Zesty Roasted Tomato Pepper Eggplant Spread. As I’ve mentioned previously, my neighbors have a large garden and love to share produce with me. The last garden share was a large bag of beautiful purple eggplants. The neighbors make a delicious Greek Melitzana Salata or Melitzanosalata which is a garlicky eggplant spread. As you know, I always like to come up with my own recipes based on tasty dishes such as their Melitzana Salata. My Zesty Roasted Tomato Pepper Eggplant Spread adds roasted tomatoes and roasted red bell peppers along with a few other different spices and flavors.
As you may already be aware, my husband and I are trying to eat healthier. This is a vegan recipe that also meets the standards of the Dr. Esselstyn Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Diet. Also try my Heart Healthy Roasted Broccoli Dip which also meets the diet’s requirements. A vegan diet can assist in lowering inflammation in the body as long as it’s a balanced diet.
My neighbors grow the long purple eggplants in their garden. That’s the type of eggplant I used for this recipe. They’re usually around 8 inches long and up to two inches thick. You can grow your own or find them at your local farmers market or in the produce section of your grocery store.
My father-in-law used to grow the rounder eggplants in his Delaware vegetable garden. You can use the rounder eggplants instead of the longer ones in this recipe. I think if eggplants get too big, they can be bitter, so try to use smaller ones.
For many years, I was not a fan of eggplant. Usually it was served to me as a side dish to pasta or as layers in a watery lasagna. It seemed to be bitter and chewy and just wasn’t a favorite vegetable no matter how it was made. Then, I tasted an eggplant terrine with goat cheese and roasted tomatoes made by the very talented Chef Jonathan Krinn at 2941 Restaurant in Falls Church, VA. Chef Jonathan has since moved on to other venues including his new restaurant called Clarity — yet he’s the one who encouraged me to try more eggplant dishes. And I’m happy that he did.
In my Zesty Roasted Tomato Pepper Eggplant Spread, I use roasted tomatoes, roasted red bell peppers, and roasted eggplants. Roasting brings out the rich flavors in foods but sometimes mellows the flavors, too. NOTE: If you are following the Dr. Esselstyn diet, please omit the oil from my roasted tomatoes recipe. The tomatoes will roast in their own juices. The roasted eggplants and roasted red bell peppers don’t need oil to roast nicely. Roast the veggies in the oven until they soften. Let them cool to room temperature. While the roasted veggies are cooling, saute some diced sweet onion in vegetable stock until the onion is soft. Add some minced garlic and saute a few minutes longer. Set the onions aside to cool to room temperature. Split the eggplants in half longwise and scoop out their pulp. Place that into a food processor. Core and seed the roasted red bell peppers and put the peppers into the food processor. Add the roasted tomatoes, the onion garlic mixture, freshly squeezed lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, dried or fresh oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes.
Pulse the mixture until it’s mostly smooth but retains a few chunks here and there. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Use my Zesty Roasted Tomato Pepper Eggplant Spread on toasted baguette slices or Dr. Esselstyn’s son Rip’s Engine 2 Organic Triple Seed Crispbreads. Engine 2 products are available at Whole Foods Markets and Amazon.com. Or use your favorite crispbreads, crackers, or pita triangles. Garnish with fresh parsley or oregano sprigs before serving. You could also use this spread as a dip for carrot and celery sticks.
This spread freezes well if you have leftovers. Freeze up to three months for best results.
From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….
Zesty Roasted Tomato Pepper Eggplant Spread
2 c roasted eggplants (flesh only), about 12 medium eggplants
1 c roasted red bell peppers, seeds removed, about 3 red bell peppers
1 c roasted tomatoes, about 20 cherry tomatoes or 3 quartered medium tomatoes
2 T vegetable stock
1 sweet onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 t dried oregano or 10 sprigs fresh oregano, use leaves only
1 t crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Roast the whole unpeeled eggplants, stems removed, pricked all over with a fork, for about 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven until the eggplants are soft. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
2. Roast the red bell peppers along with the eggplants. The peppers may be done faster so you can remove them if you wish. Remove from oven and set aside to cool to room temperature.
3. Make my roasted tomatoes with about 20 cherry tomatoes or 3 quartered medium size tomatoes without using the olive oil. They will still roast nicely although you might want to use parchment paper or a Silpat instead of foil so the tomatoes don’t stick. Remove from oven and set aside to cool to room temperature.
4. While the vegetables are cooling to room temperature, saute the onion in a skillet with the vegetable stock over medium low heat until the onion is soft and translucent.
5. Add the garlic to the onion mixture and saute until the garlic is soft, just a few minutes. Set the pan aside to cool to room temp.
6. Split the eggplants, longwise, and scoop the flesh from the skins with a spoon. Add the eggplant flesh to a food processor fitted with the metal blade.
7. Core and seed the roasted red bell peppers and place them into the food processor.
8. Add the roasted tomatoes, the onion garlic mixture, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, dried oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes.
9. Pulse the mixture until it’s mostly smooth but still a little chunky.
10. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
11. And serve!
Makes about 4 cups of zesty spread. Serve alongside toasted baguette slices, pita triangles, and crackers for spreading, or alongside crudites for dipping. This eggplant spread freezes nicely. Just thaw and stir before serving. Try it alongside my Roasted Broccoli Dip at your next party.
Variations: Use a blender or Vitamix if you don’t have a food processor. Try as a pizza sauce on pizza crust or as a spread on a sandwich. Add to your Antipasti Platter. For a creamier texture, add one cup of rinsed and drained canned cannellini beans to the eggplant spread and puree until smooth. Add some roasted mushrooms before pureeing for an earthy flavor.
Order some Engine 2 Crispbreads from Amazon.com:
Get some knife spreaders for your platter on Amazon.com:
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