Happy Barbecue Month!

Happy May!

May is barbecue month and to take advantage of this beautiful spring time weather while it lasts, I will attempt to barbecue as much as possible! I absolutely love to grill, and although I do not eat meat, one of my favorite ways to cook vegetables is to fire up the propane or charcoal and allow it work its magic.

In honor of this special time of year, I will share one of my absolute favorite dishes to make…

Grilled Eggplant with Provolone and Red Onions

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Eggplant gets an entirely underrated and misconstrued reputation. That may be because it is usually not made properly. I have learned that if you want your vegetables to TASTE good, they need to LOOK good. And I do not mean that in the realms of food having to look neatly plated in order to devour it, I am talking about in the sense of BUYING produce that looks HAPPY. Sounds a bit foolish, but give it a go next time you are picking out fruits or vegetables. If they look sad, skip by it. If it warms your heart and catches your eye – do not hesitate, it will taste good and you will be satisfied.

This recipe is simple, but it is delicious. I have made it for a few people who never tried eggplant, and those who have always had a bad experience eating eggplant. Well, fear no more! This recipe will give you an entirely new perspective, and a new dish, surrounding this purple “fruit”.

How to tell if an eggplant is ripe: (also includes some fun trivia and knowledge on this “mad apple”)

http://www.helium.com/items/1786217-how-to-know-when-an-eggplant-is-ripe

Ingredients:

Baby Eggplant (or a purple of your choice), 1/2 inch slices (keep skin on)

Extra virgin olive oil

Balsamic vinegar (I used Lucini’s cherry balsamic)

Salt

Black pepper

Fat-free Sargento Provolone cheese

Red onion, sliced

Directions: 

1. Wash the eggplant and cut off the stems and bottoms. Slice the eggplant into at least 1/2 inch slices (up to about 1 inch). You do not want them to be too thick or they will take longer to cook.

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2. Combine EVOO, balsamic, salt and black pepper (just a dash for seasoning) in a small to medium sized bowl.

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3. Dunk each slice of eggplant into the oil marinade. Once they are covered (front and back), let them sit for a few minutes to allow the oil and balsamic to soak into the eggplant.

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4. Lit up the grill or a sautee pan (with a bit of oil) and allow each side to cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until tender. If grilling, you want to see grill marks before flipping them. The red onion can be put on the grill with the eggplant as well. Give the onion slices about 5 minutes on each side, depending on thickness.

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5. Once the eggplant is tender, with grill marks on both sides, cover each slice with provolone cheese, or some cheese of preference. Once the cheese is melted, and the onion is grilled, you are ready to take it off the grill and enjoy!

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I personally love to eat this eggplant with ketchup, but it alone, even without being smothered in gooey cheese, is delicious.

To fancy it up, you can lather the eggplant up with some BBQ sauce of your choice.

This recipe also makes a great substitute for a burger or portabello mushroom sandwich. This eggplant recipe is also the same one I use for my Eggplant Parmigiana. Just add sauce!

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