I call this “Still Life with Roasted Eggplant.” A pan of summer veggies, coated in olive oil and ready for roasting, truly is a thing of beauty. For this Eggplant Puree, we roast everything together to create a puree served on top of pasta, bruschetta, polenta, spaghetti, or just eaten with a spoon as a side dish. This dish is naturally vegetarian, so it fits perfectly in any plant-based diet. Because eggplant is so hearty, it substitutes for meat in many Italian dishes.
Here we are in mid-August when the eggplants, onions, and fresh herbs are in abundance. In my eggplant parmigiana post, I talk about how much my mother hated eggplants. I get it. Many folks find them a bit challenging at best. My mother’s extreme hatred of said veggie had a direct effect on my obsession with eggplant. This fact most likely led to my curiosity about all the myriad uses in Italy.
Want more Italian cooking? How about taking one of my virtual cooking classes? I focus on naturally vegetarian Italian dishes – either small group or private. For more detailed info on upcoming classes, click here!
Eggplant Purée on Bruschetta
- 1 large globe eggplant (about a pound), cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 medium red onion, cut into wedges
- 2 large bell peppers, green, red, orange or any combination, cut into strips
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp. olive oil + a drizzle for garnish
- 1 tbsp. pine nuts
- 1 bunch mint leaes, torn
- salt to taste
- 1 baguette, sliced and toasted
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Put eggplant, onion, peppers, and garlic in a large bowl and stir in 3 tbsp olive oil. Add a pinch of salt. Stir well to coat all the vegetables and then spread it all across a large baking pan.
- Roast for 35 minutes until everything is soft but not mushy. Stir once or twice while cooking Remove from oven and cool.
- Spoon everything into a food processor and pulse a few times to blend. More blending will make a smooth puree; less blending with result in a chunky consistency. (Can use a stand blender or hand blender.)
- Serve on toasted baguette slices. Garnish with pine nuts, mint leaves, and a glug of olive oil.