“I have this eggplant Ken wanted to get at the farmer’s market and I have no idea what to do with it, ” I whined to my mother during our cross-country phone call on Friday morning. I was eyeballing the eggplant that was looking less and less vibrant each passing day in my produce basket. It had been there for over a week and, as someone who isn’t the world’s biggest eggplant enthusiast, I had no idea what to make with it that might remotely be appealing.
“Oh, I know! Roast it with some root vegetables, add some goat cheese, and make a salad out of it,” my mother replies, not missing a beat. Like most great questions in life, my mother held the answer to The Great Eggplant Dilemma of 2014.
I thought back to some roasted rainbow carrots I had from the following week and how delicious they had turned out (when an almost 3 year old leaves the dinner table crying because there are no more roasted rainbow carrots to eat, you know a recipe is a hit). I could modify that to work with the eggplant. After researching what herbs pair well with eggplant, I knew the fate of my purple nightshade basket dweller.
I served this salad as our main dish at dinner. At the end of the meal (with the salad plate completely empty), my husband declared that it was his new favorite recipe of mine. After 11 years together, I feel like the weight of that declararion speaks for itself as to how this recipe turned out.
1 medium eggplant, washed and cut into chunks
2 medium (or 1 large) sweet potatoes, washed, peeled, and cut into chunks
1 pound of carrots (I used rainbow because, frankly, they are pretty), washed and sliced
1/4 coconut oil, melted
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, minced
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt to taste
1 small head butter lettuce, washed & dried and chopped
4 ounces goat cheese
1. Preheat oven to 450 F degrees
2. Combine all ingredients, except for the lettuce and goat cheese, in a large mixing bowl. Stir well until all of the vegetables are well coated with coconut oil, garlic, salt and herbs.
3. Pour the vegetable mixture onto a large cookie sheet (you may want to use two if your cookie sheets are small) and spread it out so there is only a single layer of vegetables. Put in the oven and roast 25-30 minutes (or until potatoes are cooked through), turning the vegetables with a spatula after 15 minutes.
4. While the vegetables cook, arrange the lettuce on plate(s).
5. Once done cooking, remove the vegetables from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
6. Distribute roasted vegetables over the bed of butter lettuce and top with goat cheese.