I love spice blends.
They make life so much easier, and they make me feel “chef-y” and creative, when I am short on time.
This recipe takes very little effort, but is robust with flavor, and a range of textures.
Eggplant is creamy, and versatile, balanced with the crispy and rich chickpeas, and just enough coconut essence to bring out the complex flavors of the curry. Fresh lemon and mint adds a brightness to this dish, and raw carrots add a pop of color, sweetness, and added crunch.
The even better news? While your eggplant is baking, you can have your additional components all ready for serving, by the time the eggplant makes it way out of the oven. I love a little teamwork– which is why you often find me using the oven.
Coconut Curried Eggplant and Chickpeas
1 medium-large eggplant, peeled, ends removed
3 rainbow carrots, peeled
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1 tsp Indian Curry seasoning blend
2 leeks, white parts only, thinly sliced into medallions
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh mint, torn, loosely packed
1/8 tsp sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut eggplant into (8-10) 1/2” medallions. On a non-stick baking sheet, lay out each medallion as if you were baking cookies. Sprinkle each medallion with sea salt. Bake in oven for 18-22 minutes on top rack, until eggplant medallions are cooked all the way through, and just barely browning at edges.
While eggplant is baking, heat a large skillet to high heat. Drain can of chickpeas. Once hot, quickly add chickpeas and use a wooden or metal spatula to keep them moving. Once they start popping, and drying out (about 3 minutes), lower heat, and add full fat coconut milk to mixture, along with Indian curry seasoning, leeks, lemon juice and sea salt. Bring temperature to low heat, cover and bring to a gradual simmer. Remove from heat, and carefully taste. Add sea salt to taste, if needed.
Using a carrot peeler, remove outer layer of carrots, and discard. Then, continue to use peeler to create skinny ribbons. Put to the side until ready to plate.
When ready to serve, plate eggplant, and then scoop curried chickpea mixture over them. Top with carrots, for added color, and sweet and crunchy texture, and sprinkle with fresh mint.
There ya have it– The “Warm Coconut Curried Chickpea and Eggplant Salad”. A title that is quite a bit misleading (in my books), as it is seriously lacking in the leafy lettuce department, but none the less, these things happen, and if a tuna salad can be called a salad, well then by golly… I am going to use that word also.