Italian Eggplant over Pasta

This week’s trip out to Whole Foods Market yielded a beautiful purple organic eggplant! I’ve never cooked with fresh eggplant – only with pre-prepared, frozen varieties. I was excited to get to work with the real thing!

I knew I was going to go Italian with this beauty (thanks to Armando for the suggestion!). I wanted to try grilling it, but rain (like Niemi) said NO! Enter: the ol’ George Foreman grill. There’s got to be a way to make eggplant on the George, right?!

Indeed! So I whipped up a simple cornmeal breading with oregano, garlic salt, and a little chili powder. Then I sliced up that eggplant and rubbed each slice with a light coating of garlic-infused olive oil. I dredged the slices through the cornmeal breading, patted them down, and tossed them onto the George Foreman grill. 5 minutes later, they smelled wonderful! I transferred the eggplant rounds to a baking dish, topped with a jar of organic basil marinara and some Daiya dairy-free mozzarella, and baked for 15 minutes until the cheese melted.

I served the eggplant and marinara over some whole-wheat pasta, and decided I could eat that dish ALL DAY LONG. Mwah! SO good!

Fresh eggplant is SO much more delicious than the frozen varieties! It tasted so fresh, but was so easy to make. And, regarding non-dairy cheese – I’ve tried quite a few brands, all of which have disappointed me. But this Daiya brand – I have found a winner! It feels a bit more moist than typical shredded cheese, but melted and stretched just like dairy cheese, and tasted wonderful! It almost had more of a parmesan taste to it, but that was fine with me. Daiya vegan cheeses are casein-free, dairy-free, have no cholesterol or trans-fats, all natural, and free of common allergens like soy, gluten, lactose, and others. Thumbs up!

I was drooling as everything came together with this meal and as such, didn’t take the time to get a picture – but this meal is definitely going into my weekly rotation!

[recipe-show recipe=italian-eggplant-over-pasta]