Grilled Eggplant with Balsamic & Goat Cheese Goodness

Grilled Eggplant with Balsamic & Goat Cheese Goodness

Again last week I was checking out my local produce market and found Eggplant for sale for $0.59/ pound. “Wow huge deal,” I thought. But then I remembered, “I’ve never liked Eggplant anyway I’ve had it prepared. Its always been soggy and tasteless.” But, I’m like my mother in the way that I can hardly resist passing up a bargain, so the challenge was on!

My Challenge: To prepare eggplant in such a way that Matt and I would love it so much we’d just be waiting for it to go on sale again.

All I could think when I decided to purchase this cute little, purple squash-like veggie was that I’ve seen it in a variety of dishes people generally like, such as eggplant parmesan. There has to be a way to prepare it that enhances it’s natural God given goodness. I bought it with no idea how I was going to cook it, but picked up a few other veggies like cherry tomatoes, button mushrooms, and onions that were on sale as well…again, I’m a bargain shopper even when it comes to healthy food.

I pulled together a few ingredients and I’m happy to share that this Grilled Eggplant with Balsamic & Goat Cheese turned out so tasty! It’s my own recipe and I’m excited to share it with you. I hope this will encourage you to give Eggplant another try if you’ve never liked it in the past. And if you love it already, then here’s a new way to prepare it. Here’s to healthy cooking on a budget…Cheers!

*Goat Cheese is dairy, but many people such as myself that cannot tolerate dairy from a cow can tolerate a limited amount of dairy from goats or sheep. Its just a little different protein, possibly easier to digest. You should always check with your doctor if you have food allergies and are not sure about adding a new food into your diet.

1 small eggplant, sliced lengthwise (about 1/4″ thick)
2 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, unsalted
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1. Saute sunflower seeds in a dry pan over low heat, stirring constantly, until slightly toasted. Set aside.

2. Preheat grill. Brush eggplant slices with olive oil on both sides, reserving 1 tablespoon. Cook eggplant on grill 2 to 4 minutes per side. Plate on serving platter.

3. In a fry pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium high heat. Saute mushrooms, onions, garlic and tomatoes until onions are translucent. Stir in butter and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Remove pan from heat and swirl in balsamic vinegar.
5. Pour veggie mixture over platted Eggplant. Crumble goat cheese, basil and sunflower seeds over top. Serve and enjoy!

*Why use sunflower seeds? I call them the poor woman’s pine nuts. Normally for a dish like this I’d use pine nuts toasted over top, but they are pretty pricey. I’ve found sunflower seeds add the same crunch and flavor for a whole lot less.

*Recipe Source: Madison Sommerfield
*Recipe Serves: 4 people

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