How were your Mondays? Mine was in a word: Busy!
Actually, let me elaborate on that one, it was ridiculously busy- my busiest day to date at work! Not that I’m complaining. To be honest, I love it when I have a lot to do- it’s a real motivator to work hard and I love being challenged.
Yes, I am a dork and a work-a-holic, accept me for who I am, please! 😉
Considering the day’s events, and the fact that I’m meeting up with an old friend tonight, dinner was nothing short of quick and boring: A ciabatta bun topped with some marinara lentil sauce and avocado- sorry hunger took over and no pic appeared.
However, I did make a pretty epic sandwich last night, that I’d love to share with you:
Behold the Roasted Eggplant Italiano Sandwich topped with caramelized onions, lentils and spinach, piled onto a delectable soft and chewy ciabatta bun.
I don’t often cook with eggplant- not because I don’t enjoy it, I love it- but because the way I like to eat it takes some prep:
I’m a huge believer in “sweating” out the bitterness of eggplants; it just makes it taste that much more amazing, IMO.
First, slice your eggplant, in my case pretty thin, about the same thickness of your lens cap, maybe a wee bit thinner than that.
Lay your slices out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt- this will extract the “bitter” liquid from the eggplant- don’t worry about the sodium you’re gonna rinse it off anyway!
Meanwhile, start caramelizing your onions, all nice pretty-like. Confession: I always add some cider vinegar to my onions at the end of the caramelizing to give a bit of sweetness and extra flava, I highly recommend this.
After about 20-30 minutes of “sweating” you’ll get this nasty looking brown liquid coming out of your eggplant; so do what would come naturally to you anyway- rinse it off! Preheat your oven to 370F
Let them drain for a few minutes and then lay them back on your cookie sheet (I would make sure this is rinsed off, too!), brush with olive oil (both sides) and season them to your taste. I keep things simple with some salt, pepper and garlic powder but you could shake things up with some basil, paprika or whatever you like.
Pop em in the oven to bake for about 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through; when they’re done they’ll look a li’l somethin like this:
Meanwhile slice up some tomatoes, rinse some spinach and dig out your lentils. I used some of my leftover “neat” sauce, but drained it a bit so as to get more lentils than sauce.
I ALSO toasted my ciabatta bun with some vegan butta and garlic!
Then layer it up:
Start with your lentils and marinara, pop on les ognions, eggplant, tomatoes, and spinach.
WARNING: this makes an extremely messy, gooey, sandwich, I strongly advise you to NOT wear white and use a dropcloth napkin for protection.
I served this baby up with a bowl of Campbell’s red lentil and vegetable soup– yumminess!
Well that’s pretty much all I gotta say for that!
Here is the actual recipe:
Roasted Eggplant Italiano Sandwich
Preheat oven to 370
1 small Italian Eggplant
1-2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
½ tsp garlic powder
Thinly slice eggplant, lay on baking sheet sheet.
Sprinkle slices with table salt, set aside for 20-30 minutes.
When brown liquid appears, rinse eggplant slices (and baking sheet) thoroughly and let drain.
Pat slices dry with paper towel, lay on baking sheet.
Lightly brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder
Bake slices for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through, and slices are browned and edges are slightly curled.
Split ciabatta bun in half, spread with vegan butter and ¼ tsp garlic, toast in oven until golden.
Top sandwich with 3 tbsp neat sauce (slightly drained for more lentils) or 1 tbsp marinara sauce mixed with 2-3 tbsp lentils, spinach, tomato, and caramelized onions.
Do you enjoy eggplant? How do you like to prepare it?