As I walk through the farmers’ market, still a little foggy and not quite awake, the beauty of the flowers, fruits and vegetables, the crisp fresh air and the smell of the food trucks preparing an array of dishes, rouses my senses. I find the displays of vivid colors luscious and intriguing. My imagination is piqued and my brain begins to put together recipes in my head.
I have been focusing more intensely on our health and fitness, so eating fresh, organic and healthy meals has been important.
I’ve been taking a look at all elements of our eating habits and been mindful of scaling back sugar, salt and refined carbs. Don’t get me wrong, I’m also a believer in moderation so I will indulge in real butter, desserts, cheeses, just with more restraint than usual.
This is a wonderful vegetarian/vegan entrée or side dish that is equally tasty as it is lovely in its presentation, and it is surprisingly quick and easy to make.
The quality of the eggplants can make or break this dish.
Look for fresh, firm, shiny eggplants. When picking out the right size, think about whether you will be serving the eggplant as an appetizer, entrée or side dish. Use small Japanese eggplants for an appetizer or side, and a larger eggplant (a little larger than the size of your hand) for entrée portions.
- 2 small eggplants
- 2 red peppers, roasted and diced medium
- ½ medium to large yellow onion, chopped in medium dice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons sundried tomatoes, diced small
- 1 tablespoon caper berries
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon herbs du Provence, plus a little more fore sprinkling on eggplant
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
- ½ cup goat crumbled cheese (omit for vegan or dairy free)
- ¼ cup walnuts, toasted or raw
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
- Preheat broiler.
- Place onions and red peppers in a sauté pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil over low to medium heat.
- Sauté mixture for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Cut eggplant in half lengthwise and set on a sheet pan, cut side up.
- Brush heavily with olive oil.
- Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs du Provence.
- Place under broiler until very dark on the top and tender throughout, about 15-20 minutes.
- While the eggplant is roasting, add garlic, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, smoked paprika, herbs and remaining olive oil to the red pepper mixture.
- Stir and continue to sauté for another 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove the eggplant from the oven and transfer to a serving platter.
- Spoon the red pepper mixture on top of each eggplant half.
- Sprinkle with minced oregano, walnuts and goat cheese and serve.