At 17 I became a vegetarian. I was still living at home with my meat and potatoes family. Not having a clue what else there was to eat in the world, I kept eating the same meat and potatoes – but hold the meat. Without the meat, food seemed so incredibly boring and bland. Luckily, after way too many years of living off of veggie sandwiches, I discovered Indian food.
I think my tastebuds thought I had died and gone to heaven! The elaborate tastes and richness of Indian cuisine had me hooked from the beginning and I vowed never to go back to bland boring food again. Today’s recipe is a vegan take on a dish that I see my husband order all the time, chicken tikka masala, but with eggplant and chickpeas standing in for the chicken. This eggplant tikka masala has creamy, complex flavours – with notes of pepper, ginger, garlic and garam masala – you will not miss the meat in this recipe one bit. As I like simple recipes, I dummied this down as much as possible to make for a super easy supper that will taste like you slaved over it for hours!!
First you want to roast your eggplant for about 45 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes or so. Meanwhile you can prepare your sauce. Saute the garlic and jalapeño (if using) until starting to turn golden, add coconut milk, marinara sauce, chickpeas and spices. Bring to a low simmer and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is ready. Just before serving add lemon juice (and ghee, if using) to sauce. Add eggplant to saucepan and mix to coat. Serve as is or atop a bed of quinoa with chopped cilantro to garnish.
- 2.5 lbs Asian eggplant (the long skinny ones), chopped into ½-3/4" rounds
- ¼ c melted coconut oil, plus more for sautéing
- 2 tsp salt, divided
- 5 medium sized cloves garlic, minced
- optional: ½ - 1 jalapeno, minced
- 1 400 mL can full fat coconut milk, this is my favourite
- 2 c marinara sauce (I used the organic marinara from Costco)
- 1 400 mL can chickpeas (look for a BPA free brand like this)
- ½ tsp black pepper, or to taste
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp Lakanto, or more if you like the sauce a little sweeter
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- chopped cilantro, to garnish
- optional: if you are not strictly vegan, a couple tbsp of grassfed ghee stirred into the sauce is quite delicious. Ghee is well tolerated by those who have issues with lactose and casein and is great for gut healing...and super delicious!
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Put chopped eggplant into a large mixing bowl and drizzle with melted coconut oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt. Toss to coast then add to a large roasting pan or a parchment lined cookie sheet, as close to a single layer as you can.
- Roast for about 45 minutes or until very soft, tossing about every 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, saute garlic and jalapeño (if using) in a little coconut oil. Saute until just starting to turn golden. Add coconut milk, marinara sauce, chickpeas and spices, including the remaining 1 tsp salt and Lakanto. Bring to a low boil and keep at a low simmer until the eggplant is ready, stirring occasionally.
- When eggplant is done, add lemon juice to sauce (and ghee, if using) then add the eggplant to saucepan, stirring to mix. Serve as is or on a bed of quinoa, garnished with chopped cilantro.