Monday, November 8, 2010

Warm Roasted Eggplant Salad... yum!

I recently had some eggplant hanging out in my fridge begging me to cook it. Okay-- so begging isn't the right word, but you get the point. It was time to use it or loose it.

I've done eggplant Parmesan and I've also done Nepolians, but I wanted to do something really easy and I had some delicious feta cheese in my fridge which was the inspiration for this warm roasted eggplant salad.
Cheese happens to be one of my favorite things on the planet. Please excuse me if you don't agree, but I have been known to tell people that I can live on cheese, pears, and wine and be perfectly happy. I literally swoon while circling the cheese island like a predator at the grocery store. I have to be monitored closely or all of my hard earned money might go to fresh mozzarella in whey, double cream brie, or heaven forbid, fresh dutch sharp cheddar. This stuff ain't cheap folks-- but it's my weakness, okay? There--that's my confession for the day.

That being said, I always have either a feta or blue cheese in my fridge along with the old stand-byes sharp cheddar, mozzarella, muenster, Jarlsberg, and pepper jack. If you don't have feta, you can substitute Gorgonzola, blue cheese, or even a little dab of cream cheese cut into small clouds to top this dish would be delicious. I may have to try that next.

Note: I also recently made this recipe with shrimp on top that I sauteed in a skillet with a tsp. of olive oil and minced garlic and brought it to my writer's group and they loved it! They said they didn't want to know what the original recipe was because what I brought was so delicious! You can also add chicken if you want some added protein.
Warm Roasted Eggplant salad
1 small eggplant; skin washed and diced
4 garlic cloves; minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup fresh corn
1 tbsp. Italian seasonings
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 can artichoke hearts
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes; oil packed
1/2 cup walnuts; chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Combine eggplant (with skin on), garlic, olive oil, corn, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Transfer to an oven safe dish and bake in 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

2. Add the sundried tomatoes and artichoke hearts to the mixture and return to the oven for 15-20 more minuntes.

3. Meanwhile place the walnuts in a small dry skillet and toast over medium heat for 5-8 minutes. When the nuts become fragrant they are done.

4. When the eggplant mixture is ready to serve, plate with fresh spinach leaves underneath (if desired) and top with the toasted walnut pieces and crumbled feta.

Servings: 10 servings

Nutritional Skinny:

100 calories / 6.8 g fat / 7.6 g carbohydrates / 3.3 g fiber / 3.5 g protein

Mental Health Benefit:  Eggplant is an excellent source of fiber and is very low in fat and calories making it the perfect substitute for meat when cooking. It has a meaty thick texture so you don't have to miss the chewy texture. I also leave the skins on because the skins have nasunin which is a powerful source of anti-oxidants which fight free radicals and help prevent aging. Eggplant also have a low glycemic index which helps those of us who are diabetic or looking to reduce carbohydrates in our diets.
Oh and I had to share! This is what got me out of bed this morning! Enjoy this recipe and your day. May it be filled with health, wellness, and abundance!

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