When it comes to cooking eggplant, the results can be rather hit or miss. All too often eggplant is undercooked and under seasoned. You know what I’m talking about, we’ve all taken a bite of spongy, tasteless eggplant. Ick!
On the other hand, when eggplant is properly cooked to a very tender consistency, and seasoned courageously, it becomes one of the most delicious vegetables on the planet.
I’ve found that salting eggplant and allowing it to drain before roasting, is one of the greatest ways to make sure that you’re eggplant turns out tender rather than spongy. And then it’s important to be very liberal with your seasoning!
In this recipe we are going to salt and drain the sliced eggplant, and then coat it with olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. We will then roast the eggplant until very tender, and slather it with homemade pesto. A simple strip of roasted bell pepper rolled up in the middle, and you’ve got yourself one amazingly flavorful, nutritious dish.
- ½ cup walnuts
- 2-3 cups basil leaves
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Toast the walnuts in a toaster oven for a few minutes — watch closely, they go from browned to black very quickly.
- Combine the walnuts, basil, garlic and salt in a food processor, add the olive oil, then the nutritional yeast and lemon juice. Combine until your pesto is a nice consistency — don’t over blend.
- Trim the ends from the eggplants and thinly slice, ¼ inch thick, the long way. Arrange on parchment paper lined baking sheets and generously sprinkle with sea salt. Allow the eggplant to sit for 20 minutes, until some liquid is drawn out. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Use a paper towel to wipe the moisture, and most of the salt, from the eggplants.
- In a small bowl combine the olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. Generously coat the tops of the eggplant with the garlic mixture. Roast in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Let it get really tender. Remove from heat and cool.
- Spread 1 Tablespoon of pesto down the center, crosswise, of each slice of roasted eggplant. Top with a strip of bell pepper, then roll and secure with a toothpick. Arrange on a serving platter, and repeat with the remaining eggplant, pesto and bell pepper. Top with chopped, fresh basil and serve chilled. Enjoy!