I’ll let you in on a little secret – grilled eggplant is fantastic! Eggplant is a much-maligned vegetable; many people dislike it, but this largely due to not knowing what to do with this versatile and nutritious vegetable. It takes well to a variety of cooking methods and flavors, from smoky baba ganoush to stuffed eggplant and eggplant Parmesan.
It is also wonderful grilled, as you will see when you try this recipe, which marries eggplant to hearty wild rice and peppery lentils. This grilled eggplant recipe makes a great light lunch or dinner ideal for anytime from spring through fall (though you can make it in the winter as well; we won’t tell). Regardless of the season, this is sure to become one of your favorite grilled eggplant recipes.
So, what do you need to make this tasty recipe then? First you are going to need a nice ripe eggplant which you can cut into rounds. If you dislike the slightly bitter flavor eggplant can offer, there is a trick to removing it. Now, not everybody notices the bitter flavor or even minds it, but if you do, just sprinkle the eggplant rounds with salt and let them stand for half an hour. You will notice the salt draws liquid out of them, and this liquid is the bitter flavor. Rinse them off, and ensure you rinse them well, then you will no longer notice that taste that used to bother you about this vegetable. As well as the eggplant you need two kinds of rice, as well as some brown or puy lentils. Those are the main ingredients in this dish. To add subtle accents of flavor, you will need garlic and onions as well as a pinch of thyme, and of course some salt and black pepper.
The rice and lentils cook in different pots because they have different cooking times. The onion and garlic, which is optional but recommended, can be added to the pot with the lentils in, if you wish, because the flavors will combine so nicely. Thyme, garlic, salt and pepper goes on to the eggplant rounds before they go on the barbeque. Get the cooking times right and then serve the rice, lentils and eggplant slices together, and enjoy how the different flavors and textures combine with one another.
Not only is this a tasty recipe but it is also a healthy one, because the eggplant and lentils offer plenty in the way of nutrition, while the rice is a good source of carbohydrates, for energy. This dish will make you think twice about eggplant, and if it is a vegetable you usually overlook in favor of broccoli, carrots or more commonly used ones. Once you know how good the flavors are, you will definitely want to make this dish, or another variation, again and again. Simply add some vegetables as a side dish and you have a complete meal. Vegetables, snow peas, cabbage or bell pepper strips are just some of your options, but just pick out the ones you prefer.
- 1 medium sized eggplant, sliced into ½" thick rounds
- ½ cup wild rice
- ½ cup brown rice
- ½ cup brown or puy lentils
- Olive oil for brushing
- Garlic and onions, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- A pinch of thyme (dried)
- Start by bringing 4 cups of water to a boil and adding your wild rice (it takes a little longer to cook than brown rice; about 40 minutes compared to 30 for brown rice). Lower the heat slightly to a low boil and start bringing 1 ½ cups water to a boil for the lentils. Once this water is boiling, add the lentils and reduce to a simmer. Next, add your brown rice to the first pot, reduce to a simmer and cover. You will want to add a pinch of salt to each pot.
- Now is the time to start your grill - by the time the rice and lentils are cooked, it will be ready for your eggplant. Wash the eggplant and slice into ½ inch thick rounds. Set aside on a plate. If desired, dice a small onion, mince a clove of garlic, and add to the pot containing the lentils; this will give them a lovely mild garlic and onion flavor.
- Brush your eggplant slices with olive oil and sprinkle with thyme, minced or crushed garlic, black pepper and if desired, a few grains of salt. Your rice and lentils will be near done by now, so keep an eye on both. Once they are done, grill the eggplant, about five minutes per side - turning only once. Serve eggplant slices over rice and top with a spoonful of lentils; this is wonderful with a glass of Pinot Noir or Tempranillo.
The combination of eggplant, rice and lentils makes for a lovely side dish recipe. The eggplant and wild rice combine well with the lentils to make a very hearty and filling vegetable dish. If you add some other veggies to the recipe this makes a satisfying main dish. The ingredients might be rather different from the ones you usually use to make dinner, but give this recipe a go and you will love the flavors, and perhaps want to add this dish to your regular meal rotation. This is a great idea for the barbeque if you want to offer something different for your family’s dinner tonight.
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