My first trip back to the grocery store in LA yielded exciting things. I got this big jar of "Eggplant 'Caviar' Spread" from Bulgaria. Now, I've had an eggplant spread or two in my day, and the ingredients here looked like nothing surprising:
Nothing but eggplant, carrots, comato concentrate, oil, onion, sugar, salt, and parsley. Not even the tricky "spices" or "natural flavors."
But somehow these simple ingredients managed to taste freakily like spaghetti-o's, except in a healthy way. How do they do this? I'm totally mystified. I'm sure it's not the eggplant.
Ohhh. And I just googled the ingredients (ew) and am more mystified than ever. The only shared ingredient is tomato concentrate.
Anyway, first I thought I'd make sandwiches out of this stuff. I don't really eat a lot of sandwiches, but staying with John and Celeste last week got me thinking more about sandwiches. I also decided that maybe Vegenaise (only ingredients: Canola Oil, Filtered Water, Apple Cider Vinegar, Brown Rice Syrup, Soy Protein, Sea Salt, Lemon Juice, and Mustard Flour) isn't really as creepy as I'd thought. John and Celeste are devotees of Vegenaise.
So, Exhibit A: Really good sandwich on sprouted rye bread with vegenaise, avocado, sprouts, raw mustard greens, and eggplant spread. I forgot to take a photo.
Exhibit B? I thought I'd play up the spaghetti-o's factor by using it as a sauce rather than as a spread. This was really good, as well as pretty easy and a balanced meal. Did you know that whole wheat pasta has more protein and more fiber than brown rice?
Garlicky Eggplant Pasta with Tofu and Kale
2-3 servings whole wheat rotelle pasta (or similar)
1 bunch kale, destemmed and chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, pressed
1 block tofu, pressed and cut into bite-sized pieces
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 jar eggplant spread (pasta sauce would work, too)
Instructions1. Cook pasta according to directions in lots of water. When 2-3 minutes remain on the pasta, throw in kale as well. Finish cooking, then drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add garlic and cook a few minutes, then add tofu and fry, stirring not too frequently, until sides are golden and slightly crispy. It's okay if pieces stick to the bottom.
3. Add a small splash of tamari, stir, then reduce heat to low. Add pasta, kale, and lemon juice to skillet; mix well. Then stir in eggplant spread a bit at a time, to desired sauciness. Serve warm. Serves about 3.