Spicy Basil Eggplant With Dates and Cashews
This is our current favorite eggplant dish. It is full of flavor with wonderful color and texture. The dates add a nice sweetness that plays well with the spicy mixed vegetables. When we make the brown rice we cook it in Magic Mineral Broth instead of water. (Why should the rice be boring.)
MAKES: 4 Servings
PREP/COOK TIME: 45 Minutes
• 4 teaspoons canola oil
• One 12-ounce eggplant, cut into bite-size cubes (5 cups)
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
• 1 medium red onion, chopped
• 6 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
• 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
• 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar (may substitute fresh lemon juice)
• 2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari, or more as needed
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (see headnote)
• 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
• 5 large Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
• 1/2 cup chopped raw cashews
• Cooked brown rice, for serving
Heat 2 teaspoons of the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the eggplant cubes, sprinkle with the salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the cubes are browned and tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a bowl.
Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of canola oil in the same skillet, over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion, garlic and ginger; cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the bell pepper and cook until it loses a little of its crunch, 1 to 2 minutes.
Return the eggplant to the pan, along with the vinegar, tamari, sesame oil, and cayenne; cook, gently tossing, for 2 to 3 minutes, so the flavors meld and the pan juices form a sauce. Taste, and add more tamari, as needed. Remove from the heat, then stir in the basil.
Sprinkle the dates and cashews on top. Serve warm, over brown rice.
Will keep 1 to 2 days in the refrigerator