Curried Eggplant with Garbanzo Beans and Spinach

I absolutely freakin’ love Indian food. Unfortunately, I have not had a great amount of success in replicating the deliciousness found at my favorite Indian food restaurant. ….until this recipe. This dish is simply omg-yum-drool-amazing and even better, it’s the easiest thing ever! Inspired, I knocked out a quick batch of naan. Don’t let the yeast intimidate you. Making naan is only slightly more work than this recipe, which is to say, easy-peasy! Serve with plain yogurt and cilantro for a bright and clean contrast (a common theme in Indian food).

Curried Eggplant with Garbanzos and Spinach

3 large cloves, minced
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
1/4 cup EVOO

1 medium eggplant, cut into about 1″ chunks
1 medium onion, cut into 1″ wedges
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1″ chunks
2 red jalapenos, cleaned out and minced
One 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
1/4 cup peeled and finely julienned fresh ginger
One 5-ounce bag baby spinach, rinsed
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (optional)

Warm naan and plain yogurt (or soy for a vegan option) to serve.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut up the eggplant and place into a medium bowl. Sprinkle the eggplant with salt being sure to mix the bowl so all the pieces have some salt on their surfaces. Salting the eggplant will remove any potential bitter compounds in the eggplant. This is particularly true with large or less fresh eggplants. Because I am never sure of the age of eggplants from the store, I routinely salt every eggplant I cook. For this recipe, the eggplant came out of my garden, but I still salted it.. Let the eggplant sit for at least 30 minutes before rinsing in a colander under plenty of fresh water. Set aside while prepping the remaining ingredients and/or making the naan.

On your cutting board, mince the garlic and add about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Using the back of a fork, mash the salt into the garlic until it forms a paste. In a small bowl place the EVOO, the garlic paste and the 2 teaspoons of Madras curry powder and stir to combine.

Dump the eggplant, onions, jalapenos, zucchini, and the drained garbanzo beans into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Pour the EVOO-spice mixture over the top of the veggies. Using your (clean) hands, gently turn the veggies until all pieces are covered in the EVOO-spice mixture. Place into the hot oven. Cook for 30 to 45 minutes stirring the veggies with a large spoon every 15 minutes. Tip: Set a timer to remind you as it is too easy to get busy and forget!

When the veggies are tender but still holding their shape, add in the washed spinach and return to the oven for 3 minutes. The spinach will just be just wilted but still a vibrant green. Pull out and gently stir to combine. Serve immediately.

Note: You can use ANY veggies you prefer in this dish and it’s going to be awesome. Some ideas are sweet potato, squash, or green beans. For more dense veggies, you can expect the cooking times to increase.

Nutrition facts: The grain in the naan combined with the legumes combine to make a complete protein. If you don’t have any naan at your house and are not in the mood to make bread, serve it over rice, kasha, couscous, or quinoa to make a complete protein. I’ll post the naan recipe in the next post. If you’re feeling even slightly ambitious, you will flip over the aroma of fresh bread coming out of your kitchen!


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