Vegetable and Lentil Soup with Spiced Eggplant

One of my favourite meals to make in the cooler months is soup. For it is both easy, and versatile, and almost certainly guarantees that those last few veggies in your crisper drawer are used up at the end of the week.

I find that soup is also a particularly good option on the days when I know that the husband will be home late from work. I make a batch during the day and eat early with the kids. Then his serve can easily be re-heated when he arrives home – without the worry of it being mis-timed or overcooked.

On this occasion, I found inspiration in Taste Magazine – in the form of a tomato based vegetable and lentil soup – that was topped with spicy eggplant. And we all know how much I like my eggplant! 

The addition of lentils resulted in a hearty soup, that warmed us up from the inside out. The eggplant was quite the star too – and definitely not short on spice!

From memory we served the soup with some toasted sourdough with lashings of butter (of course).  The perfect soup ‘dipper’.

What about you? Do you have a favourite soup?

(ps. I hope you are enjoying the new ‘printer’ friendly versions of my recipes, which I think you can also adjust to suit what serving size you are after. Let me know what you think!)

Print Recipe
Vegetable and Lentil Soup with Spiced Eggplant
Course Soup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Soup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the leek, carrots and zucchini, and cook for a few minutes (or starting to soften). Add the garlic and spices, and stir until fragrant.
  3. Add the lentils, tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Season the soup, and divide among serving bowls. Top with fresh parsley and the spiced eggplant.
For the Spiced Eggplant:
  1. Preheat oven to 200C, and line a tray with baking paper. Dice an eggplant into 1-inch cubes. Combine 1tsp garam masala, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp chilli flakes and 1/4 tsp turmeric in a bowl. Add the eggplant and toss to coat. Spread onto the lined tray and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown.
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Grilled eggplant and lentil salad

I’m going through a bit of a phase.

An eggplant phase.

Yes not the normal sort of phase you might find yourself going through, but its a recent craving that I’ve been more than happy to satisfy.

I suspect it has something do with eggplant’s heartiness. It feels like it adds a bit of bulk to dishes – particularly when you are using it in place of meat, for example.

Take this salad, for instance. So simple to prepare, but quite easily a stand-alone meal (although it would almost certainly work as a tasty side dish too).

I thinly sliced the eggplant, and grilled the slices for 5 minutes or so until soft and golden. Then it was simply a matter of combining the eggplant slices with baby spinach, lentils, capsicum, cucumber and feta – and finishing the dish with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

I’d give you a recipe – but there really is no more to it. Just lots of simple, fresh flavours – that come together to make a tasty meal.  Not to mention colourful!

Chilli Beef and Eggplant Lettuce Cups

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Eggplant is a vegetable that  I don’t eat nearly enough. I seem to overlook it when I’m at the greengrocer, which is unfortunate as I always enjoy it when it makes an appearance in a recipe that I’ve come across.

Once such recipe was for these chilli beef and eggplant lettuce cups that I discovered in a recent Healthy Food Guide edition (you can also find the recipe online here).

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I loved how the eggplant effectively ‘bulked’ out the meat component of the dish, while adding lots of flavour and texture.

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And while I normally tend to roast eggplant, this turned out to be a nice alternative cooking method. I was a tad sceptical at first that the eggplant would be cooked, but after 10 minutes or so in the pan it had softened beautifully.

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The chilli beef and eggplant filling was served in crunchy lettuce cups – resulting in a nice new take on an old favourite – san choy bau (another favourite of mine!). The added bonus being that aside from chopping the vegetables (and their modest cooking time), the whole meal came together quickly and easily – which is always perfect for a mid-week meal.

What about you? Are you a fan of eggplant?

Miso eggplant salad

IMG_7251 Crazy weeks call for quick meals. But tasty meals. Such as this little beauty that graced our dinner table a little while ago. Sure it had a few elements, but they all came together relatively quickly and soon satisfied my craving for red meat. Quite simply – Japanese (?) eggplants sliced, brushed with miso paste and grilled to perfection. IMG_7246 Along with a pile of rice noodles, some eye fillet steak, steamed bok choy and a sprinkle of sesame seeds and coriander. IMG_7249 Looking back, I am sure that I would have found this recipe somewhere – but I cannot for the life of me work out where from! IMG_7250 So to the creator of this recipe….thankyou. It was delicious, and just what I was looking for after a big day at work. I loved the miso + eggplant + sesame combination, and will certainly be keeping this one in mind when more eggplants arrive in our vegetable box. What about you? How do you keep track of your recipes? I have been rather hopeless lately, and need to use my recipe book more!

