Eggplant Chips with Roasted Garlic Pumpkin Hummus {Recipe ReDux}

My Grandma used to make the most delicious roasted eggplant with yogurt sauce. Velvety smooth, garlicky, cooked for hours…

The fact that I could never duplicate that dish could be attributed to many things — I didn’t use enough oil, I went too light on the garlic, I used the wrong type of yogurt for the sauce — but when it all boils down, no one can do it better than Grandma. Am I right?

While I love my Grandma’s eggplant dish, I myself could never really get eggplant right. It would turn out soggy or tasteless or morph into a weird texture when cooked. I loathe eggplant because I am a perfectionist and, well, the things I created up until now were far from perfection.

I’m always up for a challenge, though, so for this month’s Recipe ReDux theme of dehydrated food (either doing the dehydrating yourself or incorporating dehydrated ingredients into a dish), I figured it was time to meet my culinary nemesis.

Eggplant, you ain’t got nothing on me. Doesn’t hold a candle to Grandma’s Eggplant, but it’s pretty damn delicious.

eggplant_chips_pumpkin_hummus

It turns out eggplant chips aren’t so difficult. And you don’t even need a fancy dehyrator. Nope, these were dehydrated right in our old crappy oven.

What really makes these eggplant chips, though, is that dreamy pumpkin hummus made with roasted garlic.

peeled_garlic

Do you all know the trick to peeling a lot of garlic very quickly?

Peel the outside layers off of the bulb, plop the whole thing in a container with a lid, and shake it like a Polaroid picture. Like, really shake it. Your muscles should be sore, no joke. I don’t know how, but this assault to the garlic magically gets all of the peels off while keeping each clove intact.

This is a great party trick, depending on the type of party.

So once you’ve magically peeled your garlic, it’s ready to be roasted on the stove. Just place it in a small saucepan, pour in enough olive oil to cover the cloves fully, and heat the oil/garlic until it starts to simmer. Then remove from heat and let cool.

You now have both roasted garlic AND garlic-infused olive oil! Now what to do with all of this deliciousness?

pumpkin_hummus

Hummus, obviously! And since it feels like fall in Chicago, PUMPKIN hummus. The roasted garlic and garlic oil also make an excellent pesto sauce, FYI.

Recipe: Eggplant Chips with Roasted Garlic Pumpkin Hummus

You can eat these together or separately, they are both delicious in their own right. I can’t wait to try the eggplant chips with a yogurt sauce and the hummus with, lets be honest, everything. Man I love hummus.

Ingredients

Eggplant Chips:

  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into very thin rounds (1/8″ or 1/16″). Use a mandolin if you have one.
  • Cooking spray
  • Salt

Pumpkin Hummus

  • 2 (16 oz) cans low sodium chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can pumpkin, or 2 cups roasted/pureed pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup garlic olive oil (see above for how to make your own)
  • 4-6 cloves roasted garlic (also see above)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. tahini or nut butter, such as almond or cashew butter
  • 2 Tbsp. local honey
  • 1 Tbsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

sliced_eggplant

Directions

Eggplant Chips:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Place metal cooling racks on top of baking sheets (I needed two in order to fit all of the eggplant). The cooling racks allow air to circulate around the whole eggplant chip, helping it to dehydrate more effectively.
  3. Spray the cooking rack with cooking spray. Salt one side of the eggplant piece, then lay salted side down on the rack. Do this with all of the eggplant rounds, then spray the tops of the eggplant with cooking spray and sprinkle salt over the eggplant (so that both sides are salted). This will help draw moisture out during the dehydrating process.
  4. Place baking sheets in oven and bake for 30 minutes. Rotate pans then bake for another 30 minutes. Flip the chips and then bake for another 15-30 minutes, or until the eggplant is slightly browned and crispy.

Pumpkin Hummus:

  1. Place all ingredients in a large food processor and process until desired consistency.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. Drizzle with honey and olive oil for serving.

eggplant_chips_hummus

{side note: how frickin’ adorable is the green polka dot mini casserole dish in the picture?! Expect a fruit crumble or vegetable bake at some point in the very near future. Thank you, World Market.}

For more amazing dehydrated recipes from the talented Recipe ReDuxers, follow the link below (click on the little blue guy).

Farmers Market WTF: Part 4 – Eggplant

Turkish Eggplant

Bored of eggplant? Though eggplant is pretty well known (not really a “wtf” farmers market find), with its blandish taste, you may be getting tired of this vegetable.

Besides the old stand-by, Eggplant Parmesan, what else can you do with eggplant?

I set out to explore this question after picking up some eggplant from the Green City Market. I prefer a smaller eggplant, so I went with some Turkish eggplant (pictured above), along with Chinese eggplant, which is thinner than standard eggplant. The Turkish eggplants look like mini pumpkins, right?

Eggplants are often used as a meat replacement, though they are not high in protein. They are, however, high in fiber. For about a cup of eggplant, you’ll get 2 grams of fiber for only 20 calories. So, for 2 cups (enough to keep you satisfyingly full), it’ll only cost you 40 calories (plus the added bonus of 4 grams of fiber). Eggplants also contain potassium, which helps counteract salt consumption and aids in muscle function.

Keep in mind that fiber generally means filling, making eggplant an excellent addition to meals. I wanted to try using mine in a couple different ways. Let me say first that eggplant is delicious when roasted in the oven, but with the extremely hot weather in Chicago, I’ve been trying not to turn the oven on. So, the following two recipes were done on a stove top – sans oven.
Eggplant Recipe No. 1: Tempeh & Eggplant “Ratatouille:”

Tempeh & Eggplant Ratatouille

Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces tempeh (a fermented soy + grain product similar to tofu)
  • 1 Chinese eggplant, cubed
  • 1 ounce mozzarella cheese (I used a Trader Joe’s fresh mozzarella stick), shredded/chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3-4 basil leaves, washed and diced
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

  • Sprinkle eggplant with salt (this will draw out some of the water from the eggplant, making it easier/better for sauteeing).
  • Heat garlic in olive oil for 1-2 minutes, then add eggplant and saute for about 5 minutes. Add tempeh and saute another 5 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and basil.

Easy, no? The above recipe is for a single serving. You can double, triple, etc. depending on how many people you’re feeding.

Eggplant Recipe No. 2: Eggplant Chips

Okay, so this one is not so much a recipe as much as a method for cooking the eggplant.

Eggplant chips, served with carrot top pesto smeared whitefish (over purple kale).

Directions:Cut eggplant into 1/4″ slices and sprinkle with salt to draw out moisture. Cook in a lightly oiled (or use cooking spray) pan for about 3-4 minutes per side (depending on how crispy you like the slices).

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.