Eggplant Hummus with Dill Pesto

This is a fantastic way to hide some eggplant and use up a big hunk of pesto. I’ve served this on toast, with eggs, as the base of a sandwich, and would absolutely love the pesto swirled into some mashed potatoes. The hummus, too, tbh. Ooh. Would also be nice thinned with a bit of oil or water and tossed with pasta. I need to make a second batch.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Eggplant Hummus with Dill Pesto

Hummus

1 smallish eggplant, roasted

1 can chickpeas, drained

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

2 Tbsp. tahini

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. red pepper

Salt

To make, combine all ingredients in a food processor and whiz. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or acid as necessary.

Dill Pesto

1 huge hand dill (about 1/3 of a cup packed)

About 1/3 of a cup smoked almonds, chopped

1 big clove garlic

3-4 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. water

Zest of 1 lemon

Salt

To make, combine all ingredients in a food processor and whiz. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or acid as necessary.

Makes about a cup of hummus and half – 3/4 a cup of pesto

Burnt Eggplant Pasta

I love a good hidden veggie pasta, and this dish is no exception. Almost smoky (smoky would be awesome here), a little tart, a little silk – this one is good.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Burnt Eggplant Pasta

2 small purple eggplants

Salt, pepper, neutral oil

2 Tablespoons neutral oil

1/2 yellow onion

3 cloves garlic

1 Tablespoon Thai roasted red chili paste

1.5 Tablespoons tamarind paste

1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses

1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios

1/2 cup fresh parsley

1.5 cups cooked pasta

Lemon or sumac powder

Preheat your oven to 220C/400F and prepare a baking sheet with a silicone mat or tinfoil. Halve your eggplants lengthwise, score, dust with salt & pepper and sprinkle with neutral oil. Bake about 40 minutes, or until blackened but not turned into charcoal.

Pull and let sit to cool.

In a medium saucepan, sautee the onion and garlic (chopped) in 2 Tablespoons of oil until nicely browned. Hit with salt and pepper.

Scoop the eggplant guts into the onions and stir to combine.

Add the red chili paste, tamarind paste and pomegranate molasses. Stir to combine.

Chuck into the bowl of a food processor and whiz until mostly blended. Taste and add a bit more salt and pepper if needed.

Put back into the pan with the cooked pasta.

Chop the pistachios and parsley. Fold into the pasta mixture and serve topped with the lemon or sumac powder.

Serves 2 for dinner

Sweet & Sour Eggplant Hummus

This sounds like a weird one, but is addictive. This dish is based on a crazy good hummus a girlfriend and I (hello, Val @hellotinywonder) had at the staple ‘bring your out-of-town guests’ place Damasca One, a stunning mostly-Syrian restaurant in Souq Waqif.

The dish we had tasted like vegan sloppy joes in the best possible way – sweet and tangy eggplant nestled in luscious kibbeh on a bed of silky hummus. It was a stunner, and the stand-out of the night (at least for me – there was also a fantastic lentil dish I couldn’t eat enough of to parse).

My recreation is solid (as attested by another girlfriend, who I had the chance to make it for – Annmarie of last weeks’ Za’atar Eggplant fame). No kibbeh in mine, and longer cooking is definitely better – but it’s super freaking good and probably a touch healthier.

I’m super pumped that I have leftovers!

Gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Sweet & Sour Eggplant Hummus

Sauce:

1 large purple eggplant
1 red pepper
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses
Neutral oil
Salt & pepper
Ground cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano

Hummus:

1 can chickpeas
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 c. tahini
1/2 tsp. cumin
3-4 cloves garlic
Salt & pepper

Toppers:

Pomegranate arils
Toasted pine nuts

First, roast the veg. Preheat your oven to 200C/375F. Prep a baking sheet.

Chop the pepper into big chunks and put to 1 side of the tray.

Chop the eggplant into 1/2 inch pieces and put to the other side of the tray.

Sprinkle both with neutral oil, salt, pepper & ground cumin.

Bake for 30-ish minutes or until soft and blackened lightly in spots. Set aside to cool.

While that’s going, slice the onion as thinly as possible. Mince the garlic. Add to a saucepan with 3 Tbsp. neutral oil over low heat. Add some salt & pepper.

Let gently cook, stirring occasionally, 30 – 45 minutes or until the onions are deeply caramelized.

While those are both working, whiz all hummus ingredients together. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or acid if necessary. Set aside.

When the veggies are baked, whiz the peppers a bit to break them up some.

