Friday Foodgasm: Menage a Eggplant

by Rachel on April 9, 2010

I think I speak for everyone when I say TGIF, right?! I thought I’d start the weekend off with a little gratuitous food porn.

Bow chicka wow wow.

So lately I’ve been breaking my food rut by eating more sandwiches. A couple weeks ago I got a craving for a panini, and rather than empty my wallet and raise my blood pressure at Panera Bread, I decided to make my own. This proved to be a good decision.


Once you invest in a loaf of sourdough and some good cheese, you find yourself getting creative. (Because otherwise you’ll be back in the food rut you set out to break.) So I decided to have a little threesome: two big slices of bread tag teaming one little eggplant.

It made perfect sense. I’ve been getting all these big hearty vegetables from my Door to Door Organics deliveries. Suddenly, I have eggplant, squash, fennel, and beets just begging to be used. I need to eat them, but sometimes I want more than just a protein + a grain + a typical vegetable side dish. Plus I never make them for lunch because I don’t ever take the time to preheat the oven and then wait 40 minutes while they cook, so this was also a missed opportunity. I was getting annoyed at myself.

In an effort to solve this problem, one night I was on a cooking bender and decided that since the oven was already on, I’d pre-roast some veggies and see where it took me.

Well, it took me to heaven, that’s where it took me.

I sliced the eggplant, salted it, let it sit, and then tossed it with olive oil and herbs de Provence. I put everything in a 400 degree oven for about 35 minutes. Herbs de Provence is one of my favorite things in the world — sprinkling this blend on roasted veggies makes pretty much anything taste good, not to mention it makes your house smell incredible.

roasted eggplant

Once the eggplant slices were cool, I wrapped them in foil and put them in the fridge.

The next day at lunchtime, I made my first eggplant sandwich experiment: sourdough bread topped with marinara, mozzarella, fresh basil and oregano, onion, peppers, and the eggplant!

eggplant panini

This was so good. It was all melty and cheesy and pizza-esque from the herbs and sauce…but then there was just this unexpected burst of flavor from the eggplant. I was pretty impressed with myself. I had no idea cold eggplant could be so good!

A few days later, I wanted a healthy veggie sandwich and I wanted to use my avocado. And I also happened to have a little nectar of the gods: SABRA HUMMUS. Sabra is so, so good…like, I want to motorboat it. So I built a sandwich on whole wheat toast with lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado, Sabra…and then I thought…could I add the eggplant? Does that work? I decided to risk it.


The risk paid off. What could have been a good sandwich was suddenly a great sandwich. Like the mozzarella panini, I was just going about my business, chewing along, and then it was like HELLO! It was like accidentally getting off from your banana seat.

So if you are a sandwich or a wrap person — or this makes you kinda want to become one — this is a great way to sneak in a dose of nutrition and flavor from a seasonal veggie you may not be eating. The heavier texture of roasted veggies is nice if you’re not a meat eater, but you can definitely layer the veggies with other proteins as well.

I had no idea cold roasted eggplant could be so good, but I think the herbs de Provence have something to do with it!  But now that I’ve hit it with the eggplant, I’ll be quitting it and moving right along to the other veggies I’ve got on hand. You know how we do.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 erin @ April 9, 2010 at 8:52 am

i did a wrap yesterday — with lettuce, sauteed vegetables – red peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini, and tomatoes and topped it with my homemade guac. It was divine! seriously i have to get back into that this spring/summer… those veggie sandwiches are to die for!

oh and i salted eggplant and let it sit for the first time ever on sunday – man that changed the wholeeeeee flavor of eggplant. I liked it before, but i really like it now!


2 Rachel April 9, 2010 at 8:54 am

Erin — Thanks for the reminder to add zucchini in the mix! I have two zucchinis here that I kinda forgot about!


3 Teri [a foodie stays fit] April 9, 2010 at 10:28 am

I hate you and this post right now. I’m so hungry and this looks AMAZING.


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