Zel's Vegan NutGourmet

Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health

Posts Tagged ‘Mediterranean recipe’

WALNUT STUFFED EGGPLANT RECEIVES APPLAUSE!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on May 5, 2014

How nice it is to be able to serve a vegan entrée that makes people say WOW! That wonderful compliment came my way very recently at a luncheon attended by 80 non-vegetarians.

The luncheon was held at a very large hotel and conference center. When offered the entrée choices of Rosemary Sage Chicken with Piccata Sauce, Roast Salmon with Red Wine Sauce, or Vegan Walnut Stuffed Eggplant, 21 of the 80 people attending chose the eggplant dish–one of my very favorite recipes from The Nut Gourmet, my cookbook that was published in 2006 and is still in print. Especially rewarding was the lively applause when the chairwoman announced the entrée was my recipe.

I really wanted to thank the chef for accepting my recipe and preparing the eggplant entrée. I asked if was possible to speak to the chef. It seemed rather unusual for the chef at large hotel to even be willing to prepare a recipe from a patron. Within a few minutes, the chef came out with a smile. Desi Szonntagh is the executive chef at the hotel. After we chatted a bit, he said he really liked the recipe and felt it was a good idea to introduce his kitchen staff to something unique. He also appreciated the opportunity to experience something vegan that was not just pasta with vegetables.

If you have family members who really love eggplant, and you serve this delicious entrée, better get ready to receive a few WOWs of appreciation. I have no doubt you’ll agree this is one very killer delicious dish!

This recipe is a hearty Mediterranean dish with Greek ancestry and is pure heaven to walnut and eggplant lovers. Its exceptional flavor comes from the combination of cinnamon, tomato paste, and capers. Because the stuffed eggplant is so special, I keep the rest of the meal simple with stir-fried or steamed vegetables, bulgur wheat in place of a rice dish, and a tossed salad.

 

walnut stuffed eggplant

 

WALNUT STUFFED EGGPLANT

 

Yield: 4 hearty servings.

 

2 (1-pound) eggplants

Extra virgin olive oil

 

1/2 pound tomatoes, chopped

1/4 pound cremini or button mushrooms, sliced

1 cup chopped onions

4 large cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Freshly ground black pepper

 

1 cup raw walnuts, divided

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

3 heaping tablespoons capers, well drained

 

2 to 3 small ripe tomatoes, sliced

Salt

  1. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, slicing through the stem end. Using a curved, serrated grapefruit knife, scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch shell, and coarsely chop the flesh. Put the chopped eggplant into a large, deep skillet or flat-bottom wok.
  2. Rub the inside of the eggplant shells with a small amount of olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Place the eggplant shells under the broiler, and broil them 3 inches from the heat source for 5 to 10 minutes, until fork-tender. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Remove the eggplant shells from the broiler and set them aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Add the chopped tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, olive oil, salt, cinnamon, and pepper to the skillet with the chopped eggplant, and cook and stir for 7 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Coarsely grind the walnuts in a hand-crank nut mill and add 2/3 cup to the skillet along with the tomato paste and capers. Mix well.
  5. Fill the eggplant shells with the vegetable mixture and sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/3 cup coarsely ground walnuts. Top with the tomato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake uncovered for 25 to 35 minutes.

 

 

 

Posted in Main Dishes, Nut Recipes, Recipes, walnuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

WALNUTS TAKE A MEDITERRANEAN TOUR

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on April 8, 2009

My husband and I were going to a potluck gathering for a small crowd, and I was asked to bring the appetizer. I had just bought a 2-pound bag of shelled walnuts and decided they were going to become the focus of my contribution.

Then I poked my head into the refrigerator to see what I had on hand and discovered the button mushrooms and the tomatoes I had bought just two days ago. The were still quite fresh and plump looking, so they, too, were included in what turned out to be a delicious starter that came together very quickly.

I always keep Spanish olives on hand because they compliment so many dishes that need a little touch of something pungent.

The end result is that I was able to capture the flavors of southern Italy and northern Spain in one tasty, no-cook appetizer that instantly beckoned with its good looks.

These special mushrooms are best eaten the same day they are prepared.
walnutmushroom
WALNUTTY MEDITERRANEAN MUSHROOMS

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

12 to 16 large button mushrooms, about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter

Stuffing
2 slices whole wheat bread

1 medium tomato, de-seeded and diced
1/2 cup walnuts coarsely ground in a nut mill
1/3 cup diced sweet onions
1/4 cup minced Spanish olives
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt

Garnish
1 or 2 leaves green leaf lettuce
1 or 2 sprigs parsley or cilantro

1. Wash the mushrooms and pat them dry with paper towels. Apply gentle pressure with your thumb to remove the stems. Set them aside for a future recipe.
2. Break the bread into small pieces and put them into a medium bowl. Moisten the bread by pouring warm water to cover over the pieces. Then drain thoroughly and squeeze the bread dry.
3. Add the diced tomato, walnuts, onions, Spanish olives, vinegar, garlic, and salt to the moistened bread and mix well. Stuff generous portions of the bread mixture into the mushroom cavities.
4. To serve, line a serving dish with lettuce leaves, arrange the mushrooms on top, garnish each with a tiny sprig of parsley, and enjoy a nutty good starter.

Posted in Nut Recipes, walnuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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