I will be honest… I learned this recipe from somewhere on the Internet. The thing is… I can’t remember where or who to give the credit to.
I made this recipe for the first time about 3 years ago when I was staying with my sister for the birth of my nephew, who turned 3 recently. I was craving eggplant… and I wanted an easy way to make it without frying it, which you all know is my favorite eggplant preparation. I did it at home in Puerto Rico and also at my sister’s after scoring a huge bag of eggplants at The Boys Farmer’s Market.
I vaguely remembered what I did the initial time I made it. So who knows, maybe I did came up with THIS version after all.
Eggplant and Goat Cheese Bake
1 medium eggplant, find one as light as possible, peeled and diced
1 pint of grape tomatoes, divided, all cut in half
1 tbs of dried basil, I use freeze dried
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 ounces of goat cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, optional
Brown Rice Fettuccini, I use Tinkyada brand
- In an oven-proof dish place all the diced eggplant pieces. Drizzle with olive oil, minced garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss all to combine well.
- Add over the eggplant half of the grape tomatoes that you’ve cut in half already. Leave aside the rest of the tomatoes.
- Sprinkle the dried basil over the tomatoes. Add the goat cheese inc crumbles over the tomatoes. Drizzle a final stream of olive oil over everything and a last sprinkle of salt and pepper to make sure everything is well seasoned.
4. Place in a 375F oven for about 40 minutes. Turn off the oven.
5. Boil water to make the pasta according to the package directions. I use Brown Rice pasta, but you can use your favorite brand/kind
6. Drain the pasta, return to the pot and add the eggplant bake. Mix well to combine. Add Parmesan cheese, if using. Add the fresh tomatoes you set aside earlier. This adds an element of freshness that contrasts really nice with the creaminess of the baked eggplant.
Serve with your favorite salad and baked plantains on the side… This is so easy to make ahead and just re-heat when you’re boiling the pasta. Easy dinner without a lot of tending to it.
This is part of a series on how our food can help certain organs that resemble their same shape. I already shared with you how the following foods benefit these organs:
Carrots – Eyes
Tomatoes – Heart
Grapes – Heart
Walnuts – Brain
Celery, Rhubarn, Bok Choy – Bones
Beans – Kidneys
Sweet Potatoes – Pancreas
Now, look at the Eggplant, Avocado and Pear… they’re all shaped like a WOMB. So according to this theory they’re good for feminine health, for the womb and cervix. To be honest, I searched and searched the internet to find data that supported this theory… I couldn’t find anything specific to womb or cervix.
However, I did find some interesting facts important to women’s health and issues over all:
- According to some internet research, avocados are great for our sex drive because they contain high levels of folic acid to help metabolize proteins giving you an energy boost. They are also known to benefit a women’s libido due to the high potassium content. That potassium content also helps with fatigue, depression and poor digestion.
- Avocados are a complete food, providing fat, protein and carbohydrate – every vegetarian’s dream! They contain healthy fats we could all do with in our diets. But the fat is GOOD fat; in the form of monosaturated. They contain good levels of vitamin B6 to help you fight stress and give you the energy to keep going.
- Avocados are excellent for the skin. Research shows that substances in the pulp of avocados appear to trigger DNA to produce more embryonal collagen – the soluble kind we start our lives with, producing smooth and supple skins.
- Pears are a good source of Vitamin C and copper, both are antioxidant nutrients that protect the body against free-radicals and aging. They’re also a good source of fiber to help regularity and lowers cholesterol levels. Fiber also binds to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon, preventing them from damaging colon cells. A study in postmenopausal women showed a 34% reduction in breast cancer risk for those consuming the most fruit fiber compared to those consuming the least.
- Eggplants contain powerful antioxidants too. They help letting nutrients in and wastes out, especially in brain cells. They also help to relax blood vessels, improve blood flow and reduce cholesterol levels, particularly if taken in juice form. Even the National Diabetes Education Program, Mayo Clinic and American Diabetes Association recommend an eggplant based diet as a choice for management of type 2 diabetes.
- Eggplant has been found to be especially useful in the treatment of colon cancer due to the high amount of fiber found within eggplant. But, the fiber found in eggplant has other uses–like helping people lose weight. Eggplant keeps dieters feeling full for a longer period of time and prevents from being as tempted to snack between meals.. Eggplants are filled with water and it’s important in the maintenance of healthy skin and hair.
Here are some recipes to help you increase your eggplant, avocado and pear intake:
Avocado and Tomato Sandwich
Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese and Walnuts
Greens and Pear Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette
Eggplant and Mushroom Sandwich
Pasta with Eggplant Puree
It’s incredible… how daring we are sometimes.
My friend Tania visited Paraguay for the first time about 6-7 years ago. During that first trip she learned from our Yoga friends over there how to make Eggplant Milanese using cornstarch and oatmeal as the breading. We all loved the fried eggplants when she first made them at the Yoga Center.
Flash forward to March 2012… here you have Yazmín and I making Eggplant Milanese in Paraguay. Not helping them make them… noooo, making them ourselves to treat everyone after our short retreat near Asunción.
How dare we come and cook something for them that they actually taught us how to make??? We are daring indeed…
Something I have learned over the years I’ve known how to make these Eggplant Milaneses:
- No need to actually use a mandolin. They actually come out better when cut not as thin. After a nasty mandolin accident making these milaneses at home recently, I now cut them with a knife and they come out even better than with a mandolin even if they’re a tad uneven.
- No need to marinate for a long time. Soy sauce is fine, but you can only marinate for about 30 minutes and you’ll be fine. A tad of sesame oil adds a nice twist too. And when they marinate less, your end up with a juicier fried eggplant.
