I am not vegan, although we did try that a few years ago and did it for about 6 months. Every now and then its nice to eat a meal with no meat, or cheese or animal products. Last night's menu consisted of grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini, grilled onions, Cuban black beans, white rice, and garlic lime Mojo sauce. I am a fan of Michael Pollan and his Mantra: " Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants". I have not enjoyed a meal as much as this one in a long time. It really was very very basic. The veggies were grilled only sprinkled with Himalayan salt. I could have eaten the grilled onions alone as a meal... I couldn't believe how much flavor the veggies had without really anything added except salt. I will be making this meal again very soon.
For the veggies:
1 Japanese eggplant
1 large zucchini
2 large onions
salt to taste
Take the eggplant and slice into three sections. Begin slicing lengthwise to create planks- about 1/4" thick. Slice the zucchini into 1/4" rounds. Lastly slice the onion removing the outer tough skin. Make sure to slice the onion into rounds without separating them. You should have discs of onions that are still intact. Take a grill pan and put it on the stove, setting the heat to high. Do not add oil or anything. If you absolutely have to, spray a little PAM, but really it's not necessary. Lay the pieces of eggplant on the pan and allow for them to cook until you get nice grill marks. Season the top side of the eggplant with a little salt. Flip and cook on the other side until you get grill marks on each side. Remove from the pan and do the same thing the zucchini and onions. It's important that you let the veggies cook undisturbed. If you start flipping them around too much then the veggies will stick and not caramelize like it's supposed to.
I served this with doctored up Cuban style black beans. Because this was a veggie heavy meal, I really bumped up the onions and peppers I added to the dish. I've posted this recipe before but for convenience's sake, here it is again.
For the doctored up Cuban style black beans:
2 cans black beans
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. vinegar
2 bay leaves
1/3 cup finely diced green pepper
1/3 cup finely diced red pepper
1 large onion finely diced
4 large clove of garlic
3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
Finely dice the peppers, onion and garlic and sauté with olive oil in a pot. Once this mix has become tender, add the cans of black beans and water. Add the bay leaves and vinegar, allowing the beans to simmer over med-low heat for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
In Cuban cuisine, mojo sauce (pronounced Mo-ho) is a staple. It's used to pour over yuca, as a condiment or to marinate meats. I drizzled a little of this over the veggies and added to the beans for extra umph.
For the mojo sauce:
2 limes (juice only)
4 large garlic cloves
1/3 cup light olive oil
pinch of salt
Grate the garlic and add to a bowl. Squeeze the lime juice into the bowl and add the oil. Using a whisk, blend vigorously until it's slightly emulsified. Make sure to stir before spooning over your food.