There’s been waaaay too much meat, cheese and carbs on this blog lately. Time for some veggies! Here’s a quick Grilled Eggplant dish for you that’s a bit different from the usual. 15 minutes, and it’s on the table!
Any normal person who felt the need for some veggies to balance out all the carbs, cheese, meat and chocolate they consumed over the holiday period would probably post a fresh, crispy, leafy salad. And talk about cleansing and New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier and lose weight.
I really wish I were that type of person. If I were to try that, it just wouldn’t be the real me and things would get really quiet around here pretty quickly……
It takes a lot for me to get excited about a salad. Sorry, but it’s true. I’m just being honest.
So right now, I don’t have any salad inspirations to share. However, I got a Karen Martini cookbook for Christmas (legendary Australian chef!) and if there’s anyone who can get a Cheese Loving Carb Obsessed Carnivore excited about veggies, it’s her.
When it comes to “meaty” veggies, eggplant is right up there. I can eat a whole eggplant in one sitting and I will savour every bite. As long as it’s cooked through properly. Raw eggplant is terribly unpleasant. Like eating a sponge (I imagine. I haven’t actually ever bitten into a sponge before….).
“This is ridiculously simple to make and is one of those dishes that I would include in my “Meat Free for Carnivores” cookbook that I dream of making one day.”
Simply use a potato peeler to peel “strips” off the eggplant skin (makes it easier to eat plus it looks pretty), slice, chargrill then top with a simple yoghurt sauce. Sprinkle with mint and/or coriander leaves. Use a wooden spoon to spank a pomegranate to scatter over the ruby red seeds (so much fun!). And if you like heat, scatter over some chilli (fresh or dried).
This is a very satisfying meat free meal. A promise from one carnivore to another. 🙂
PS Pomegranates are most certainly not a pantry staple in my household. They are a bit of a holiday treat because I think they are a fabulous garnish that can make anything look festive and adds a touch of fresh sweetness. I happened to have half leftover from Christmas. But it is not a key component of this dish. Chopped up dried cranberries would work well too, for colour and a wee touch of sweetness.
PPS Honestly, look at it…..how could you NOT want to scoop up that eggplant with a giant spoon and stuff the whole thing in your mouth? Oh – is that just me who is that classless?
Vegetarian Grill Out!
This is also a great dish to make as part of a meat-free cookout. Here’s are some ideas for things I’d make:
- Grilled Vegetables
- Spinach and Feta Gozleme or Vegetarian Quesadillas to start – great for cooking on BBQ’s!
- Lemon Potato Salad, Macaroni Salad or Coleslaw
- Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad
- No Yeast Soft Flatbreads – try stuffing them with grilled veggies!
And more ways with eggplant
- Greek Moussaka (Eggplant Beef Bake) – the Greek version of Italian lasagna, made with layers of eggplant instead of pasta sheets. Epic!
- Moroccan Baked Eggplant with Beef – smeared with spices, baked until soft and topped with Moroccan spiced beef
- Grilled Miso Glazed Japanese Eggplant – caramelised with a Japanese miso glaze!
- Middle Eastern Roasted Eggplant with Couscous – slathered with Middle Eastern price rub and roasted until tender
- Eggplant is also commonly used in Thai Red and Green Curry
Grilled Eggplant with Yoghurt Sauce
- 3 large eggplants
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup plain unsweetened yoghurt (Greek or natural)
- 1 garlic clove , minced (Medium size. 1 large clove will make it too garlicky)
- 1 tsp cumin powder (Note 1)
- 1 to 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (use amount to taste) (Note 2)
- 2 tbsp tahini (sesame paste) (you can leave this out if you don't have it, it is still a tasty sauce)
- 1/4 tsp salt , slightly heaped (about 3/8 tsp)
- Black pepper
- 1/2 pomegranate , seeds only (Note 3)
- 2 tbsp mint leaves , finely sliced
- 2 tbsp coriander / cilantro leaves
- Red chilli , finely sliced (to taste) (Note 4)
- Wedges or cheeks of lemon (optional)
- Combine the Yoghurt Sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Set aside for the flavours to develop. The longer you leave it, the better it will taste.
- Use a potato peeler to peel "strips" off the eggplant vertically as per the photo below. If your potato peeler is not sharp enough or if the eggplant is on the soft side, you might need to do this with a small sharp knife.
- Cut the eggplant into 1.5cm / 2/3" thick rounds.
- Brush one side of each eggplant with olive oil. The more you use, the yummier it will be!
- Sprinkle the oiled side of the eggplant with salt and pepper.
- Heat a griddle pan (or BBQ) on medium high heat. (Note 5)
- Place the oiled side of each eggplant onto the pan and grill for 2 to 3 minutes until it gets deep char lines on it. While the first side is cooking, brush the other side of each eggplant with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Turn the eggplant and cook the other side until the eggplant is cooked through but still holding it's shape. The easy way to tell is to prod the centre - if you feel resistance, it needs to cook more.
- Remove the eggplant onto a serving plate and let it cool for a few minutes. Then spoon a dollop of the yoghurt sauce on each, and scatter with coriander/cilantro, mint, pomegranate seeds and chili. Drizzle with extra olive oil and serve with cheeks or wedges of lemon, if desired.