Roasted Eggplant Soup

This is an old favorite that I almost forgot about.  As my tomato harvest started to dwindle I began thinking about what I could add to my pureed soups and eggplant came to mind! Eggplant is a vegetable from the nightshade family, which also includes bell peppers, tomatoes and potatoes.  According to Dr. Mercola, eggplants don’t have an overwhelming supply of any one specific nutrient.  They do however contain fiber and an array of various vitamins and minerals, including folate, potassium, manganese, vitamins C, K, and B6, as well as phosphorus, copper, thiamin, niacin, magnesium and pantothenic acid.  Eggplants also contain powerful antioxidants which neutralize damaging free radicals in the body.  

This recipe is adopted from the Smitten Kitchen.

1 large eggplant, cut in half lengthwise
3 – 4 large tomatoes, cut into halves
1 medium onion, cut into large wedges
6 garlic cloves, peeled
Extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. each ground cumin and coriander, optional
4 cups bone broth
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Feta or goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F.
Arrange eggplant, tomatoes, onion and garlic on a baking sheet.  Brush with olive oil and roast for 20 minutes.  Remove the garlic cloves (to prevent them from burning) and set aside. Continue roasting for an additional 20 – 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool. Remove skin from eggplant.  Place eggplant, tomatoes, onion, garlic, spices, and broth into a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.  Once slightly cooled, puree soup to a desired consistency and season with sea salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with feta or goat cheese prior to serving.

Eggplant and Potato Curry

The word curry actually describes any dish of meat, fish and/or vegetable that is served in or with a sauce which is common to South and Southeast Asia.  The main spices in curry powders are turmeric, coriander and cumin.  According to Dr. Mercola, turmeric is one of the most useful herbs on the planet.  Hundreds of studies have shown that turmeric and its primary compound, curcumin, can be helpful for a wide array of health problems.  It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. Turmeric has been linked with improved brain function, lowered risk of heart disease, prevention (and perhaps even treatment) of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and delayed ageing.  

This is a delicious vegetarian and gluten-free dish my mom shared me some time ago.  Feel free to add or substitute other vegetables, such as cauliflower, butternut squash, and spinach.

1 eggplant, cubed
3 – 4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 tomatoes, cubed
1 zucchini, cubed
1 cup frozen peas
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 cup water
Sea salt/pepper, to taste
Fresh cilantro
Lime
Coconut oil

Separately sauté the eggplant and then the potatoes in about a tablespoon of coconut oil until soft, set aside.  In a clean pan heat another tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat.  Stir in the onion and garlic, cook until translucent.  Season with cumin, curry powder, sea salt and pepper, cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the tomatoes, zucchini, peas, garbanzo beans, eggplant, and potato.  Pour in the water and bring to a boil.  Simmer for about 45 minutes.  Adjust seasoning, sprinkle with cilantro and drizzle with lime juice (optional) before serving.  

Eggplant Caviar Spread

Don't let this dish's lack of visual appeal fool you. It is so good, I can eat it all in one sitting!  This is a version of a Middle Eastern baba ghanoush, which is meant to be served as a spread with pita bread or a dip with raw veggies.  However, I prefer to eat it as a side, as it pairs well with almost any protein entree.

The garlic and onion in this dish can be left raw, but I prefer to lightly sauté these ingredients to tone down their strong flavor, making this dish more kid-friendly.  If you decide to leave them raw, I would cut down the garlic to 1 - 2 cloves.  This spread tastes best when made a day or two in advance.

As this dish calls for mayonnaise, I thought this a great opportunity to talk a new mayonnaise I recently discovered at my local Whole Foods Market.  Just Mayo is the best tasting, creamiest and smoothest mayonnaise I have tried so far.  More importantly, all of its ingredients are non-GMO.  The main ingredient, canola oil, is expeller-pressed, which means it is extracted without the use of chemicals solvents or high heat.  Those with food intolerances will be happy to learn that this product is free of gluten, soy, eggs, dairy and lactose.  The small amount of modified food starch in this product, I came to learn, is actually corn starch, and once again comes from non-GMO corn.  If you have any questions about this product, contact the company directly; they have great customer service.

Ingredients
1 medium eggplant
1 small onion, sliced thinly
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp tahini (optional)
¼ tsp ground cumin (optional)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Mayonnaise, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste
Sea salt/pepper, to taste
Fresh parsley, finely chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 F.  
Place whole eggplant in a shallow baking sheet and roast until soft, about 30 - 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.  
Meanwhile sauté the onion in a tablespoon of coconut oil until transparent, add the garlic, stir and remove from heat.  
Peel the cooled eggplant and chop roughly.  Place in a food processor or blender, along with the onion and garlic (sautéed or raw), tahini, cumin, olive oil, lemon juice and mayonnaise.  Blend until desired texture.  
Season with additional lemon juice and/or mayonnaise, sea salt and pepper to taste.  
Transfer to a serving dish drizzle with olive oil and garnish with parsley.  
The dish can be refrigerated for up to five days prior to serving.