After a week of not cooking, and not missing it at all (!) I returned home to regroup and plan this week’s meals. My first step was trying to remember what was in my last basket from the farm ten days earlier, and decide how to use it all. There were beets, and a lot of peppers, both sweet and hot. But the vegetable I was most concerned about was the eggplant. Knowing that eggplants don’t have as long of a shelf life as the other two items, it jumped high up on my cooking priority list.
Returning after a week of not cooking, I wanted to ease myself gradually back into the kitchen. I figured that grilled flank steak, roasted beets, and baked, breaded eggplant slices might be simple enough. And then I changed my mind. Because that’s how my appetite works. And I decided, instead, that I would like to make an eggplant spread for toasted Italian bread slices to accompany the rest of the meal. Oh, and at the last minute I realized our garden cucumbers weren’t getting any fresher in the refrigerator, and so I added a cucumber salad to my easy dinner. Hah!
Not to be boring, I wasn’t going to use the eggplant in a repeat of the Baba Ganoush recipe from earlier this summer. Why repeat a recipe that everyone loved? Nah, I have to live on the edge and push their tastes with new dishes all of the time. I poked around online for a few minutes and decided to mash together a few recipes I found with the ingredients already in my pantry and came up with this Eggplant and Chickpea Spread. It was just as good as the Baba Ganoush and maybe even healthier with the addition of the chickpeas adding protein to the dish. You could use it as a dip for vegetables, pita slices, or a spread on crackers, bread or for a sandwich.
Everyone enjoyed it and while I will probably come up with another eggplant recipe if any others show up in my basket, this recipe is definitely a keeper.
- I large eggplant
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 4 garlic cloves - okay, we like a lot of garlic, feel free to cut back on the number if you don't
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1.5 small, juicy lemons
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut eggplant in half the long way and place face down on baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes until eggplant is very soft and set aside to cool.
- Once eggplant has cooled, scoop the pulp out of the skin and into the bowl of a food processor. Add all of the other ingredients, squeezing the lemon juice directly into bowl, watching the seeds don't go in. Process for several minutes until all ingredients are well blended. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt or lemon juice as you find necessary.