Thursday, 27 October 2011

Roasted eggplant, zucchini, winter squash and chickpeas

This is not so much a recipe as it is an idea. An idea of what to do with the winter vegetables that will be abundant this fall. I'm sure it has been done before but for me, it is a first. I usually yawn at a recipe that consists entirely of roasted vegetables, considering it a side dish, not a meal. It never occurred to me to mix them with beans to make a hearty salad.

How I ended up making this goes something like this: I was making a soup from Martha Stewart's website. The recipe calls for roasting a variety of ingredients - tomatoes, garlic, carrots, eggplant and chickpeas. Everything but the chickpeas and eggplant are pureed after roasting and then it is all mixed together.

The chickpeas and eggplant are tossed in olive oil with curry powder and salt. I also mixed in anise seeds and chili powder for a tad more flavour. After about 30 minutes the chickpeas came out somewhat crunchy, the seasonings made the eggplant and chickpeas taste really yummy. I didnt roast enough tomatoes to accommodate all of the eggplant and the chickpeas in the soup so I had a couple cups left over.

Looking in the fridge I realized I had 3 different squashes cut open in the fridge and they either needed to get used or tossed. So I roasted them in the same seasonings as the eggplant, tossed in more chickpeas, and afterward, combined this with the leftover eggplant from the soup dish. To finish it off I stirred in some lemon juice and cilantro and ended up with some sort of warm roasted vegetable and chickpea salad. I know that before I fall asleep I will be thinking about all of the variations on this recipe I can make. My next grocery store visit I will be sure to seek out different root vegetables, squashes, beets, maybe white beans and definitely this would be good tossed with some arugula or spinach.

Roasted eggplant, zucchini, winter squash and chickpeas
I just wanted to suggest an idea for roasting vegetables and tossing with chickpeas as a really simple but comforting and warm salad. I did not record my ingredient amounts but I think you can use as much or as little of whatever you like. Try using different root vegetables if you have them on hand and toss with arugula or spinach if you have some. However, only a small sprinkle of anise is needed, the taste of this spice comes out even if just a few grains are used. To roast eggplant it is best to be generous with the olive oil, otherwise it will end up dry as opposed to soft and moist, the way i love it.

Winter squash, chopped in 1/2 inch cubes
Yellow or green zucchini,  chopped in 1/2 inch cubes
Eggplant, chipped in 3/4 inch cubes
Curry powder
Chili powder
Anise seeds
Sea salt
Brown sugar
Cooked or canned chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
Fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 - Preheat oven to 400F and place oven rack near bottom of oven.
2 - First, toss eggplant and winter squash with olive oil, curry powder, anise, chili powder and sea salt. Spread out on baking sheet and bake about 15 minutes.
3 - In the meantime stir zucchini and chickpeas with the same seasonings and oil and add to roasting vegetables. Roast everything an additional 15 - 20 minutes or until chickpeas are slightly crispy and eggplant is  nicely browned. Toss or stir vegetables halfway through cooking.
4 - Let everything cool. Toss in a bowl, sprinkle with brown sugar, lemon juice and cilantro. Mix well and season additionally to taste.

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