Zesty Eggplant Bruschetta (Fresh Food Fridays)

I hope everyone had a fantastic Halloween, and that you all enjoyed our first Fresh Food Fridays recipe. Now that it is November, we should be expecting more winter crops like broccoli, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, and cabbage. However, since we still have warmer weather in Florida than the usual season brings, we have some leftover summer crops, such as the lovely eggplant.

Eggplant is consistently looked over by many, a perplexing purple egg-shaped member of the nightshade family that people typically aren’t sure how to prepare, which I have frequently found on sale in the produce section of grocery stores.

One reason to enjoy eggplant this season is obvious — it’s incredibly healthy! Eggplant’s rich purple color is a dead giveaway for the presence of phytonutrients that serve as antioxidants, including chlorogenic acid — one of the most potent antioxidants against free radicals found in vegetables (I hear those aren’t too great for you).

We usually leave it to the few Italian restaurants in town who feature the tart and spongy vegetable as eggplant parmesan, or sauteed on a sandwich — both preparations soaking the flesh of the vegetable with oils and fats, cooking out most of the beneficial nutrients in the eggplant.

This week I’m here to help with a fresh, zesty, and healthy take on eggplant that doesn’t involve cooking out all of its amazing benefits.

You can prepare this recipe with seasonal and local eggplant, herbs, onions and tomatoes. The best part is, you can compost the scraps of this meal as well as the finished product! You’ll easily be able to find all of these ingredients at the farmer’s markets in Gainesville or at local grocery stores.

Almost all of my fresh ingredients are from the Union Street Farmers market and my CSA, which means this recipe is pretty sustainable. Behold, Zesty Eggplant Bruschetta!

What you’ll need:

1-2 lb. eggplant

2 medium tomatoes

2 small cloves of garlic

1 tbsp chopped parsley

1 lemon for zesting

1 lime for zesting

½ cup marinara sauce

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp. cumin

½ tsp paprika

¼ tsp. red pepper

salt and fresh ground pepper

bread (or something else for dipping!)

Step 1: Peel the eggplants, and dice them into ½ inch pieces, and compost your peelings! Bring 1-2 inches of water to a boil in a large pot that a steamer basket can be paired with. Place the diced eggplant in the steamer basket, cover and simmer for about ten minutes until the eggplant is soft. Remove from heat.

Step 2: Mince the garlic, dice the tomatoes (also ½ inch dice), and combine with paprika, red pepper, and cumin in a skillet on medium-low heat. Throw your garlic skins, and any tomato scraps in your green bucket. Stir occasionally until the mixture has thickened. This should take 5-7 minutes.

Step 3: Mix the eggplant into the tomato mixture and stir the mixture gently until it has incorporated, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat

Step 4: Add the vinegar, marinara sauce, fresh chopped parsley and cilantro (make sure they are washed well, and compost the stems), salt and pepper to taste. Zest about a teaspoon of lemon and ½ a teaspoon of lime into the mixture.

Step 5: Serve warm with toasted bread or whatever carb you desire. Enjoy!

If you love bread I would suggest checking out our composting partner Vine Bread and Pasta, and Mosswood Bakehouse breads which you can find at the farmers markets, as well as locally at their stores!

To learn more about bike-powered food waste diversion in Gainesville, FL, click here.

Thanks for reading,
Krissy Olson

About the Author

Krissy studies Sustainability in the Built Environment at the University of Florida. Her love for organic gardening and support for local food systems grew through her studies and Community Supported Agriculture. Krissy is the Community Outreach Coordinator at Gainesville Compost.