08 Sep Eggplant tower with pumpkin seed pesto and arugula
At this time of the year, in my vegetable baskets (from Les Fermes Tournesol), I receive a lot of eggplant, squash, and tomatoes. Therefore I have to be creative in order to use all of these beautiful vegetables. Here is a simple and pretty classic eggplant tower but to add a bit of a twist, I layer it with pumpkin seed pesto and arugula leaves and to get even more crunch, I top it off with roasted almond slices. This salad fills me up as is and is perfect for a simple lunch but if you want to make it even more satisfying and complete, you could add minced beef, shredded chicken or tuna or minced tofu between the slices of eggplant. The pesto in this recipe is very flavorful therefore these protein adders could be mixed into the pesto without being marinated or even seasoned.
Ingredients (serves 2)
For the Pesto:
- 1 large bunch of cilantro, chopped
- 2 branches of mint, leaves only, chopped
- 1 small handful of parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp. of roasted pumpkin seeds
- 1 tsp of capers, drained
- Juice from 1 small lemon
- ¼ cup of good extra virgin olive oil
For the salad:
- 1 large eggplant sliced, ¼” round slices
- 1 ½ tbsp. olive oil for roasting
- 3 cups of arugula leaves, washed
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp. sliced almonds, roasted
- Salt and pepper to taste
- On a baking sheet, arrange slices of eggplant, side by side.
- Drizzle with olive oil and massage with your hands so that all eggplant slices get a bit of oil for roasting (the eggplant will absorb the oil pretty quickly so you might feel the oil is distributed unevenly but don’t worry, it will come out nice).
- Roast in a 400 degree F oven for about 20 minutes or until the eggplant is golden but not so mushy that the slices are breaking apart (It is a good idea to turn the slices halfway through roasting).
- In the meanwhile, place the chopped herbs, pumpkin seeds, capers and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse a few times for everything to get chopped up in small bits.
- While the food processor is running, add the oil in a steady stream so that the mix becomes creamy.
- Taste and adjust with salt, pepper or more lemon juice. In a separate bowl, mix arugula leaves with oil and apple cider vinegar.
- To assemble the towers, place the largest slice of eggplant in the middle of a plate. Spoon a little bit of pesto onto the eggplant and top with a small handful of arugula leaves. Place another slice of eggplant and repeat the process until half the eggplant has been used and as long as the tower holds up.
- Finish with some arugula leaves and top off with sliced almonds.
- Repeat the same process in another plate with the second half of the eggplant.
Voilà! This can also be served as an appetizer to a fancy dinner party!