Eggplant and portion control

“Here,” Mark said, shoving two small, deep purple eggplants my way. “These are for you. Just be careful. I didn’t realize eggplants were prickly at their stem.” Huh. Neither did I. When picking out eggplant in the supermarket I never got pricked in the finger, but I did this time. (Be careful? What fun is that?) Turns out friends of Mark’s have quite the vegetable garden and he brought me back some eggplant and red pepper. I find this significant since Mark does not particularly care for eggplant or red pepper. Plus-one for him. And vegetables from a garden (your own, a friend, a neighbors) always seem to get me a bit more excited about cooking. I don’t know why. I’m just weird that way.

Dinner, in proper proportion, served on my best china.

I pulled out one of my Cooking Light recipe books for eggplant suggestions. I wanted to do something other than my two go-to eggplant staples (baked eggplant parmesan and eggplant caponata) and found a recipe for Roasted Eggplant-and-Cannellini Bean Salad which sounded yummy and looked easy. I tweaked the recipe using a can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes, used white northern beans and substituted dried herbs for fresh. The salad can be served alone, over salad greens or over grains. I served it over brown rice but you could also substitute quinoa or pasta.

Once again, I pulled out my “good china” for dinner and while I was eating, it occurred to me that the “good china” probably encourages me to eat proper portion sizes rather than the large Pier 1 dinner plates I usually use. So besides looking pretty, connecting me to family and generally making my meal feel “special” for no reason other than it’s a Thursday night, it also helps me eat healthy. Score. And by the way. This? Was totally yummy. So glad Mark doesn’t like eggplant and red peppers. Leftovers for me!

My version of Roasted Eggplant with White Beans:

Ingredients

  • 2 small eggplants, peeled and cubed
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1 cup cubed onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • cooking spray
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced or chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 1 16-ounce can white beans, drained
  • 3 Tablespoons red win vinegar

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 450.
  • Combine eggplant, red pepper, onion and garlic in a bowl. Add oil and toss to coat. Spoon into a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  • Add tomato, herbs, salt and pepper. Bake 10 more minutes.
  • Combine beans and vinegar in a large bowl and toss to coat. Add roasted vegetables. Combine.

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