I can’t say that I love eggplants; it’s one of those vegetables (fruit?) that I can’t get excited about. I feel it kind of melds into whatever dish it’s in.
It’s also one of those foods that I think I should be eating; I don’t know if it’s nostalgia or that I think the slightly bitter taste and spongy texture is the kind of thing an adult should like.
Eggplant contains an anthocyanin called nasunin, a powerful antioxidant that can protect cell membranes from damage by free radicals. – (Dr. Weil’s Food as Medicine tip)
Eggplant is a particularly good source of an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid, which is among the most potent plant-based free-radical scavengers ever discovered. – (Dr. Weil’s Food as Medicine tip)
Whatever it is, it makes me impulsively clip eggplant recipes I find to try later – it’s eggplant season in BC and it’s hard to resist those glossy purple beauties when I’ve collected to many recipes.
The recipe for this roasted eggplant and walnut pesto came from two sources, Dr. Weil’s Eggplant-Walnut PÃ¢tÃ© and this Roasted Eggplant & Almond Pesto from Veggie Num Num.
Together, this ‘pesto’ is spicy and tangy, with warm hints of ginger, and an ever so subtle tartness from the sumac.
This is the second time I used sumac in an eggplant dish, it boosts the natural flavour of the eggplant, much like a lemon would, but mellower.
I toss it with soba noodles and red cabbage topped with crunchy fried onions.
Some days it’s soba noodles with roasted broccoli and cauliflower, it’s hearty and cheerful.
A pesto like this in the fridge saves time on weeknights…
It fits this time of year, when it feels like we’re wringing as many sunny days as we can out of the few official days left in summer.
We’re having slow long dinners at home again; but we’re still rushing out to catch the last rays of daylight.
Roasted Eggplant and Walnut Pesto
- 2 large eggplants (about 2lb)
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
- 3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons ginger, ground
- 2 cloves of garlic, mashed
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon sumac
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with foil, and brush with olive oil
- Slice each eggplant into four pieces lengthwise
- Sprinkle slices with salt and layer in a colander
- Once the eggplant slices begin to sweat, pat dry and arrange the slices on the baking sheet and brush slices with olive oil
- Place in the oven, and roast for 30 – 35 minutes until soft and golden
- Remove and allow to cool and remove the skin if you want
- Using a food processor, combine the roasted eggplant, walnuts and sun-dried tomatoes and process until well mixed
- As the food processor runs, gradually add in the olive oil
- Then add the ginger, garlic, allspice, sumac, pepper flakes and salt and process until all the ingredients are well combined, make it as smooth or as coarse as you want it
- Add more olive oil or hot water if you want it to be thinner
- Taste and adjust seasoning as desired
- Use immediately, or store in a jar or airtight container, covered in a thin layer of olive oil