Eggplant is a colorful fruit with a colorful past. Did you know that ‘at one time it was considered poisonous and dubbed the ‘mala insane” (raging apple) because it was believed to cause insanity? Did you also know that eggplant is related to the potato and tomato but it is actually a fruit, specifically a berry? (Food.com) I hated eggplant as a kid and would have been happy to rely on the insanity theory to get out of eating it but, alas, my mother was too smart to get that past her. Now, however, eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables. Even though I know it’s actually a fruit, I’m too used to thinking of eggplant as a vegetable and can’t wrap my brain around that concept. Eggplant is very versatile. It can be baked, braised, boiled, fried grilled, stuffed, roasted, sauteed and stewed. You can swap it out for the meat in most recipes for a delicious meatless meal that is still satisfying and nutritious. Eggplant is loaded with vitamins and minerals and contains important phytonutrients, thanks in part to the glorious purple color of it’s skin. Foods come in vibrant reds, yellows, blues and whites and each color provides different nutrients for our bodies to use. The concept of Eating By Color or Eat The Rainbow, encourages eating foods every day from the entire spectrum of the rainbow for optimum health. The deep purple in eggplant is good for longevity and keeping our brains sharp, so dig in!
Roasting eggplant is easy and delicious. I like it even just drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper before roasting. This time though, I added paprika, cumin, garlic, honey and apple cider vinegar which add a bit of savory with just a hint of sweet and pairs nicely with the tang of goat cheese and the buttery toasted pine nuts.
Roasted Eggplant with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts
2 large eggplants, about 2 pounds
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbsn cider vinegar
1 Tbsn honey
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup flat parsley leaves, roughly chopped(optional)
1/4 – 1/2 cup pine nuts (optional)
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled and divided (optional)
- Cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes and put in a large bowl. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and let sit.
- Dry toast the pine nuts, if using, in a small pan over medium heat for a few minutes, until fragrant. Let cool on paper towel.
- Whisk together the olive oil, cider vinegar, honey, garlic, paprika, and cumin. Dry the eggplant with paper towels and toss with the marinade.
- Spread the eggplant in a large glass pan, and roast in the oven at 400°F for 40 – 45 minutes, or until fork tender. (Stir every 15 minutes and check after 30 minutes to make sure it isn’t burning.) Remove from the oven and cool slightly.
- Top with crumbled goat cheese, pine nuts and parsley, if desired.