Showing posts with label eggplant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label eggplant. Show all posts

May 29, 2021

baingan bharta with potatoes


Time: 40 minutes
Dishes: rice cooker, oven or air-fryer, large skillet

Hello, hello Dear Readers!

I am a huge fan of Indian food, but I am always careful when preparing it because I never seem to hit the mark that my local Indian restaurant does. It doesn't keep me from trying, though, and every once in a while, I pull it off. This is one of those times.

This is a simple preparation of Baingan Bharta (as the original recipe is, too) but I added potatoes to make it more of a meal with some toothsomeness - that and I was fondly remembering the potato dishes from the same Indian joint, and I couldn't help myself.

I also used my homemade Zsu's Curry Powder because (1) I have it and need to use it, and (2) because it tastes amazing, so why not? If you don't have it, use store bought garam masala. 

You can increase the oil to 4 tablespoons if you like, but 2 tablespoons was perfect, although I will try cutting it to 1. Adding water when the potato starts to stick to the pan helps offset using too much oil and it helps cook the potatoes. Add the water in 1/4 cup increments. It will create a bit of sauce, too, while it cooks the ingredients.

If you start cooking the eggplant first, prepare the rice second and get started on the sauté last, you will get this on the table in 40 minutes. Yes, the eggplant sounds a bit daunting, but really, all you do is toss it in the air-fryer or oven (or on the burner if you're ambitious) and cook until tender. Then peel and mash. 

Overall, a very delicious and filling meal. 

If you need inspiration for your weekly menu, check out ours HERE.


Speedy Cooking Tips:

  • Start with the eggplant; it will take 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Cook the rice second.
  • Chop the onion and start cooking it while you peel and chop the potatoes.
  • Use a lid throughout and adjust the heat from medium to medium-low as needed.
  • Chop the tomatoes while the onion and potatoes cook.
  • Cool the eggplant only enough to peel. Peeling should be easy as the skin separates from the eggplant. 

(Printer-friendly doesn't seem to be so friendly. Just select the text between the arrows (including the white space to add margin on the top), right-click, select Print, and now it's printer-friendly. Can also be saved as PDF:  choose Save as PDF in Destination drop-down, instead of a printer.)

Baingan Bharta with Potatoes

Makes 4 servings 


Serve with rice or naan.

2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds)

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons oil

1 medium onion, finely minced 

3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 teaspoons curry powder, Zsu's Curry Powder homemade, or garam masala

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 cup water for Onion, divided

2 medium tomatoes, chopped 

1 small jalapeno or serrano chile, thinly slice 

1/2 cup water for Tomato

1. Eggplant: Pierce the eggplants all over. Roast the eggplants in an oven (475-F) or over a burner or in an air-fryer (400-F) until the eggplant is tender and collapses, about 20 to 30 minutes. When cool to handle, peel. Mash the eggplant and mix with lime juice.        

2. Onion: Add the oil to a large skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Add the onion, potato, garlic, curry powder, coriander, salt, and turmeric. Cook until the onion is golden, about 10 minutes, covered. Stir as needed and add some water when the potato sticks. 

3. Tomato: Add the tomato, chile and 1/2 cup water to the Onion. Cook over medium to medium-low heat, about 5 minutes.   

4. Combine: Add the Eggplant to the Tomato and stir well. Cook for 5 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.  Serve with rice or flat bread.  

© 2021 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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Mar 13, 2021

ratatouille pasta



Time: 55 minutes 
Dishes: large skillet, medium pot

Hello, hello Dear Readers!

When my son told me that he had a hankering for Ratatouille, I thought - great, I can make that. 

Then he told me he had made it before - the authentic way, and I thought - hey, I can do that. 

Then he told me it took him 3 hours to make, and I thought - yeah, um, no.  

Although I agree with him wholeheartedly that Ratatouille should be made properly - cooked so that all the vegetables sing in harmony but each keep their integrity; not be overcooked but be properly cooked to perfection. However, I could not devote 3 hours to it. 

