We began our love affair earlier this year after I read the Pioneer Woman's post on making pasta with eggplant. I had never really cooked with it before. It was always one of those vegetables i just kinda stayed away from.
Eggplant is not the most popular guy in school. He's the nerdy band geek that wears his pants just a little too high for girls to take notice, but he's a good wholesome veggie that has a lot to offer. He's just misunderstood. People just don't know how to deal with him. High School Vegetable: The Musical will be released in 2010.
Some friends complain that eggplant tastes kinda weird. It is true, it has a pretty vomity flavor, but that weird flavor can actually be extracted out of the eggplant. This is really my favorite part of cooking with eggplant, which I learned from the PW.
Slice your eggplant into disks, then lay them on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt.
After a few minutes, you'll start to notice some nasty liquid beading to the surface.
Leave it there for 15 minutes, then turn it over and do it again to let the nasty liquid bead to the surface once more on the other side.
Then RINSE the disks of eggplant so all the salt and gross liquid is washed away.
Now it's ready for use! You can slice them, grill them as is, bake them, saute them, put them in soup, whatever. The eggplant prep work has been done.
I decided that I wanted to make a big healthy casserole with the eggplant, enough so that it will last me throughout the week. So here goes!
Ingredients (for 6 servings):
-1 eggplant, prepped (see above)
-1 cup frozen edamame
-2/3 of a 1lb package of egg noodles
-2 cups pasta sauce
-2 stalks of green onion, chopped
-1 tsp oregano
-1 tsp italian seasoning
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Take your prepped eggplant and pat them dry. Chop them up into cubes.
3. Put cubed eggplant in a casserole pan and drizzle with a little olive oil. Place in oven for 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, boil your egg noodles in salted water. This is the kind i used.
5. Pull out the eggplant. They should be kinda tenderish at this point, but not cooked. Add your cooked and drained egg noodles right on top.
6. Add edamame (you'll LOVE how these add amazing texture later as you bite into it)
7. Add the sauce and the seasonings. Mix it all together.
8. Top with green onions.
9. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Here's how it looks after you pull it out of the oven and uncover the dish. Hot, steaming, and hearty.
I dished up some for dinner...
Mmm...the eggplant kinda absorbs the flavors of everything around it and gets all juicy and tender. The edamame (soy beans) hold their firm texture even when cooked, and they kinda have a nice bite to them, which is wonderful in contrast with the eggplant. And the noodles just kinda wave back and forth across these flavors.
Hahaha yeah, here's the mess.
I put the rest of the servings into small plastic containers so that i can keep them in the fridge and microwave them one at a time throughout the week :)
I may or may not have eaten one of those COLD on Sunday morning on the way to church in my car. I had overslept for choir practice and had to grab the fastest breakfast possible. See how the nerdy band geek vegetable can totally save the day?
Anyways. This is a great meal that is healthy and low cal (228 calories a serving), and it has a lot of vitamins and minerals and such (which my nutritionist friends could explain better), and I think you can't go wrong with eggplant and edamame in a casserole. And yeah, a casserole can be totally minus cheese, folks. Don't let the traditionalists get ya down.
Make some for you and your friends, lover, babysitter, milkman, etc. today!
For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.