Add the whizzed pepper, tomato paste, pomegranate molasses, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. oregano, and 3 Tablespoons water into the onion mixture. Let cook a few minutes to combine.

Whiz to combine a bit better, dump back into the pan, fold in the eggplant, and cook an additional 10 minutes to reduce back down a bit and let the flavors mature.

To serve, lay the hummus down, top with the eggplant mixture and sprinkle with the toppers.

Serves a few

Za’atar Eggplant

This is a dead simple way to explore a sometimes under-utilized and misunderstood vegetable: the simple Italian style eggplant.

I can’t take credit for this recipe – I was treated to it at a good friend’s house after she raved about it. She wasn’t wrong.

Gluten-free, paleo, Whole30, low carb, vegetarian, vegan

Za’atar Eggplant

1 purple eggplant
Za’atar
Your favorite cooking oil
Salt & pepper

Line a baking sheet with paper or silicone. Preheat your oven to 200C/375F.

Slice your eggplant into thick “steaks” however you like – width or lengthwise.

Lightly score each slice with a knife in a crosshatch pattern, taking care not to slice through the pieces.

Sprinkle lightly with salt & pepper.

Top very generously with za’atar (enough time form a crust).

Sprinkle lightly with your oil of choice to kind of stick the spice down. Alternately, you can mix the spice and oil together in a bowl, then smooth over the eggplant slices – depends on how much oil you want to use.

Bake 25 – 35 mins or until softened and browned – a bit crisp if they’re thin slices.

Serves 2

Eggplant Soba

This recipe is the first stab at recreating a bread spread I had at lunch one day that was so magical I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what it was. I thought some form of mustard with cardamom, but no – hidden veggies! Yay, hidden veggies!

This version isn’t half bad. It isn’t quite there, so expect to see more attempts this summer – but it’s good. And it was delicious swirled into some leftover buckwheat noodles with nice crunchy radishes on top.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Eggplant Soba

4 small Italian eggplants
10 garlic cloves, halved
Neutral oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 tsp, fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
3 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cardamom
2 tsp. cayenne powder
2 tsp. lemon powder
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
Salt & pepper
1 stack soba noodles per person to serve
2 – 4 thinly sliced radishes per person to serve
1 green onion, thinly sliced to serve

Halve your eggplants lengthwise and cross-hatch score. Salt, and lay face down on a cooling rack to drain for 10 minutes.

When your eggplants have drained, pat dry and preheat your oven to 200 – 220C. Line a baking sheet with foil or a silpat.

Fill the scores of the eggplants with the garlic halves. Drizzle some oil over top and sear in a large pan 3 – 5 minutes or until you get some color. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet face side up.

Roast eggplants 20 – 30 minutes or until softened and cooked through. Pull from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.

This is a good time to make the soba according to package directions.

When your eggplant is cooled, scoop the flesh into a blender or food processor.

In your searing pan, toast the onion and spices in 2 Tbsp. oil over medium-high heat until the spices are fragrant and the onions are beginning to go translucent. Add the mixture to the eggplant and blitz. Taste, add the vinegar (if desired) and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve tangled into the buckwheat noodles and topped with the green onions and radish if desired.

Makes enough sauce to feed 4

Sri Lankan Style Curried Eggplant

Mmmmm. I don’t know that this turned out *quite* right, but it was freaking delicious nonetheless. To make a well-rounded meal, add some rotisserie chicken to your bowl and top with this goodness.

gluten-free, keto, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Sri Lankan Style Curried Eggplant

1 lb. eggplant
1/2 c. oil (I used coconut because that is what I had)
1 Tbsp. ginger garlic paste
1 red chili
1 small red onion
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. madras curry powder
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. honey or sugar-free sweetener
1 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
Salt

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high. While the oil is heating, cut the eggplant into 1-inch strips; dice the chili and onion. When the oil is hot, add the eggplant in a single layer with plenty of room (you may need to do this in 2 – 3 batches) and fry until browned on all sides. Remove from the oil to a plate covered with paper towels and sprinkle with salt.

When all the eggplant is browned to your liking, drain all but a Tablespoon of oil from the pan. Add the onion and chili and cook until softened.

While the onion and chili is working, make a paste out of the ginger garlic paste, mustard seeds, turmeric, chili powder, curry powder, vinegar, and honey. Add to the pan when the onion and chili are soft. Cook 3 – 4 minutes, stirring continually, to mix.