After preparing the dish, while complaining that it was not layered properly in thinly cut disks, he managed to keep shoveling the pasta into his mouth, so I will follow his actions and not so much listen to his gripes. In the meantime, my husband was head down into the bowl of pasta and by the time I got back to the kitchen there were only a few lingering squash pieces left in the pan. 

In order to cook the dish properly, you have to cook it in stages, very much like the Hungarian Lecso or the Spanish Sofrito. Only after the current layer is partly cooked, do you add the next ingredient. The ratatouille is then braised in broth and finally baked in the oven.

It sounds complicated, but take a look at the recipe - it is easy to prepare and the instructions are clear. 

Don't miss out.     

If you need inspiration for your weekly menu, check out ours HERE.


Speedy Cooking Tips:

  • Gather the ingredients.
  • Chop the onion first and add to the  pan.
  • Then mince the garlic and add it. 
  • Chop the squash and eggplant while the onion cooks.
  • Chop the tomato while the squash cooks.
  • Cook the pasta while the ratatouille bakes.
  • Save some cooking pasta water in case the ratatouille is too dry, but it shouldn't be needed.

(Printer-friendly doesn't seem to be so friendly. Just select the text between the arrows (including the white space to add margin on the top), right-click, select Print, and now it's printer-friendly. Can also be saved as PDF:  choose Save as PDF in Destination drop-down, instead of a printer.)

Ratatouille Pasta

Makes 4 servings 


Preheat oven to 400-F

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes 

6 garlic cloves, minced

3 medium summer squash (18 ounces), cut into 1-inch dice

1 medium eggplant (14 ounces), cut into 1-inch dice

2 medium tomatoes (15 ounces), chopped

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 1/4 cup vegetable broth

12 ounces pasta 

1/4 cup minced parsley 

1. Onion: Heat the oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add onion and chili flakes and garlic. Cook until the onion is golden, covered, about 8 minutes. Stir as needed.  

2. Squash: Add the squash and eggplant to the Onion. Cook until squash is starting to brown, 4 minutes. Stir as needed.   

3. Tomato: Add the tomato and paste to the Onion. Mix well. Cook until the paste is browning, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.    

4. Broth and Bake: Add the broth to the Onion. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 400-F. Uncover and transfer to oven. Bake for 25 minutes. Alternately, transfer to an oven-safe dish to bake.  

5. Pasta: Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. 

6. Serve: Remove from the oven and stir in the parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning. Toss with Pasta. Serve.       

© 2021 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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Nov 2, 2016

red pepper pesto with grilled eggplant

Last night I wanted to make something fresh, and different with very little prep time. I had some leftover refried black beans from a cookbook review and I wanted to make good use of it.

I was toying with the idea of using up some of the jarred red peppers I had in the fridge, without having to resort to freezing them, as I will normally do after I open a jar. Because I was a little remiss in doing that with this jar a few weeks ago, I was worried it was going to spoil. So with that introduction, this sauce/dish was born: Grilled Eggplant with Red Pepper Pesto.

I am a huge proponent of grilling vegetables because you can get away with using little or no oil, and grilling eggplant is one of my favorite ways of tackling this fruit/vegetable. Slice 2 pounds of eggplant into 1/2-inch rounds or planks. Use a grill pan and grill the eggplant for 2 minutes. Cover your pan to trap the smoke (therefore smoking your eggplant in the process, too) and after 2 minutes move each slice about 45-degrees. Grill for 2 more minutes, flip and repeat.

A few reasons to cook it this way (grilling covered and moving the eggplant 45-degrees), and neither are that it makes the eggplant look pretty.

1. It cooks the eggplant through. Tough eggplant is great for jerky, but not for this recipe.
2. It prevents the eggplant from burning, which would make the burnt parts bitter.

Then use the eggplant as you desire.

I chose to smother my eggplant with this deliciously delightful Red Pepper Pesto. The pesto consists of jarred peppers, nutritional yeast, toasted pistachios, garlic, oregano and salt and pepper. And, to make it creamy and tangy without adding oil, I added a few tablespoons of yogurt. Which made it perfect! Buzz the whole thing in a food processor and it is ready.

