If eggplants were human beings, would you go on a date with them?
I wouldn’t. At least, this would be my answer a few months ago. I always looked at these fruits (technically, they’re not veggies) with mistrust and disinterest. And whenever I tried them, they didn’t have any flavour.
I only forgot saying I didn’t know how to cook. It was only after I went vegan that I started experimenting different combinations, creating recipes and trying (again) foods that, for some reason, I disliked.
Besides realizing that eggplants can make delicious meals, I learned that they have antioxidants. The fruits are low in calories and high in fibre, vitamins and minerals. Some nutrients are present in their skin, so don’t discard it.
Talking to a friend about all these benefits, he asked a valid question: why this name? I didn’t know it either, so I looked it up. The origin dates back to the 18th century, when Europeans “discovered” the fruit.
The variety of eggplant that they knew had the shape and size of goose eggs. The colour was also different: something between white and yellow rather than the wine purple that most of us know. Interesting, no?
While doing my research, I also realized that eggplants adapt themselves to almost any cooking method. You can roast them, sauté them, bake them, fry them, steam them, microwave them or broil them. You can make simple or fancy dishes, add them to a complete meal or quick sandwich. You choose.
I chose to bake an eggplant lasagna. My first, and my recipe. Enjoy it!
- 1 large eggplant (fibre)
- 5 large tomatoes (vitamins C and A)
- 1/2 medium onion (vitamin C)
- 3 cloves of garlic (vitamins B6 and C)
- 2-3 types of vegan cheese (rich in sodium, so be careful)
- sun-dried tomatoes (vitamin C)
- olive oil – extra virgin (anti-inflammatory benefits)
- olives (iron, but rich in sodium)
- cilantro (vitamins A and C)
- oregano (iron | fibre | calcium)
- sea salt
- black pepper (iron | calcium | fibre)
- Chop the tomatoes, garlic and onion.
- Put them in a blender.
- Add the mixture to a pan at medium temperature.
- Add the salt, pepper, oregano and olive oil.
- When it comes to a boil, keep it on low temperature while it’s getting thick.
- Set it aside.
- Finely cut the eggplant into lengthwise slices.
- Chop the olives.
- Set them aside.
- Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
- Cover the bottom with some tomato sauce.
- Add some slices of eggplant and more sauce.
- Add a layer of vegan cheese.
Note: I added slices of provolone here.
- Add more eggplant to cover the cheese and more tomato sauce.
- Add a layer of sun-dried tomatoes and olives.
Note: I mixed black and green olives.
- Add another layer of eggplant.
- Sprinkle vegan cheese.
Note: I used shreds of mozzarella here.
- Spread some tomato sauce.
- Add the top layers of eggplant and tomato sauce.
- Cover it with more mozzarella, olives and cilantro.
- Bake it at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Serves: 2 people.
Photos credit: Glauce Fleury