Mean, Green, Eating Machine


Author: Codi Hale

My favorite color is purple. You know what else is purple? EGGPLANT!

Those funky vegetables that you may have been a little weary of. Super shiny, dark, and extra delicious.

They are also super healthy for you: rich in antioxidants, brain-cell supporting nutrients, and fiber.

 

Eggplant is a great substitution for meat. Try this recipe for Eggplant Parmesan Rollatini, a new take on Eggplant Parmesan…which can be a vegetarian substitute for Chicken Parmesan.

[taken from realsimple.com]

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large eggplants (about 3 pounds total ), sliced lengthwise (about 16 slices total)
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 15-ounce container ricotta
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella (8 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (1 1/2 ounces)

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 450° F. Divide the oil between 2 rimmed baking sheets. Dividing evenly, arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on the baking sheets and turn to coat in the oil; season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  2. Bake the eggplant, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until soft and beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes; let cool. Reduce heat to 400° F.
  3. Meanwhile, in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch or some other 3-quart baking dish, spread ½ cup of the marinara sauce. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, ricotta, oregano, 1 cup of the mozzarella, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  4. Place about 3 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture on one end of a slice of eggplant, roll it up, and transfer it to the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices and ricotta mixture.
  5. Top the eggplant rolls with the remaining cup of marinara sauce and the remaining cup of mozzarella. Sprinkle with the Parmesan.
  6. Bake until the cheese has melted and the sauce is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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If you’re looking to make the eggplant more of a main attraction, try making this Grilled Eggplant Provolone. It can be served as an starter course or as a main course, you choose!

[taken from realsimple.com]

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Whisk together the vinegar, oil, and oregano and brush on the cut sides of the eggplants. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat a gas grill to high; adjust the heat to medium after 15 minutes. (If cooking over charcoal, allow the coals to burn until they are covered with gray ash.) Grill the eggplants cut-side down until browned, about 5 minutes. Flip the eggplants and top each half with a slice of provolone. Grill 3 minutes more or until the cheese is bubbly. Top with some Grilled Salsa.
  3. Rainy-day method: Prepare the eggplants as described above. Heat the broiler and cook the eggplants about 6 inches from the heat, cut-side down, for 5 minutes. Turn and broil cut-side up for about 3 minutes. Add the provolone and broil about 3 minutes more

 

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Despite these enticing recipes, what if someone in your life has decided that eggplants are absolutely horrid? Well, you could try this, which the creator of the recipe said has turned many frowns upside down. Give this “Summer Nights Eggplant” a try!

[taken from LIOTAKI at allrecipes.com]

 

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggplants

Directions

  1. Remove the leaves from the eggplants, and slice in half lengthwise. Carefully scoop out the centers of the eggplants, leaving a half-inch shell so they resemble ‘canoes’. Cut the center portion into small pieces, and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and saute for a few minutes, until tender. Add the eggplant pieces, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Then, stir in the tomato, green pepper, and parsley. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat, and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the bread crumbs until evenly blended. Divide the mixture evenly between the four eggplant shells. Sprinkle feta cheese over the top. Place the eggplant halves on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until the tops are browned and the cheese is melted. Serve hot or cold. I prefer them chilled.
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How about just an appetizer? This Roasted Eggplant and Feta Dip is sure to be a hit…I’d make two bowls.
[taken from eatingwell.com]
Roasted Eggplant & Feta Dip Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, preferably Greek
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small chile pepper, such as jalapeño, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of sugar (optional)

PREPARATION

  1. Position oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source; preheat broiler.
  2. Line a baking pan with foil. Place eggplant in the pan and poke a few holes all over it to vent steam. Broil the eggplant, turning with tongs every 5 minutes, until the skin is charred and a knife inserted into the dense flesh near the stem goes in easily, 14 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board until cool enough to handle.
  3. Put lemon juice in a medium bowl. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and scrape the flesh into the bowl, tossing with the lemon juice to help prevent discoloring. Add oil and stir with a fork until the oil is absorbed. (It should be a little chunky.) Stir in feta, onion, bell pepper, chile pepper (if using), basil, parsley, cayenne and salt. Taste and add sugar if needed.
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Lastly, I will leave you with another one of my favorite things: sandwiches. Whether for a decadent lunch or a lighter dinner, this Grilled Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich is sure to hit that spot.

[taken from eatingwell.com]

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant, (1 1/4-1 1/2 pounds), cut into 12 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • Canola or olive oil cooking spray
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons finely shredded Parmesan, or Asiago cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 4 small pieces focaccia bread, or rustic Italian bread
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, divided

Preparation

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
  2. Place eggplant rounds on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Coat both sides lightly with cooking spray. Combine Parmesan (or Asiago) and mozzarella in a small bowl. Brush both sides of focaccia (or bread) with oil.
  3. Place spinach in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and punch several holes in the wrap. Microwave on High until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Combine tomatoes and 2 tablespoons basil in a small microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave until bubbling, about 2 minutes.
  4. Place all your ingredients on the baking sheet with the eggplant and take it to the grill. Grill the eggplant slices until brown and soft on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Grill the bread until toasted, about 1 minute per side. Return the eggplant and bread to the baking sheet. Reduce grill heat to medium.
  5. Place 1 eggplant round on top of each slice of bread. Layer 1 tablespoon tomatoes, 1 tablespoon wilted spinach and 1 tablespoon cheese on each slice of eggplant. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, sauce, spinach and cheese. Sprinkle each stack with some of the remaining basil. Place the baking sheet on the grill, close the lid and grill until the eggplant stack is hot and the cheese is melted, 5 to 7 minutes.
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Moral of this story? Eggplants rock.
Remember: “Health is a large word.  It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well;…and not today’s pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man.” – J.H. West