I just layered my eggplant,

with refried black beans (or not, your choice), and added some pesto, then repeated until I had no more eggplant left.

I added the rest of the pesto to the top and baked the whole thing until hot. I topped it with some parsley and fresh bread crumbs, but you totally don't have to.

If you are making the bread crumbs, blend 2 or 3 slices of whole grain bread and toast it in a skillet until dry, about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. You can add a few tablespoons of oil, if you want, but I didn't find it necessary. Mix in a few tablespoons of parsley for added flavor, nutrition and color, and serve.

Red Pepper Pesto
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

4 jarred, roasted red peppers
1/2 cup toasted pistachios
3 tablespoons unsweetened, plain nondairy yogurt (use almond or soy. Coconut might add coconut flavor)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon dried oregano or 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
Sea salt and black pepper

1. Add the peppers, pistachios, yogurt, yeast, garlic, oregano and salt and pepper, to taste, to a food processor. Process until it is as smooth as you like it. I like some small bits of pistachio still evident. If you like a very smooth pesto, add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. 
2. Taste and adjust seasoning.
3. Serve as a dip, on pasta or over grilled eggplant. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

Sep 18, 2014

eggplant sriracha bbq burger

Day 14 VeganMoFo Burger Hoopla continues with this Eggplant Sriracha BBQ Burger with Zucchini Slaw. This is an Asian-inspired burger of eggplant slices grilled and basted in Sriracha BBQ Sauce.

There are Asian flavors spiking this burger throughout, in the BBQ sauce and the slaw: tamari, sriracha, sesame seed oil, rice vinegar and Chinese 5-spice powder. I love using that spice because most of us have it in the back of the cabinet, yet seldom get the chance to cook with it; it adds so much flavor!

You can see all those wonderful flavors coating the grilled eggplants. So good and so fast!

As an aside, you can see hot hot it is in San Diego: we don't have central air, and as soon as I took the bottle of sriracha out of the fridge, it immediately began to condense the water from the air and the label got all soggy. Sheesh.

Oops! Who is that?! Jimmy photobombed my shoot. He took a sniff, turned right around, not being one for eggplant, and promptly went to the back of the table to lay down for the duration. Spot him in the remaining photos.

As soon as I moved the food out of the way, he claimed his rightful spot in the front. I've noticed that he and I are taking turns using the table!

This burger is outrageously good! Even my youngest took a careful bite, looked at me wide-eyed and said, "I cannot believe I like this so much - it has everything I don't like!" She dislikes eggplant, ginger, ziucchini and bbq sauce.

Goes to prove that the sum of the parts can be very different than the parts themselves.

Eggplant Sriracha BBQ Burger with Zucchini Slaw
Makes 4 to 6 burgers
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seed oil
1 small onion, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
⅔ cups ketchup
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon reduced sodium tamari
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sriracha (or more)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
½ teaspoon dry ground ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable broth
1 large eggplant, cut into ¾-inch slices (you will need 8 slices for 4 burgers)
4 to 6 (3-inch) buns, not sliced
Vegan Mayonnaise, to taste
Zucchini Slaw, recipe below
1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and sesame oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the ketchup, 2 tablespoons tamari, vinegar, sriracha, brown sugar, 5-spice and ginger, stir and cook over medium-low for 8 minutes to thicken and marry flavors. Remove from heat.
2. Combine the remaining teaspoon oil and tamari and the vegetable broth in a large bowl. Toss the eggplant in the marinade and set aside while grill pan preheats.
3. Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Spray each slice of eggplant with oil before placing on grill pan. Cook the eggplant until almost tender, about 2 minutes per side. Baste the eggplant with the BBQ sauce and cook until glazed and the eggplant is tender, about 1 more minute per side.
4. Toast the buns to warm. Cut the buns in half almost all the way through, but not completely. This will help keep the sandwich together. Spread a little mayo on one side of the bun, add 2 eggplant slices, a bit more BBQ sauce and top generously with the slaw. Serve.
Zucchini Slaw
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon fresh ground ginger
1 garlic clove. minced
1 medium zucchini, julienned or grated (use a julienne peeler)
2 cups shredded baby kale
¼ small onion, grated
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

1. Combine the lime juice, tamari, sugar, ginger and garlic in a large bowl.
2. Add the zucchini, kale, onion and cilantro. Toss to mix. Season with salt and black pepper.

