Sweet and spicy grilled eggplant over rice [Vegan]

sweet and spicy grilled eggplant over rice phpoto
© Jaymi Heimbuch

Jaymi's Notes:
Eggplant is a wonderful vegetable to use for grilling because it soaks up the flavors of a marinade like nobody's business. If you have a great marinade you want to really show off, eggplant is an ideal platform. And that's just what this recipe does -- a wonderfully sweet and spicy sauce, with just a bit of smokiness from paprika and cumin, is grilled into the eggplant. Served over steamed rice, this is an incredibly simple and oh-so-delicious meal.

Folks differ on whether or not the chewiness of the skin is acceptable. Personally I don't mind it but others in the house disagree. If you want a soft texture all around on the eggplant, cut off the skin after grilling the slices, and cube just the "meat" of the eggplant.

This would also be excellent topped with some cubed pineapple. And for the vegan version of this dish, substitute agave nectar for the honey.

More on The Cooking Project.

Kelly's Recipe:

We've been eating an awful lot of asparagus over the past couple of weeks, and my husband has declared himself officially tired of it. So when he went off to the grocery store the other day, my sole instruction was to buy vegetables, leaving it up to him to choose what he would like to eat. He came home with eggplant, saying he had a craving for it grilled.

This recipe is adapted from The Kitchn, from a recipe that is actually for a salad using eggplant, with smoked almonds and goat cheese. I just adapted it a bit, well really just left stuff out and served it over Chinese noodles. The eggplant soaks up all of the marinade and makes for a wonderfully flavourful dish. If you wanted to serve this as a main course, you could add some tofu to the marinade for an hour or two before putting in the eggplant.

I cut the recipe in half because it was just for the two of us, but if you have four people go ahead and make the whole thing.

Grilled Marinated Eggplant

2 large eggplants, about 2 pounds
Kosher salt
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lemon, about 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon soy sauce1. Heat the grill. Slice the eggplant into lengths and put in a large bowl. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and set aside while making the marinade.2. Whisk together the olive oil, cider vinegar, honey, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and cumin. Dab away any extra water that has beaded up on the eggplant and toss with the marinade. Stir in the garlic. Place the eggplant onto the grill and cook for 10-15 minutes until very tender and slightly browned. Or roast in a 400F oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the grill and cool slightly, then cut into cubes.3. Whisk together the lemon juice and soy sauce in the same bowl that held the marinade. Return the eggplant to the bowl and toss with the lemon juice mixture.
Sweet and spicy grilled eggplant over rice [Vegan]
The eggplant soaks up all of the marinade, which means lots of sweet, smokey, and spicy flavor in every single bite.

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