This experience has allowed me to see food in a whole new way and introduced me to new ingredients I wouldn't have tried otherwise, like lentils, quinoa, and agave nectar to name a few. Although the program gave a daily meal plan and recipes, I ended up only trying one recipe, which I did like very much. But, I found myself excited to create my own meals and thinking of ways to create vegan dishes that are packed with flavor.
When I saw Indian eggplants at the store, they're so cute I couldn't resist to buy them. These eggplants are about the size of hen's eggs. I already bought a package of quinoa at Trader Joe's that I haven't used so I thought this would be an opportunity for me to experiment. I also incorporated pistachios because I read an article recently stating that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a qualified health claim that states eating 1.5 oz. (about a handful) of nuts a day may reduce the risk of heart disease.
I thought these eggplants were too cute to just cut up and cook so I decided to make them into little shells and stuff them. I used spices common in Indian cooking to make the filling and they turned out very aromatic and delicious.
8 Indian eggplants
3 shallots (diced)
2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1/4 C. chopped pistachios
1/8 t. coriander
1/8 t. cumin
1/8 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. nutmeg
1/8 t. turmeric
salt, or to taste
1/2 C. quinoa
1 C. coconut milk
1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. Cut each eggplant in half lengthwise. Use a melon baller to scoop out the eggplant flesh, leaving about 1/4 inch thick shell. Make sure to keep the shell in tact. Cut the flesh into small cubes and place in a small bowl.
3. Rub the inside of each eggplant shell with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
4. While the eggplant shells are baking, in a small pot, cook quinoa with coconut milk by bringing it to a boil, cover, then reduce heat to simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand (with lid on) for about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
6. Add quinoa and pistachios to the eggplant mixture and stir to mix well.