© 2014 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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If you haven't seen the giveaway for the cookbook Vegan Tacos by Jason Wyrick, it is HERE. Don't miss it.

Aug 18, 2014

farmer's market salad with eggplant vinaigrette

As many people are want to do weekly, we headed to the Farmer's Market on Sunday. It is amazing how Farmer's Markets have changed over the past few decades - completely aside from the fact that there are so many more than there used to be.

They have grown not only in numbers but in scope as well. I remember them being small events consisting of produce vendors, the occasional jewelry stand and a few scout groups selling their ware. Nowadays, it is full of organic produce, music, flowers, artisan foods of jams, cookies, tamales, baskets, pottery - you name it, chances are, whether it be food related or not, you'll find them at your nearest market. Here is a great site for locating a Farmer's Market: Local Harvest.

I could do without the animal body parts, which are also quite common these days, but overall, I'm very happy with how far things have come and am looking forward to seeing more support for the markets and, hence, even more progress.

In addition to going to the market for fresh produce, I also go for inspiration. You'll never know what special herb, or common one for that matter, will be the trigger for your next dish. For me, it was grape tomatoes and garlic chives.

Since I also subscribe to our local CSA box, I had an eggplant hanging around that needed to be cooked. That's when things really took off.

I cooked the whole eggplant in a skillet until tender - reminiscent of Baba Ghanoush, where the eggplant is roasted whole, thereby imparting a smoky flavor. I chopped the cauliflower into pieces about the size of rice and sauteed it with garlic, I sauteed the green beans and tomatoes with lemon juice and, finally, I made the eggplant into a vinaigrette.

Sounds like a mouthful, but everything balanced out beautifully and it was a perfect, post-Farmer's Market meal. As a bonus, the remaining vinaigrette (which only contains a few tablespoons of oil) serves as a wonderful dip for raw veggies.

The best thing about this salad was that most of the ingredients went from ground to plate in twenty-four hours - almost as good as having my very own garden in the backyard.

Farmer's Market Salad with Eggplant Vinaigrette
Serves 4

1 tablespoon neutral oil, divided
1 medium eggplant, about 1 pound
1 medium cauliflower, coarsely chopped
5 garlic cloves, halved, plus 2 teaspoons minced, divided
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
8 ounces green beans, trimmed
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, divided
¼ cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon tahini
2 teaspoons chipotle in adobo
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
6 cups fresh spinach

1. Coat the eggplant with the oil. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the whole eggplant and cover the skillet with a stainless steel bowl. This will create smoke; use a kitchen fan to keep the air clean. Turn the eggplant a quarter turn when the bottom is charred. Turn as needed until the eggplant is tender. Cool the eggplant and peel. Set aside.
2. Pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until the size of grains of rice. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower, the halved garlic cloves, season with salt and black pepper, and stir and cook until golden, about 7 minutes. Set aside.
3. Toss the green beans, tomatoes, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon oil, minced garlic and season with salt and black pepper. Heat a grill pan or skillet over medium heat and cook the green beans until charred and crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Set aside. Add the tomatoes to the grill pan and cook only until lightly charred, about 1 minutes. Set aside.
4. Add the peeled eggplant, vegetable broth, olive oil, tahini, chipotle, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and any garlic you can pick out of the cauliflower saute to a personal blender. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and black pepper and stir in the chives.
5. Toss the spinach with about ¼ cup  of the vinaigrette and serve with the cauliflower, green beans and tomatoes.
© Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

I am linking to these recipe parties: Healthy Vegan FridaysWhat I Ate Wednesday and Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck.