One of the fine Vegan MoFo theme suggestions to come out of this year's Vida Vegan Con was Work With it Wednesday. The idea is to take a food you're not crazy about and give it another good try, be it from another perspective or with the help of a different recipe. I have come a long way from the picky kid who wouldn't eat tomato, bell pepper, or cabbage, but one foe remains: Eggplant.
Just look at these smug bastards.
But as RuPaul says, or would if she were participating in this year's Vegan MoFo, "Yooouuu'd better WORK..... with it." Eggplants, start your engines. And may the best aubergine win.
I will admit these beauties caught my eye at my local grocery store, which has the world's best produce section. They're all sassy and stripey! They look like eggplants I could maybe hang out with and get to know. Perhaps even... like? I picked three out and decided to make the only thing I knew I would like: crispy eggplant 'bacon', a component of the Caesar salad recipe in Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Appetite for Reduction.

Now I enjoy a good BLT (or, rather TLT, which I'll be talking about later on in MoFo), but I decided to try something a little different, inspired by the proliferation of food bowls in Portland, Oregon. They're crazy for bowls up there! You start with a grain, throw on some greens, some other veggies, some protein, some sauces, maybe some deep fried or raw stuff depending on how you swing, and BLAMMO, you've got yourself a delicious healthy meal that probably cost you $2 because Portland is ridiculous like that.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the BLT bowl.

What would be the best translation of sandwich bread to a BLT bowl? It needs to be homey, easy, and all-American, so naturally Bianca Phillips' cheesy tempeh bacon grits from Cookin' Crunk fit the bill. I omitted the bacon from Bianca's recipe because the bacon in this instance was going on top!

I added some baby greens and some chopped tomato to my eggplant, and a little hot sauce because I couldn't resist, and voila. The BLT bowl was born.

The Verdict.

Guys, I'm sorry. I gave it the ol' college try, but I am still not a big fan of eggplant. Individually, these ingredients were delicious (especially the grits, of which I had plenty left over), but together, my grand 'bowl' plan just didn't come together to form a delicious whole. But hey, that's okay- that's what trying something is all about! 

I'd like to take this moment to address eggplant directly: eggplant, you are a beautiful and unique plant. Although we didn't really hit it off, you have plenty of fans and I know you will be just fine. Now sashay away. 



09/04/2013 10:16am

I think you could still learn to like eggplant, I'm not a big fan but I love the tiny green Thai ones in curry.

09/04/2013 10:33am

I also like the little round ones because they look like Bob-omb. I can usually tolerate a baigan bharta/Indian curry, so maybe a Thai curry with eggplant would be another good ol' college try to give it. Thanks for the suggestion!

09/04/2013 4:53pm

I just posted about an eggplant lasagna myself as a way to try to get to like eggplant. I'm learning that a lot of us actually don't like it. I'm still on the fence about it. I'm giving it another try. It's just so darn pretty and I want to be more than just apathetic towards it. Someone suggested I try this eggplant bacon. It looks good enough that I may try it. I'll see how my current experiment is going....

09/08/2013 1:21pm

Mmmm lasagne... my inner Monday-hating obese tabbycat likes the sound of that.

09/05/2013 10:42pm

I hear ya on the eggplant thang. Eggplant is sorta like the tofu of the vegetable world in that it can be awful and delicious depending on the preparation. I only eat eggplant when it is cooked to buttery softness. Undercooked eggplant is disgusting. This is my favorite family recipe for eggplant, if you ever decide to try it again.


09/08/2013 1:22pm

I'm sure I will try it again someday! I just haven't found the right eggplant for me yet... I'm sure that recipe is amazing though, because I can trust you on just about anything.

09/07/2013 8:52am

Waaah! I so wanted you to like this! Such a fantastic idea! I will have to try it.

09/08/2013 1:23pm

I know! I think it's the mayo that magically brings together the BLT. And I didn't feel right just dumping mayo on BLT bowl :/

09/08/2013 7:17pm

I'll take it for you! I love eggplant bacon.

09/12/2013 9:13am

It's all yours. Take it, TAKE IT!!!

Comments are closed.