Do you ever find yourself asking the question “What Would Martha Do?” You know which Martha I’m taking about. Love her or leave her she is an excellent resource who, I must say, I rely on quite a bit. Which leads me to the creation of this dish.
With a new CSA share coming in a few days, it was time to take inventory of what remained from the last share. Even after all the eggplant dishes I’ve made in the last few weeks, can you believe that I still had three on hand? Knowing I’d likely receive more in the upcoming share, I knew I needed to use those up right away. I’d already made curry & ratatouille, & it’s too hot to dare turn on the oven to roast eggplant for baba ganoush. I scoured my cookbooks for other ideas – eggplant & tomato pizza, panko crusted eggplant cutlets, pasta with eggplant caponata caught my attention. But, while all sounded great, they would’ve required a trip to the store, & in my lazy Sunday state I didn’t wanna go. There had to be something simple & easy that I could make with what I had on hand? That’s when I called upon Martha & she delivered. In fact, Martha offered an entire world of eggplant recipes – 46 to be exact! I scrolled through 36 recipes until I got to the magic #37 – “Eggplant Salad with Israeli Couscous & Basil”. Happy dance! This was all the inspiration I needed.
I could use up the eggplant & basil & modify this recipe with what I already had in the kitch. No need to go to the store! In place of Israeli couscous, I substituted Trader Joe’s “Harvest Grains Blend” (a savory blend of Israeli couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo Beans & red quinoa). I always have a package of this in the pantry! I use it all the time, & it is wonderful for picnic or potluck salads with different variations of vegetables & dressings.
As Martha’s recipe called for Israeli couscous, I knew it would be perfect here. I was fresh out of shallots, but did have a small red onion, which I quartered & sliced thinly. I also had a small bag of pine nuts that I thought would add some extra flavor & crunch.
- ½ package Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains blend
- coarse sea salt & ground pepper
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 small Japanese eggplants, cut into ½-inch chunks
- 1 small red onion, quartered & sliced crosswise
- 3 tsp red-wine vinegar
- ⅓ cup lightly packed fresh basil, torn
- 2 Tbsp pine nuts
- In a small saucepan, combine harvest grains, 1 3/4 cups water, & 1 Tbsp. vegan butter. Bring to a boil, stir & reduce to a simmer. Cover & cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid, heat oil over medium-high. Add eggplant & onions & stir to coat; season with sea salt & pepper. Cover & cook, stirring frequently, until onions are caramelized & eggplant is cooked through, about 8 minutes.
- In a serving bowl, combine eggplant mixture & harvest grains. Stir in vinegar, basil & pine nuts. Season salad with sea salt & pepper.
I cannot say enough about how much I enjoyed this salad. It was perfect! Hearty, healthy, & full of fresh summer flavors yet, light & simple & such a breeze to prepare. This is certainly going to be filed in my summer potluck salad recipe collection.