Add the eggplant and let cook an additional 2 – 3 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.

Serves 2 – 3 as a side 

Silky Eggplant Puree

This is a primal riff on a Middle Eastern classic, and is the perfect accompaniment to broiled lamb steaks.

Gluten-free, primal

  

I swear. On day 1 this lumpy glob was silky and smooth. Even bumpy, this purée tastes amazing.

Silky Eggplant Puree

1 large eggplant
2 Tbsp. grass fed unsalted butter
1/4 c. sheep pecorino
Kosher salt
Optional: lemon juice and pepper

Set your broiler to high and cover a baking sheet with foil.

Take the ends off your eggplant, and quarter. Lay face-down on the baking sheet.

Broil 15 minutes or until the skin is blackened and starting to burn in spots.

Flip. Broil until the flesh is soft, 5 – 10 minutes (I did 5 minutes for the thinner top pieces and 10 for the thicker bottoms).

When your eggplant is done, add to the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and cheese and blend until silky.

Taste. Add salt as needed (I did 2 big pinches). Taste again. If needed, add a dash of lemon juice or a couple cracks pepper.

Serves 4 as a side

Primal Eggplant Meatballs

I love it when I successfully trick my DH into eating foods he doesn’t think he likes. This recipe contains a vegetable he just can’t get into – eggplant – and if he noticed it, he didn’t mention it.

Gluten-free, primal

 

Primal Eggplant Meatballs

1 lb. grass fed ground beef
1 large eggplant
2 large cloves garlic
Fresh parsley
1 lemon
1/4 c. hard cheese (I used sheep pecorino)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 Tbsp. dukkah
1/2 tsp. ras el hanout
Kosher salt & black pepper

First, bake the eggplant. Cube, toss with fat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 375 F for 45 minutes, flipping once during cooking.

Pull and cool.

When cool, combine 1.5 cups of the eggplant with the ground beef, minced garlic (2 Tbsp.), chopped parsley (2 Tbsp.), the zest of the lemon, the juice of the lemon, cheese, and spices. Hit with a big pinch salt and a few grinds black pepper.

Turn into golf ball sized meatballs and brown over medium-high heat.

Serves 3 – 4, depending upon what you serve these with.

Indiany Beef Bowl with Zucchini, Eggplant and Leeks

I’ve gotten stuck on vaguely Indian-spiced bowls of beef + tons of CSA veggies lately. I partially blame this place and it’s Chipotle-like bowls of meat + lettuce + toppings awesomeness.

This dish started out as a semi-sincere rip of their beef keema salad bowl, which is enchanting. And then I got to tinkering/looking into the fridge to see what CSA veggies needed eating immediately before I went to pick up the new batch.

And a new franken-bowl was born.

Gluten-free, paleo, Whole30 compliant

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Indiany Beef Bowl with Zucchini, Eggplant and Leeks

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 large onion (about 1 cup diced)
1 green bell pepper
1 bunch leeks (about 2 cups sliced)
Roasted eggplant (about 1 cup “guts”)
1 medium zucchini
2 cloves garlic
6 cloves
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. turmeric
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 Tbsp. garam masala
Fat Of Choice
Salt & pepper
Juice of half a lime

First, prep your aromatics. Clean your leeks, halve length-wise and slice into thin moons. dice your onion. Chop the garlic.

Heat 2 Tbsp. Fat Of Choice (I used ghee) in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the aromatics and cook, stirring frequently, until the leeks have softened and the onions are translucent.

While that is cooking, grab your spices and beef.

When the aromatics are ready, add your spices + liberal pinches of salt and black pepper and stir to combine. Let cook until fragrant (about a minute).

Add the beef and cook until just browned, breaking up and stirring frequently as you go.

While the beef is working, chop the pepper, zucchini, and eggplant.

When the beef is just browned, add the veggies and stir to combine. Let cook, stirring frequently, 10 minutes or until the veggies are soft. Taste for salt & pepper and adjust as necessary. Turn the heat off and hit with the lime juice.

Serves 2 for dinner + 1 for lunch.

 

To make roasted eggplant: Place a large foil-lined sheet about 6 inches under your broiler. Poke your eggplant (I used skinny purple Japanese and streaky purple & white varieties) with a fork a few times and broil until blackened (5 or so minutes, depending upon the size of your eggplant). Flip and blacken until the whole thing is black and yields to a poke – you want no resistance left but not a fiery mess. Let cool and peel the burnt skin. Save for a bunch of applications.