Eggplant at Home: Roasting Ratatouille & Dipping Ghanoush

I’ve found two new spots in my heart-of-taste-buds for the purple vegetable, eggplant. It has been providing a bright pop of color in our CSA bags for weeks in a row now; I love the hue, but stare at the sort-of-not-really-egg-shaped tube and am at a loss. My first experience with this vegetable was in college, as part of our food lab, making eggplant parmesan. Nope, not a big fan.

Slice  it down the middle, then slice it into disks and then decide between a sauté or a roast – that’s all we’ve done, so far…

eggplant CSA

This week, with yet another haul and another excuse to experiment, I had to try something different. Without realizing it until I put this mix in the oven, I actually just “tried” something that could be considered ratatouille:

roasted ratatouille

There were two simple goals here: cook the eggplant, use the Dutch Oven! Both were accomplished quite easily. The vibrant colors in that mix are all thanks to Good Life Farm and our weekly bag full of eats.

Simple Roasted Ratatouille

1 eggplant, halved and sliced
1 zucchini, halved and sliced
1 yellow zucchini (or yellow squash), halved and sliced
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1 red tomato, sliced

3-4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
Seasonings: salt, pepper, thyme

Heat oven to 400*. Drizzle one tablespoon olive oil into the bottom of a Dutch Oven (or deep baking pan). Toss all vegetables and seasonings in the remaining oil, and add to the pan. Cover (with lid or foil) and roast for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally (every 15 min or so).

Yep – it’s as simple as that. Slice, drizzle, season, roast. Eat, and enjoy!

This can be a side dish or served over rice or quinoa as a meal. Like so:

ratatouille over wild rice

Hint: this also makes great leftovers for lunch the next day!

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Alright, so, we’ve obviously mastered the cooking and adding-to-grain method here. Next up, a different challenge. Something entirely new not only to my kitchen, but also my taste buds – baba ghanoush.

baba-ghanoush-pbs food blog

{Image source: PBS Food Blog, Jenna Weber’s Baba Ghanoush with Sea Salt}

After searching a few recipes I had an idea of how this simple dip is to be made. Mixing techniques and seasonings, my simple edition looked like this:

Homemade Baba Ghanoush

1 eggplant, sliced & cubed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt (sea salt, preferably)

1.5 Tbsp Tahini (sesame paste)
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1 tsp garlic, minced
Seasonings: salt, pepper

Heat oven to 400*. Spray a baking sheet with oil. Toss eggplant cubes (bite-sized) in oil and season with salt. Spread evenly across the sheet; bake for 25 minutes, stirring once.

Put roasted eggplant into a food processor; pulse until slightly creamy. Add remaining ingredients (Tahini through seasonings) and pulse until smooth (4-5 minutes). Optional: garnish with a drizzle of oil and/or light seasonings.

I’ve been packing this as a dip for vegetable sticks (carrots & peppers), and have also seen it served as a side with roasted vegetables, or pita chips, or bread. Do what you will! It’s hard not to enjoy, and even harder to remember this started as a purple tube.

——-

Why eat eggplant? High in fiber, water & antioxidants! Low in calories (one cup cooked = 35 calories), versatile in meals, a good source of manganese, and easy to season with any of your preferred tastes.

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How do enjoy this summer plant? My list needs some new additions; these guys are at their peak from August – October so I know we’re just getting started!

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8 Comments

Filed under dinners, food, Nutrition, recipes

8 responses to “Eggplant at Home: Roasting Ratatouille & Dipping Ghanoush

  1. I have two large eggplants to use up – I was planning on eggplant lasagna with one, and now baba gahnoush for the other! 🙂

  2. I don’t know if I have ever cooked with egg plant. I do like it – sort of. I’ve had issues with the texture in the past. Roasting would probably be just the ticket!

  3. I think just saying the words Ratatouille & Ghanoush makes it a successful day for me. I will work on actually cooking one of these meals later 🙂

  4. YUM!!! That looks so good! Eggplant and I have recently become friends, after a rough patch in our relationship, when the cafeteria at work served me a really nasty eggplant wrap. But we’re moving past it.

  5. I have a roasted eggplant dip on my blog, but I recommend checking out this blog: http://georgiaabout.wordpress.com/
    Georgian food uses eggplant quite often, there should be some good recipes in here!

  6. Lauren

    I cooked with eggplant for the first time a few weeks ago! Dustin’s favorite meal that his mom used to make is moussaka, so I thought I would surprise him and make it! It was difficult because I had nooo idea how to cook the eggplant. However, the internet provided a great recipe that was easy to follow and it was a success! He loved it. 🙂

  7. I can never say ratatouille without saying it like the mouse. RA TA TOOEY!

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