Too Good to be a Side

My mom has been making her delicious eggplant dip ever since I can remember. It proudly sits on the dining table at all of our big family gatherings, and honestly, it’s the first thing I go for when we start eating. Hey, I’m the only vegetarian in my family so I get first dibs on the veggie dishes, right?

I don’t think of mom’s delicious eggplant dip as a side anymore; it’s too good to just have a spoonful. I think of it as a meal in itself.

So with mom’s permission, I modified the recipe just a tad (still keeping its integrity, of course) and recreated it in a variety of ways. Today’s creation is the Eggplant Sandwich. We just had it for dinner, but its actually better served cold, making it perfect for lunch leftovers. We had the sandwiches with a side cauliflower spiced with paprika, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne and drizzled with a little olive oil and a splash of maple syrup. Sprinkled with salt and pepper and some nutritional yeast, and then baked in the oven for 15 minutes.

Eric had his sandwich on a toasted pita with a hummus spread and a layer of spinach.

I had my sandwich on a European-style whole grain bread, which is really dense and grainy.

Then we swapped.

I liked the European bread better.

I love eggplant as a main dish or a sandwich. It’s “meaty” so it’s great when you want to eat something filling. Although eggplant does not provide much protein, it’s really low in saturated fat and is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, and fiber.

2 eggplants
3 medium red bell peppers or 2 large ones
3 carrots
1 large yellow onion
1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup vegetable broth
cooking spray
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. dried parsley
6 cloves of garlic (minced or pressed)
3 tsp. salt and pepper (or to taste)

Peel the eggplant, but leave some skin. Cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch cubes. Dice the onions, carrots, and slice the red peppers into long strips. Spray a large, preferably deep skillet (with a lid) with cooking spray and saute the onions over low heat until translucent but not brown. Add the cubed eggplant and carrots, close the lid, and let cook over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, check to see if the eggplant is getting darker. If you notice that the eggplant is a bit dry, add the veggie broth, close the lid again and let it cook on low for another 15 minutes. If the eggplant is releasing enough moisture and not burning, no need to add the broth.

Stir again in 15 minutes and cook until the eggplant and the carrots are soft. Add the bell pepper, the dried herbs, and the tomato sauce. Cook on low heat with a closed lid for another 15 minutes or until the peppers are tender. Check periodically and cook until the sauce cooks down and all the veggies are soft. In the last 5 minutes add the garlic and stir your eggplant creation. Add the salt and pepper to taste.

Remember, it’s better the next day or once completely cool – when all the flavors had enough time to marinade. Spoon on your favorite bread and enjoy!

This recipe is actually very simple, you just have to remember to stir. It will take about 45 minutes for all the veggies to cook down to the dip-like consistency. I will be having leftovers for lunch tomorrow, over a simple green salad with a side of European whole grain bread.

Ok, now off to the couch to look at our wedding album. We just picked it up this evening and I can’t wait to see it!

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One Comment

  1. sofiya
    Posted November 27, 2011 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    What a great idea! I will totally do this. Thanks for sharing!

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    My name is Maria and I live in California. I love teaching high-energy Pilates classes, going on long runs, and making connections with all of you! Hope you find a few useful articles, fitness tips, and recipes while you're here.

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