With this post I bring you two recipes, one of them so simple that it’s hard to call it a recipe. However, both were so delicious that made the main dish (you know, for us carnivores the meaty component) seem like a mere supporting actor in the play. I warn you, though, my pictures of the eggplant concoction did not turn out particularly great, but if you go pass its looks and make it, you’ll fall in love with it. The recipe was on Foodbod, hosted by Elaine, aka The Vegetarian Goddess. She always comes up with amazingly creative recipes for veggies, and this one also features a nice story behind it. You should stop by her site to read all about it. A fainting priest is involved. How about THAT for adding spice to a recipe? As to the other side dish,  it was a humble spiralized butternut squash. Oh. Em. Gee. I wish I had doubled tripled the amount because Phil and I ended up fighting for the last strand, and well, I won. I like to think it was due to my relentless tropical charm. But perhaps the hissy fit spoke louder.


(slightly modified from Foodbod)

1 medium/large eggplant
1 medium shallot, peeled and sliced
1 rib celery, diced
1 can diced tomatoes with their juices
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
Olive oil, with abandon…

Heat your oven to 400 C.

You can leave the hat on the eggplant if it will fit in your pan. Cut a slit down one side of the eggplant, don’t cut all the way through, and don’t cut all the way to either end.  Open the eggplant and using a teaspoon scrape out some of the flesh and chop it up.  Keep the whole eggplant to one side.

In a pan over a medium heat, heat a good glug of olive oil then add the shallot and celery and start to soften. Add the chopped eggplant and cook for a few minutes.  Add the spices and salt and cook for a minute. Add the tomatoes and cook it all down to a lovely sauce.  Stir in the lemon juice and take it off the heat.

Place your eggplant in an oven proof dish, slit side up. Open it as much as possible and spoon the lovely sauce into the eggplant as much as you can then spoon the rest over and around it.

Drizzle with copious amounts of olive oil.

Cover and bake for 45-60 minutes.


to print the recipe, click here



Comments: When I read all the praise that Elaine gave to the eggplant recipe, which in her side of the planet goes by as “aubergine” (so much cuter it’s not even funny), I was intrigued, but to be completely honest I didn’t think it was possible for something that simple to be so amazing. Sometimes I love to be proven wrong. The tomatoes and spices interact with the flesh of the eggplant turning it into something with incredible depth of flavor. You’ll have to make it to believe me. This basic method can be adapted to other spices and herbs, what matters here is to allow the slow roasting to take place, don’t rush it.  I can visualize the eggplant turned into a pasta sauce, or even a flavorful addition to a risotto. It would be great as a spread on sourdough bread even. One dish, endless possibilities.

Now, let’s focus on the spiralized butternut squash – just use the neck of the squash for this preparation. Peel it (I know, I hate it too), and grab your favorite spiral cutter to make the strands. Then, coat them lightly with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees F (about 200 Celsius).  You can move the strands around after 10 minutes or so.  Make more than you think you need, even if you are serving it to folks with squash issues. And watch their issues turn into craving…

Elaine, thanks for another gem of a recipe!
I wish my photos turned out better, but taste comes first, right?


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  1. Oh, the priest has fainted in various coloured cassocks [apologies, it IS Easter Monday here!] in my kitchen for decades but spiralizers are fairly new in my world and zucchini is still one of the first vegetables for which I reach – just HAVE to try the harder vegetables: this sounds and looks as delicious as you say . . . admittedly I have no eager guy with which to ‘compete’ over the last strands , , , , but !!!


    • Veggies can bring so much flavor when cooked right – my poor Mom used to cook green beans to death, and until I was in my mid twenties I had no idea how great they could be, when “respected” 😉


  2. Butternut squash is rapidly becoming my favorite veggie to spiralize — with sweet potatoes a close second. Unlike, zucchini, the “noodles” remain firm when cooked and bring a great flavor to whatever dish they’re used in. I’m not familiar with Imam Biyaldi but any eggplant recipe will get my attention. Ones with an ingredient of “Olive oil, with abandon” will get prepared. Thanks, Sally.


  3. Haven’t gotten around to then eggplant yet but I needed a reason to get that spiralizer out of the box. OMG! That big pile of butternut squash noodles had SO saying who is going to eat all that. At dinner she was saying — is that all there is? We’re having it again next week. I might run a rutabegga or potato through the thing along with the squash. My parrot has a slice of butternut squash and some of the raw seeds in his breakfast bowl in the morning so we often have a squash neck to use. I had been making a mash or puree and either eating it or freezing it. Probably won’t be doing that anymore!


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