“If 10,000 people replaced a beef meal with a vegetarian option just once a week for a year, we’d save enough water to fill roughly 605 Olympic-sized swimming pools” … Body + Soul Magazine, 2008
If you've been following this blog for any length of time, then you know that I promote meatless meals as one of the easiest ways to walk a little gentler on the earth. (Curious about why? Great ... click HERE to read an earlier post on the subject.) So, once a month (on the first Friday of each month), I post a vegan recipe for you to try. It is a fun, tasty way to reduce one's footprint on the earth.
This month's recipe comes from my bloggy friend, Amy Byrd, from The Wayland Springs Cook. In addition to writing a wonderful blog, Amy is the host of a food forum where she lists all kinds of recipes, including an entire section devoted to vegan/vegetarian dishes. If you like to cook, be sure to drop by Amy's forum.
This dish features two of my favorites ... eggplants and tomatoes. If ever a mouthful of food could epitomize summer ... then this one is it. I hope you enjoy it!
Summertime Eggplant Stew
1 large eggplant
4 large tomatoes chopped (use only fresh tomatoes for this recipe)
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 tbs olive oil
3 tbs capers, chopped
1/3 cup green olives, chopped
Handful of chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese**
Salt/Pepper to taste
**In many recipes, I simply leave off the cheese to make it vegan. In this one, however, the Parmesan flavor adds a delightful element to the dish. So, to make it vegan, I suggest using one of the commercial vegan "cheeses" or ... make your own faux Parmesan (2 parts nutritional yeast, 1 part nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews or even sesame seeds, and salt to taste ... grind everything in the food processor and keep unused portions in the refrigerator).
Peel, seed, dice and toss eggplant with salt. Place in colander and weigh down with dish and heavy cans to extract the bitter juices for 1 hour.
Rinse and pat dry. Put aside.
In a pot place 4 tbs olive oil.
Sauté chopped onion a few minutes.
Add garlic, eggplant and tomatoes.
Cover and simmer 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust the heat if necessary to avoid burning.
Add olives and capers and continue cooking an additional 15 minutes.
Add handful of chopped fresh basil.
Use a spoon or potato masher to crush and blend the tomatoes and eggplant.
Continue simmering, uncovered, for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in cheese.
My personal notes:
- We are not at all sensitive to the bitter taste of eggplant. So, we didn't seed it or sweat it for an hour as suggested. We simply peeled it, diced it and started cooking.
- In most recipes, one can cut down on the oil suggested. This recipe, however, benefits from the full amount of oil.
As always ... I would love to hear from you!