Tuna, eggplant and feta salad

IMG_7087 After a rather indulgent weekend, with cupcakes and champers galore, I returned home craving salad. But having a relatively bare fridge after the few days away–  well, this meant getting creative in order to get dinner on the plate. Saved….in this case…..by a tin of tuna (in springwater), that I mixed with carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum and a good sprinkle of dried oregano. IMG_7086 Piled atop a bed of lettuce, finished with some grilled eggplant and crumbled feta…. IMG_7088 And you may never have guessed this was a throw-together meal!? IMG_7089 My favourite part?? The grilled eggplant slices (sliced, salted, rinsed then grilled for a good 10 minutes until soft and a little charred). They worked just beautifully with the creamy feta – which simultaneously reminded me that when it comes to feta – Greek is best! IMG_7090 Delish! What about you? Are you a fan of feta?

Grilled eggplant salad

IMG_4864 Eggplants quite often appear in our vegetable box, but too often I forget to do something with them and they are left to spoil. Last week, however, I was determined to create a ‘dish’ that I could add to our menu plan when another eggplant appeared. And with the warmer weather slowly making its appearance, I went for a salad. Starting with the eggplant, that I spliced, salted, washed then grilled. IMG_4857 Just a few minutes each side, then onto a baking dish and drizzled with balsamic vinegar and garlic olive oil. IMG_4858 Into the oven for 20 minutes or so – until the eggplant was beautifully cooked through – for there is nothing worse than a piece of undercooked chewy eggplant. Well in my opinion, that is. IMG_4859 As for the ‘salad’ – I kept things simple. Rocket, tomatoes, fresh basil and some leftover persian fetta. IMG_4860 Combined wit the cooked eggplant – and well I was rather chuffed with the result! IMG_4861 Relatively simple, packed with flavour, and a lovely way to use up the eggplant. IMG_4863 Next time I might even grill the eggplant on the BBQ to give it an extra smoky flavour! What about you? What is your favourite way to use eggplant?

Roasted eggplant dip

IMG_8979 There are not many ingredients that intimidate me, but eggplant would have to be one of them. IMG_8971 Which is strange really – as I love to eat eggplant. I think it is just one of those ingredients that if not done properly – can be quite terrible. But when an eggplant arrived in my weekly vegetable box, well I knew I had to bite the bullet and create something at home. And, given that Turkish is one of my favourite cuisines, well I was drawn to creating a smoky eggplant dip that I could serve alongside some lamb I intended to roast. To start, I roasted the eggplant until the skin was wrinkly and the flesh was soft. Truthfully, I think I should have roasted it a bit longer (at least until the skin was more charred) to really get the smoky flavour happening. IMG_8975 But I digress. I peeled the roasted eggplant, and placed it in a food processor with natural yoghurt, tahini, lemon juice, garlic powder and cumin. IMG_8974 Then let the processor do its thing! IMG_8977 The result? Creamy, smoky eggplant dip – with a hint of spice from the cumin and a little sharpness from the lemon juice. IMG_8978IMG_8980 As I mentioned earlier, we served this dip alongside garlic lamb, broccoli and some pieces of toasted Turkish bread. IMG_8989 But I think the dip would also make a nice addition to a party table – served with vegetable crudités or pita bread. Just remember to roast the eggplant as nicely as you can – so that you capture that lovely smokiness! Eggplant Dip

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tbs tahini
  • 1-2tbs natural yoghurt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place eggplant on tray, and prick it all over with a fork. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes or until eggplant is soft and charred. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
  2. Peel the eggplant, and place the flesh into a food processor with the remaining ingredients. Process until desired consistency.
  3. Season to taste.

Moussaka making

Moussaka = a Greek layered casserole dish  – most often made with layers of eggplant slices, cheese, and a meat sauce, topped with a thick béchamel sauce. Confession: Before last week, I had never eaten Moussaka. But I had seen it on various menus throughout the years, and was keen to give it a try.  With its slices of eggplant, rich tomato meaty sauce and creamy cheesy layer…what’s not to love? IMG_8452 So I decided to try and make it at home. I used my favourite bolognaise sauce as the base, just subbing lamb mince in place of beef. IMG_8451 And after grilling eggplant slices until they took on a bit of colour, I got to layering. Eggplant… IMG_8453 Sauce.. IMG_8454 Eggplant… IMG_8455 More sauce…and finally, more eggplant… IMG_8456 Confused yet? Finished with a creamy béchamel sauce – made using butter, spelt flour, milk, parmesan cheese, a sprinkle of nutmeg and an egg yolk. IMG_8457 Into the oven… IMG_8459 And what a delightful dish it turned out to be! IMG_8460 This was one huge moussaka, so we happily ate in three nights in a row – served alongside a simple salad. IMG_8461 And, as these dishes often do, the flavours seemed to get better with age. IMG_8463 A handy make-ahead meal too! What about you? Have you tried moussaka?

