The other week I found out how new to our area eggplants are. My grandfather, who worked in importing and exporting veggies (35 years ago), told me that when he received 1 wagon full of eggplants, people didn't know what they were and no one bought any.
We accepted eggplants in our lives in the end but not many recipes were developed since then.
For example, my grandmother only made the eggplant salad which is a baba ganoush without tahini in it.
Very rarely, we did stuffed eggplants like Karniyarik or Imam Bayildi.
Eggplants are very summery and full of flavour, but what I love most, is their texture. I prefer eggplants sautéed in cubes a lot more than completely mashed. They are tender and fleshy and they easily borrow other flavours.
This recipe can be many things: a pasta sauce, a polenta sauce, a side, a salad for bruschetta.
It's tangy, garlicky and the tomato sauce goes so right with the eggplants.
We make this very often now, as eggplants are in peak season here and luckily it's a very easy recipe to follow.
You need only 4 ingredients and one pot.
While you saute the chopped leeks and peppers, cut eggplants in big cubes and chop the tomatoes small.
You add in the eggplants, leave to sweat a bit then add in the tomatoes and leave to cook on medium heat. While this is cooking, you can prepare the pasta or polenta.
And when I tell you I can’t decide which one goes better... I really can’t. I equally love this sauce with pasta as well as polenta. So hard to choose!
Eggplants in tomato sauce
Vegan, Plant-based, Gluten-free
Total time: around 1h
1 big eggplant
2 yellow peppers
5-7 big fresh, ripe tomatoes (if you don’t have them, replace with 1 ½ can of tomatoes)
2 garlic cloves
5 fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tbsp agave nectar or coconut sugar
Sea salt & black pepper to taste
Chop the peppers and leeks and saute in 1 tbsp EVOO.
Cut eggplant in cubes and set aside.
Chop the tomatoes. Set aside.
When the peppers and leeks are almost cooked, add the eggplant and cook at medium heat, stirring from time to time.
When the eggplants are half in size, add in the tomatoes and sea salt.
Cook for about 25 minutes or until the eggplants are done and tender.
At the end, add the sweetener, mashed garlic and taste for salt. Add freshly ground black pepper, chopped basil leaves and drizzle with some EVOO on top.
Serve with pasta or polenta.
Tips: you can store it for up to 4 days. To give this a Moroccan twist, you can add cooked chickpeas and spices like cumin and cinnamon. Delicious!
What's your favourite way to cook eggplants?