Eating healthy from an outside perspective can look like quite the challenge. People often compare eating healthy to eating rabbit food, or eating like a bird. Let me tell you, when I make healthy food, it sure as hell doesn't taste like anything I've ever seen at a pet store! The trick to eating healthy is to heighten the flavour of your food with healthy ingredients such as fresh herbs, vinaigrettes, cheeses and nuts. I know that many people think of cheese and nuts as as a big "no" when it comes to eating healthy, but it's important to think of eating those types of food in moderation and not to deprive yourself of ingredients such as those that can actually benefit your health. There is no doubt that cheese is an excellent source of calcium, and nuts are a great source of protein and are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and polyunsaturated fats (also known as "good fats").
This dish is perfect for someone who is looking to make healthy choices in their diet, but don't want to surrender any flavour in the process. The tender eggplant acts as a sponge, soaking up the sweet and zesty flavours of the dressing, with a creamy dollop of goat cheese to add texture and a great tart flavour. The dish is dressed up with bright and flavourful fresh herbs, and crunchy nutty pine nuts. Mixed greens turn the eggplant into a substantial dish making it the perfect lunch or light dinner.
Roasted Eggplant & Salad
2 mini Italian eggplants
1/4 cup goat cheese
1/2 tbsp thyme, chopped
1/2 tbsp chives, chopped
handful of toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper
Maple Balsamic Dressing
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp grainy mustard
pepper to season
1. Cut eggplant into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices. Lay slices out in one layer on a piece of paper towel and sprinkle both sides of eggplant generously with salt. Let eggplants sit for 20-30 minutes to allow the bitter juices to release. After the juices have released, carefully rinse slices in cold water and towel dry.
2. Lay eggplant slices on a cookie sheet and brush with olive oil. Bake in a 350º oven for 20 minutes or until slices are tender.
3. While eggplant is baking, whisk together all ingredients for the Maple Balsamic dressing and season with pepper. Remove tender eggplant from oven and brush dressing onto the slices.
4. Place a dollop of goat cheese on each eggplant slice and sprinkle with chopped thyme and chives.
5. Toss mixed greens with remaining maple balsamic dressing reserving about 2 tbsp to set aside. Plate mixed greens with eggplant and goat cheese slices on top and drizzle with the 2 tbsp of remaining dressing and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper.