Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Recipes for the Nine Days: Fire-Roasted Eggplant and Chickpea Fusili

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Thanks to Rivka for reminding me to put up more recipes for the Nine Days, when Jews traditionally skip meat dishes except for Shabbos. The Nine Days are a kind of mourning, because they lead up to the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, the saddest day on the Jewish calendar.

It is important with Nine Days recipes to replace proteins normally found in meat, with vegetarian or dairy alternatives. It's like a vegetarian diet in that you want to look at proteins found in beans and soy products to give you enough energy to get through it. If the food you prepare is satisfying for your family, you will also not get so many carnivorous complaints. All the better to focus on what the Nine Days are really about!

In the following recipe, I use the meatiness of fire roasted eggplants and chickpeas, to bring flavor and protein to the table.

3 italian eggplants (they are usually about five inches long) or 1 and a half regular large eggplants, roasted over your gas burner for about 4 minutes on each side, until puckered and black. You can get this same effect in the oven for about half an hour.
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 can chickpeas, pureed in a food processor
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1 box grape tomatoes, diced
1 can tomato sauce, about 14 ounces
1 tbsp dried basil
2 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
1 tsp black pepper (or to taste)
1-2 handfuls fresh spinach

Place your eggplants on gas burners and roast until blackened, or achieve the same effect in the oven. Don't be afraid to fire-roast the eggplants (or even red bell peppers, if you want); They will not set your house on fire and the method gives great flavor. Once they are puckered, split them in half and scrape out the "meat" from the inside. Saute with your garlic and onion in a deep saute pan for about 5 minutes to until the eggplant is softened. Add your tomatoes and tomato sauce, and make sure your chickpeas are nicely chopped fine in a blender or food processor. Add the chickpeas and your spices, taste it and correct the seasoning, and then add the fresh spinach at the very end.

Serve over a curly pasta like fusili, with parmesan cheese or without cheese at all (it's so nourishing that it doesn't really need cheese!) For fussy vegetable eaters (as you know, there's one in my family), puree the roasted eggplant in the food processor before you add it to the saute pan).

You can also use this sauce in lasagne or as a pizza base. It's smokey and different, and stuffed with bean protein.

Eggplant on Foodista


  1. Does your husband read your blog?

  2. I try not to let him, because he did just thank me for a delicious dinner.

  3. I love eggplant recipes and I know I just have to make this!You do have an amazing site.I'd love to guide our readers to your site if you won't mind.Just add your choice of foodista widget to this post and it's all set, Thanks!