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Vegetarian Recipe: Eggplants with White Cheese

Posted Apr 18 2013 11:15am

Sometimes, I sit on my couch with a bowl of Cheerios and almond milk. And that’s just fine.

But sometimes, I get the urge to cook. And when I do, I usually go all out.

Not long ago, I began craving one of those recipes that didn’t require a ton of new, expensive ingredients (ones that would likely go unused after). But I also wanted one that would  satisfy my need for a hearty, veggie-filled meal.

Naturally, I went to my Turkish cookbook — an amazing resource for just these types of dishes (and for lamb-based recipes, if you’re into that sort of thing, even if it’s not really my cup of tea).

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The recipe I landed on: Eggplants with White Cheese. Part of the intrigue was the fact that the main ingredient was Italian eggplants, which is something I’d never used before. Potential disaster? Bring it on. I love a good challenge in the kitchen.

The dish turned out to be fairly simple despite the lengthy prep time. Plus, it’s completely vegetarian — and if you’re a vegan, you can simply remove the cheese from the mix, and call it a day.

Craving a little Mediterranean home cooking? Then I highly recommend it. Here’s what you’ll need to do.

Serves 6

What You’ll Need

Water for soaking eggplant plus 1/3 cup

Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon

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Sea salt

5 medium (about 2 pounds) Italian eggplants

2 large onions, thinly sliced in half circles

16 gloves garlic, slivered (quartered lengthwise)

2 green bell peppers, seeded, ribs removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

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2 medium tomatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

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4 medium tomatoes, peeled, pureed

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup Turkish white cheese, Bulgarian cheese, or ricotta salad, cut into 1/4-inch cubes * confession, I used crumbly mozzarella

4 tablespoons finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley

What To Do

1. Fill a large bowl with water and add the lemon juice and salt.

2. Cut the stems off each eggplant, leaving an inch of peel on the top and bottom. Peel off 1/2-inch strips of skin, lengthwise, at 1/2-inch intervals, making a striped effect.

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3. Cut eggplant into 4 lengthwise slices, and then cut them into 1-inch-thick crosswise pieces.

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4. Place the eggplant pieces in the bowl of water, and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

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5. Line the bottom of a large skillet with the onion and garlic slices, and top with the pieces of green pepper.

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6. Drain the eggplants, press them gently to get rid of any excess water, and lay them on the green peppers. Cover the eggplants with the cubed and pureed tomatoes.

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7. Season with salt and add 1/3 cup water and the olive oil. Bring to a  boil for one or two minutes, and then turn the heat to low, cover and continue to cook for 40 to 45 minutes, shaking the pan by the handle 3 or 4 times.

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8. When cool, add the cheese and parsley.

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  • Is this something you’d cook? Would you add or modify anything about this recipe? 

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