Feelin’ Frenchy

Happy Saturday lovely people! After a few crazy hectic days, things are starting to slow down in the BBB household – a welcomed relief indeed. My Mum arrived from Melbourne last night, and was a wonderful help in getting our house ready for 20 of my nearest and dearest to arrive this afternoon for my baby shower. And, while I am shortly being kicked out of the house so they can finish setting up (in secret?!), I made sure that we started the day off right. aka. French toast. IMG_4636 Oat sourdough, soaked in egg, and then cooked to perfection by Mr BBB – the French toast king! IMG_4637 Then topped with whatever caught my eye when I opened the pantry. IMG_4638 Peaches, coconut… IMG_4639 And a drizzle of maple syrup. A delicious start to what is going to be a fun day indeed! What about you? What is your favourite French toast topping?

Eggplant and basil parmigiana

It is hard to believe that only a week ago I was celebrating what seemed to be the start of Spring. For, in some cruel weather joke, the warm temperatures and sunny skies have been replaced with grey clouds and lots of rain. Luckily there was a break in the weather this evening so Mr BBB and I could head out for our evening walk. We missed out on our walk last night due to rain, and I actually really missed it. The star of last night’s dinner (and tonight’s…owing to leftovers!) was this eggplant that I picked up at the market on the weekend. It was starting to look a little worse for wear, so I knew it had to be used asap. IMG_2845       But what to make? eggplant I remember seeking eggplant parmigiana on a blog sometime ago, and knowing we had tomato passata and mozzarella in the fridge, well I had my inspiration. I started by slicing the eggplant and sprinkling it with a little salt. IMG_2855 They say that salting the eggplant will help draw out any bitterness, but to be honest, I don’t find the eggplants we buy here to be all that bitter. After half an hour, I patted the eggplant slices to remove any moisture, and had a think about how to prepare the parmigiana itself. I wanted the eggplant to be crispy, so I put together a mixture of chestnut flour (having had crispy success with it here), and also GF corn crummies. I then dipped each eggplant slice into a mixture of egg + milk (whisked) and into the flour mixture, until I had myself a plate of ‘crumbed’ eggplant slices. IMG_2862 Mr BBB took charge of the oil, and each slice was fried in vegetable oil for a couple minutes each side. Drained well on paper towel, then it was time to top. IMG_2865 Tomato passata… IMG_2866 A fresh basil leaf…. IMG_2867    IMG_2868 And mozzarella. IMG_2870 IMG_2871 Into the oven, cooked until the cheese was brown and bubbly….. IMG_2877 Then onto a plate. IMG_2879   I served the eggplant with a simple salad of mixed greens, cucumber and walnuts.  IMG_2883  Drizzled with this ‘Greek salad dressing’ that I was given as a gift a while ago. dressing IMG_2885 As far as tasty meals go, this is certainly one that I will be making again. IMG_2882 The eggplant slices were packed with flavour, yet not too heavy, and I really enjoyed the overall flavours of the meal. IMG_2880 While there was a little preparation work involved, I wouldn’t call it a difficult dish to make. And the bonus? IMG_2878 Enough leftover for a quick reheat dinner tonight as well! Eggplant Parmigiana (makes 12 slices)

  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 12 slices (sprinkled with salt, left for half an hour then patted dry)
  • 1 egg
  • splash milk
  • 1/2 cup corn crummies
  • 1/2 cup chestnut flour
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 cup tomato passata
  • 12 basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a tray with baking paper.
  2. Combine egg and milk in a small bowl, and whisk until well combined.
  3. Mix crummies and chestnut flour, and pour onto a flat plate.
  4. Dip eggplant slices, one at a time, into the egg mix, and then into the flour. Cover well, shake off excess, then set aside. Repeat until you have crumbed all eggplant slices.
  5. Heat a decent amount of vegetable oil in a shallow frypan. Cook eggplant slices (in batches) for 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towel.
  6. Line up all eggplant slices on the prepared baking tray. Top each with a spoonful of passata, a basil leaf and a sprinkled of grated mozzarella.
  7. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is brown and bubbly.

What about you? Do you have a favourite eggplant dish?