Grilled eggplant with roasted heirloom cherry tomatoes [Vegan]

grilled eggplant photo
© Jaymi Heimbuch

Jaymi's Notes:
This is a fantastically simple meal to put together. I don't have an outdoor grill so I used a cast-iron grill set over the stovetop, with the burners on high. It worked really well. Because the recipe is so simple, the quality of the ingredients is important so make sure you get a plump eggplant and the freshest vine-ripened cherry tomatoes. And of course, be sure you have some excellent extra virgin olive oil. You can use regular mozzarella if you aren't vegan, or a vegan substitute if you are. Or you can skip the cheese entirely -- the flavors of the tomato and eggplant are so wonderful that you really don't need cheese unless you enjoy the texture.

I love how colorful, simple and rustic this dish is -- so perfect for a summer's evening!

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Kelly's Recipe:

My daughter and I planted eggplant in our garden this year, remembering our bumper crops of the past two years, but the plants aren't producing this year for some reason. I am reduced to buying my eggplant at the farmers' market. The tomatoes, however, are fantastic and abundant. We have both cherry tomatoes and beefsteak. I've been eating tomatoes in just about every manifestation possible over the past two weeks.

I roasted some cherry tomatoes on the barbeque the other day and added them to an omelette that I made and it occurred to me that it would make a great topping for eggplant slices. I tossed in some grated mozzarella cheese, added a green salad and we had a delicious quick lunch. Some crusty bread would be great to soak up all of the juice from the tomatoes. You can use any kind of cheese that melts well, including brie or camembert. If you want a vegan recipe, just leave out the cheese. I salted the eggplant and let it sit to draw out the moisture, but lots of people skip this step. I had fresh basil on hand, but fresh thyme, or even sage would work.

Grilled Eggplant with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

1 eggplant, sliced into 1/2" slices
Olive oil
Lemon juice
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup vegan mozzarella cheese, grated
Parsley for garnish

1. Heat grill. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with olive oil and place on grill. Grill, turning once until eggplant is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove eggplant and brush lightly with lemon juice. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in a heat proof pan, place cherry tomatoes and add just enough olive oil to coat them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast over the grill until they are just beginning to split and are hot through, about 10 minutes. Add basil and vegan mozzarella cheese and cook until cheese has melted over the tomatoes.

3. Plate the eggplant slices and spoon tomato and cheese mixture over top. Garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.
Grilled eggplant with roasted heirloom cherry tomatoes [Vegan]
A rustic, simple and flavorful meal that celebrates a plentiful summer garden harvest.

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