more pepper.
RECIPE (cranberry kale salad)
- 3 large stalks of dinosaur kale
- 1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
- 1 lemon
- 3-4 TBSP balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- Opt: sliced almonds, bell peppers, raisins, olive oil, carrots, etc.
- Rinse your dinosaur kale thoroughly and pat dry.
- Chop your kale very finely.
- Assemble your kale in a very large salad bowl.
- Drizzle vinegar and lemon juice on the kale and massage thoroughly.
- Mix in cranberries and avocado and serve with eggplant.
Do you cheat on food? What would you always order on a menu no matter what you’re craving?