Eggplant Rice Bowl

This was my I.O.W. (ingredient of the week) at the farmer’s market this past weekend. I always get the usual: lettuces, mircogreens, sprouts, a good loaf of bread, other local pickings, and of course Nisha’s Indian Veggie Samosas and chutney. You know, just a few items to get me through the week. Then I always scan for that ‘something seasonal’ that stands out. On Saturday this eggplant was calling my name. I was craving comfort on Sunday night but also wanted something light with the Houston heat. I pulled this rice bowl together using thai-inspired flavors from chiles and lime. It came together quite nice, though if I were to repeat this dish again I might consider adding fresh mango and lots of cilantro. You could also substitute tofu for the walnuts if you’re looking for a more substantial meal and add a handful of cashews to keep it authentic. Let me know if you decide to experiment with it!

Eggplant Rice Bowl

{Yield: About 2}

1/2 large eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1/2 large yellow onion, sliced into thin wedges

4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp dried spices (I mixed basil, cumin, coriander and a little crushed red pepper flakes)

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup cooked long grain brown rice

1/2 cup cooked black quinoa

handful of walnuts, toasted

herbs for garnish (basil, cilantro or microgreens work well)

Dressing

1/2 cup rice vinegar

3 Tbsp coconut palm sugar

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1/2 fresh red chile, finely chopped (or 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes)

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

grated zest and juice of a lime, plus more for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toss the eggplant and the onion with 3 Tbsp olive oil and the dried spices in a bowl. Spread evenly onto a baking sheet. Season with sea salt. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, tossing occasionally, until cooked through.

In a small saucepan, gently warm the vinegar, sugar and salt for about a minute, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add the garlic, chile and sesame oil. Allow to cool, then add the lime zest and juice. Set aside.

Toss the cherry tomatoes with the remaining Tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add to the roasting eggplant and onion pan for the second half of cooking.

Combine 1 cup cooked brown rice with 1/2 cup cooked quinoa in a bowl. Toss with some of the chile dressing until well-flavored. Set aside.

To serve, scoop rice mixture into a bowl. Add the roasted eggplant, onion, tomatoes, and a handful of the walnuts. Drizzle a little more of the dressing and top with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lime.

3 thoughts on “Eggplant Rice Bowl

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