- Season the milk and the oatmeal very well before breading the eggplants. When the milk and the oatmeal are well-seasoned, it compensates for the short marinating time. Add generous amounts of powdered garlic, salt, paprika, pepper… your choices are endless.
I’ve been having cravings for these eggplants since I left Asunción. Time to run to the store and make some more…
Thanks Tania and the great cooks in Paraguay for their wonderful culinary inspiration always!!!!
I have been meaning to make a recipe for a Rice Pastelón for quite some time… and then the other day, my mom and Mili surprised me with the news they’re making a rice pastelón and they want me to document it for the blog. Sweet!!!
When I was growing up, the mom of a very, very good friend of mine loved to cook rice pastelones, or Arroz Relleno as she would call it. At the time it was rice on the bottom, stewed chicken in the middle and rice on the top, covered of course with cheese. I have debated how I would adapt Lolita’s recipe to make it vegetarian and as reminiscent of that original arroz relleno as possible… that’s where I stayed in the idea/concept stage.
But Mili and Mami did one better… Picture this – imagine layers of rice with layers of eggplant and tomato and cheese in between. Genius, right?? Genius and DELICIOUS… you will make a large mold of this because you WANT to have leftovers. I guarantee it…
EGGPLANT TOMATO RICE PASTELON
3 cups of cooked brown rice
2 large tomatoes, sliced
1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced
1 large onion, chopped large
½ cup of strained tomatoes or tomato sauce or marinara sauce
2 cups of shredded cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Garlic and Herb Seasoning
1 vegetable bouillon cube
First, you need to cook all the components…
- Cook your rice the usual way you know how to cook brown rice. I make it in a rice cooker seasoning it with a little bit of salt, a drizzle of olive oil and a vegetable bouillon cube. I try to smash the cube and mix it in water before turning it on so the water is flavored evenly. After the rice is made, set aside.
- Meanwhile, season the tomato slices with salt and garlic/herb seasoning mixture. Place slices side by side in a baking dish or tray. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the tomatoes. Roast in a 400F oven for about 25-20 minutes. The idea is to concentrate the flavors of the tomato. Take out of the oven and set aside.
- Also, season the eggplant slices with the same salt and garlic/herbs mixture. Place slices side by side in a baking dish or tray. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the eggplant slices. Roast in the same oven where the tomatoes are at 400F for about 25-20 minutes too. Take out of the oven and set aside.
- And while the tomatoes and eggplants are cooking and rice is finishing, sauté the onions in a large skillet. Add a little bit of olive oil to the pan over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. The idea is to soften them by cooking them over medium heat for about 10 minutes, without browning them too much. Set aside.
- Take the strained tomatoes and season them with salt, pepper and garlic and herbs. Add a little drizzle of olive oil to add extra flavor. Set aside. If using marinara sauce, you don’t need to season it then.
Now that everything is basically cooked, we assemble the pastelón as if it were a lasagna…
- Using a 9 x 13 baking dish, place 1/3 of the rice at the bottom of the pan. Flatten as much as possible.
- Add a drizzle of the strained tomato sauce over the rice.
- Add a layer of eggplants and tomatoes using half of the quantity you have available, trying to cover the layer of rice.
- Add some onions on top of eggplant/tomato layer.
- Add a layer of shredded cheese over the onions.
- Repeat with a second layer of rice. Drizzle some tomato sauce. Another layer of eggplant/tomato. Another layer of onions. Another layer of cheese.
- Finish with a last layer of rice. Add any remaining ingredients you might still have. Don’t let anything go to waste. And top with plenty of shredded cheese.
- Bake in the oven covered for 20-25 minutes in a 350F oven for all the flavors to combine. Uncover for the last 10 minutes of cooking to brown the cheese on top.
Just like with lasagna, there are several steps to this pastelón, but none of them are particularly difficult. After it’s assembled all you need to do is bake to melt the cheeses inside and on top. A nice salad on the side and dinner is ready!!!
We were talking recently about my favorite sandwiches… but not all sandwiches need to have bread. Such is the case with these Eggplant Sandwich Stacks. I think they’re more aptly named Eggplant Stacks and done. But Mili at the Yoga Center always calls them Eggplant Sandwiches.
To me an eggplant sandwich is like these ones… eggplant fried or grilled inside two pieces of bread. In this case, the eggplant is the “bread” and the filling is lots’o cheese.
They’re easy to make and are a great way to enjoy eggplants…
EGGPLANT SANDWICH STACKS
2 medium sized eggplants
2 cups of tomato pizza or pasta sauce – I like to use this one I make
1 package of mild cheddar cheese, sliced thinly
½ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
Garlic and herbs Seasoning mix
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
- Cut the eggplants in rounds. Do not peel them as the skin will help retain the shape of the eggplants. If you’re not fond of the skins, you can certainly remove them while you’re eating them. They’ll peel off easily.
- Drizzle the eggplant rounds with olive oil and season with garlic and herbs seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. Place them side by side on several cookie sheets to roast in the oven covered with aluminum foil paper. Let them cook in the oven for about 15 -20 minutes.
- After the eggplant stacks are partially cooked… we stack them. Find pieces that are evenly sized so your stack is even. Or if pieces are not exactly the same size, try for the bottom piece to be larger than the top piece.
- Take one piece of eggplant, spread some tomato/marinara sauce on top, but not too much. Place a few slices of cheddar cheese, top with another piece of eggplant.
- Spread more tomato/marinara sauce and finish with a mound of mozzarella cheese. Repeat until you have stacked all pieces of eggplant into these sandwiches.
- Place again in the oven for about 10-15 additional minutes to finish cooking the eggplants and allowing the cheeses to melt and brown on top.
- Allow them to cool a bit before transferring to a plate to serve.
We had these eggplant sandwiches with a lovely rice made in the oven with spinach, mushrooms and nuts.