Veggie Alert: Roasted eggplant & mushrooms

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My dear vegetarian friends, I have not forsaken you! I’m often stumped by how to make non-meat meals taste good, but when I discover one, it’s like striking gold. This roasted eggplant recipe is a great way to toss up a weekday dinner that is not only healthy but very tasty as well. I started mostly making this during my first few months of living in Madrid. Since I only eat zabiha halal and I was new to the city, I had not made my way over to the numerous friendly Bangladeshi butchers that I later discovered in Lavapies. I was living in a temporary housing situation for my first semester due to a visa issuing mess-up, which made me miss my first two weeks of school and miss out on finding a good apartment. I was fortunate enough to find this flat sharing s was a longish commute from my university and with an extremely busy schedule including classes, group meetings and assignments, dinner had to be one less thing I could worry about. I have to admit that being a total vegetarian for about two months was challenging to say the least. But dishes like these roasted aubergines and mushrooms mixed with heirloom tomatoes and pungent garlic and topped with salty and tangy crumbled feta really hit the spot. And fear not my carnivorous pals, this makes a great mediterranean style side dish to go along with the rest of your meal.

What I love about this is that there is minimal prep, aside from cutting up a few vegetables. Next you simply season with salt, paprika and herbs and drizzle over some olive oil. Then in the oven it goes, halfway through you toss the veggies around and bake until the eggplant gets some color. Once done, on goes the feta and some torn up cilantro. And that is all! What a rewarding meal this is. If you’re trying to bring healthier food options in to your life and don’t want to give up the taste, then this is definitely worth a try.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Eggplant, thin slices lengthwise
  • 1 Tomato or 4-5 cherry tomatoes
  • 5 Mushrooms of your choice, although I opted for white button or cremini mushrooms
  • 2 Cloves fresh garlic, skin still on
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sprinkle of paprika
  • Pinch of rosemary
  • Pinch of tarragon
  • Pinch marjoram
  • Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle
  • Crumbled feta, to garnish
  • Cilantro leaves, to garnish

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200ºC/400ºF

Chop the tomatoes and mushrooms in thin-ish slices. Separate two garlic cloves from the pod but remember to leave the skin on. When the rest of your prep is done, get to the eggplant last, as this vegetable tends to oxidize very quickly and turns in to a displeasing color. One way to slow the oxidization process is by placing the sliced aubergine in a bowl of cold water, until ready to use. Slice the eggplant thinly lengthwise.

Line a baking sheet with foil or wax paper. Lay the eggplants on the bottom and the other smaller veggies mixed around on top.

Drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle over with the seasoning. Mix it together with your hands to coat everything well.

Place the vegetables in oven and roast for 15-20 minutes (give or take a few minutes depending on your oven), flipping them over or tossing them around halfway through to cook evenly. Make sure to keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn, since every oven has its own peculiarities.

Once done, top the vegetables with some crumbled feta cheese to give it a little tangy zing and some torn cilantro leaves for freshness.

Enjoy! x

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