Roasted Eggplant Gyro With Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

There are many health benefits in an eggplant. I’ve listed two very important facts about the relatively obscure eggplant. People in the line at the grocery store often ask me – “What do you do with an eggplant?”

Know for it’s glossy, aubergine exterior, this vegetable grows a lot like tomatoes, 
hanging from the vines of a plant that grows several feet in height. It’s skin creates a slightly bitter flavor, but this meaty vegetable is nothing short of delicious cooked. The bitterness comes from it’s skin, which can be removed if desired, even for this recipe. Further, eggplant is sometimes prepped with either slicing or cutting into cubes and sprinkling with salt to remove water. Simply sprinkle with salt and place in colander to drain for 10 minutes. Rinse and dry the eggplant slices or cubes. Look for firm (but it’s spongy inside so it will give a little to pressure – that’s good) glossy eggplants without any deep gashes. Look for a medium eggplant like in the picture below. Some people prefer baby eggplant, but it is harder to find.

I’ve noted a couple of health benefits of eggplant below, but there are many more and it’s absolutely delicous cooked in many ways. You may have had Eggplant Parmigiana – a typically sliced and fried eggplant, topped with marina sauce and cheese. (I have a heart healthier version to come)!

Here is a recipe I go back to time and time again. Some I’ve shared this recipe with enjoy any leftover sauce with chips. Note: the garlic gets intense in this sauce so adapt to your taste.

Goodness of the Eggplant

  1. Lowers ‘Bad’ Cholesterol Baking eggplant at 400 degrees can bring out both the flavorful and nutritional side of this violet garden egg. It has the power to reduce the amount of ‘bad’ cholesterol in your body. However, frying it instead won’t have hardly any advantages, since it will soak up fat from the cooking oil.
  2. Improves Brain Function Phytonutrients within an aubergine have been known to increase cognitive ability and benefit overall mental health. By fighting off free radicals, these substances protect the brain against disease and toxins, and also promote blood flow throughout the brain. More blood flow transports higher amounts of oxygen to your noggin, which enhances memory and analytic thought.

Amazing benefits, huh? Here goes my go-to Roasted Eggplant Gyro With Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees

Tools:

Baking pan

Aluminum Foil

Two shallow bowls

One small bowl or ramekin 

Pastry brush (for spreading and drizzling Olive Oil)

Spatula or Spoon for sauce

Ingredients for Roasted Eggplant:

1 medium eggplant or 3 baby eggplants

Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Breadcrumbs

1 Jumbo or 2 Small/Medium Eggs

Dash of Water

1/2 Tblsp. Italian Seasoning or Oregano (if desired)

Salt (if desired)

3-4 Gyro or flatbreads (can use flour tortillas in a pinch)

(Sauce Recipe follows preparation of eggplant)

Preparation:

Line baking sheet with aluminum foil, drizzle olive oil on top and spread a thin layer with pastry brush over surface

Combine egg with dash of water  in shallow bowl and beat with fork until incorporated

Place breadcrumbs in shallow dish and add Italian Seasoning or Oregano

Cut off about 2 inches down from top of eggplant (where you begin to see seeds)

Slice approximately 1/4 in. thick (you will get about 10-12 slices)

Dip eggplant slices one at a time in egg wash (using one hand for wet, one for dry)

Dip eggplant slices in breadcrumbs (both sides) and arrange on prepared baking sheet

Dip pastry brush in oil poured into small bowl or ramekin (about 1/4 cup)

Pat oil on top of eggplant slices

Roast at 400 degrees for approximately 15 minutes, turn over slices and roast about 10 minutes more till golden in color

Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt if desired

Ingredients for Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:

2 large pieces of Roasted Peppers from jar (pat dry with paper towels)

1 garlic clove

1/4 Cup dried Basil

3/4 Cup Sour Cream

1/4 Cup + 1 Tblsp. Mayonnaise

Preparation:

Dice Red Pepper

Finely mince Garlic

Combine Sour  Cream and Mayo

Add Red Pepper, Garlic and Basil (crush Basil to release oils)

Mix thoroughly and keep refrigerated, covered

To make Gyro, slightly warm bread in microwave (11 seconds) or if using oven (wrap in aluminum foil and heat for a few minutes.) Overlap 3 slices of eggplant on bread and top generously with sauce. Roll into a burrito or taco and enjoy!

Makes 3-4 servings. Best enjoyed right after cooking Eggplant

This recipe is easily made carb-free (minus the carbs in the vegetable and bread crumbs). Simply cook eggplant according to directions, make sauce and dip slices into sauce – no bread required!

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