I am no stranger to eggplant. Living in Istanbul, eggplant is a staple in my diet and I enjoy it in one way or another almost everyday. A lot of people don’t like eggplant because they simply haven’t had it right. Eggplant must be cooked, because doing so softens it and releases its flavors. I like mine simple, but all it takes are a few ingredients and the eggplant transforms from simple to exceptionally complex with deep overtones of accompanying ingredients. It absorbs quickly and shines whatever you cook it with. This recipe uses a homemade marinara to bring more creaminess and texture to the table. Enjoy!
Why it glows:
Eggplant: lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol with its chlorogenic compound, is anti-carcinogenic due to its antioxidant nasunin content, is a great source of dietary fiber, protects against colon cancer, and is a great source of vitamin A, B vitamins, folate and vitamin C.
Eggplant & Homemade Marinara
For the eggplants:
- 2 large eggplant, peeled and chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Dash of salt and pepper
For the marinara sauce:
- 28 ounce can of crushed tomato (or freshly grated tomatoes)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 scallion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped green pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- Salt and pepper
- Dash of paprika
- Fresh parsley for garnish
Directions: In a pan over medium-high heat add the oil and eggplants. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the eggplant chunks are cooked through – about 10 minutes.
Place the eggplant on a dish and return the now empty pan to the heat. Add the oil, onion, scallion and green pepper. When the onion becomes translucent, add the garlic. Saute for a minute before adding the remainder of the ingredients, except for parsley. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a soft simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook for about 20-30 minutes or until the mixture has thickened to your liking. Serve the marinara sauce over the eggplants and garnish with fresh chopped parsley or basil. Enjoy!