Citrus Infused Pan-Seared Eggplant with Black Olives

 

Citrus Infused Pan-Seared Eggplant with Black Olives, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Simple may not always be better, but it is absolutely true that when it comes to vegetable side dishes keeping things simple and letting the vegetables speak for themselves goes a very long way. For example, grilling is one of the best ways to add a lot of flavor without any extra ingredients of complicated prep procedures. And eggplant is probably one of the most grill-friendly vegetables out there!

But, before the eggplant hits the grill (or a pan) it is important to soften it and let some of the bitterness drain out. Very often that means salting the sliced eggplant and letting it sit in between paper towels to absorb the moister that the salted eggplant will release. Doing this removes some of the bitterness that eggplant can sometimes have as well as make the eggplant less like a sponge.

This recipe does have one important trick that really elevates the flavors – rubbing the grilled eggplant slices with a clove or garlic to add that great garlic flavor! This is a trick that you often see used for making garlic bread to infuse garlic aroma into toasted bread – it avoids having to deal with raw garlic pieces, and it is very effective.

Finally, what makes this simple side dish come together is the lemon juice and lemon zest. This small amount of acidity and the freshness that lemon zest contributes really bring the simplicity to a new level. You can serve this elegant vegetable dish warm, as a side, or cold as a salad. Either way, give this a try and see whether you are with me when I say that simple is the way to go!!!

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Citrus Infused Pan-Seared Eggplant with Black Olives

What you’ll need:

2 large Italian eggplants, sliced into rounds

1 clove of garlic, peeled

1 lemon, juice and zest

1 cup black olives, sliced

2-3 teaspoons coarse salt

Cooking spray (or olive oil)

What you’ll do:

  1. Wash the eggplant, and slice into round slices (about 1/4 in (5 mm) in thickness). Place on the two layers of paper or kitchen towel, sprinkle with salt, then cover with another layer of towels, and let stand for 20-30 minutes. The salt will draw out some of the extra moisture out of the eggplant, and with it some of natural bitterness that eggplant sometimes has. Remove the paper towels, and pat dry the eggplant slices.
  2. Put a large grill pan over the high heat to make the pan really hot. Reduce the heat to medium, then spray with some cooking spray or brush with some olive oil. Place eggplant slices on and grill on both sides in batches until all the eggplant is grilled. You can also use an outdoor grill or a regular pan. The point is to blacken and cook the eggplant through, which will take 3-5 minutes per side.
  3. Use the garlic clove and rub the eggplant slices, so that they are infused with garlic aroma. Place the garlic rubbed eggplant into a large mixing bowl, add lemon juice, lemon zest, and sliced black olives. Mix well and you are done! If you like to add a bit more flavors to this simple side dish, you can drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle fresh parsley, or add a dash of crushed red pepper flakes if you are open to turning on the heat!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2019

Lemony Roasted Cauliflower

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Lemony Roasted Cauliflower, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Cauliflower is the king of the vegetable world, and beloved by millions who follow the plant-based or vegan diet. It’s also loved by paleo diet eaters, and of course many, many others. What makes cauliflower versatile is the fact that it is mild enough on its own, which allows it to carry many different flavors. For example, you can make a lovely Cauliflower Buffalo Wings and Cauliflower Pizza Crust, as well as a great Cauliflower Basmati Rice or pasta shells stuffed with cauliflower ricotta. You must agree that this is quite a range for a single ingredient!

This dish is a simple yet delicious side dish or a quick lunch. It tastes great warm as well as cold, so you will be able to make the most out of your leftovers. The dish does take some time to make – roasting cauliflower can take up to 45 minutes. But, trust me: roasting is the way to go. Although you could boil the cauliflower the flavor will not be the same, so just don’t go there.

The rest of the ingredient list is simple and straightforward. Pine nuts add nice toastiness and crunch to the dish, garlic give it the aroma, and lemon juice and zest make this dish light and full of sunshine. Of course, a dash of basil never hurts!!!

Lemony Roasted Cauliflower

What you’ll need:

2 heads of cauliflower, florets only

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

3 oz (185 g) pine nuts

1 lemon, rind and juice

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons basil, dry (or 2 tablespoons fresh, finely chopped)

What you’ll do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F (220 C).
  2. Wash the cauliflower, and cut out the florets only (you can use the leftover cauliflower to make rice, or a creamy soup, so don’t throw it away!). Pat dry the cauliflower florets and set aside.
  3. Line a large baking sheet with some parchment paper, arrange the cauliflower florets so that there is some space around each one, and place in the oven. Roast for 30-40 minutes. The florets should be soft and nicely browned.
  4. Place the roasted florets into a large mixing bowl and let them cool slightly.
  5. Bring a large frying pan up to temperature over medium-high heat. Add the pine nuts and toast on high for 2-3 minutes. Stay with your pine nuts as they toast and stir frequently as they can quickly go from nicely toasted and fragrant to burnt! Add the toasted pine nuts to the roasted cauliflower.
  6. Add the oil to the pan and decrease the heat to medium low. Add the sliced garlic and cook it for 1-2 minutes. Pour the garlic and oil over the cauliflower and pine nuts mix.
  7. Next, add lemon juice, lemon rind, and basil and mix everything well. Let the cauliflower rest for 10 minutes or so, then serve and enjoy!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2018