Gathering guests around the grill is an easy way to entertain…but what if some of your guests are vegetarians? Providing a barbeque menu that your vegetarian guests will enjoy is simple when using eggplant as the main course for the meal. The beauty of including vegetarian items on the grill is that their main dish can be served as a side dish for your guests who eat meat.
Eggplant is easy to grill and can be used in a variety of ways to create a satisfying dish for your vegetarian guests. It’s high in dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, and many antioxidants.
Makes 8 servings
Most vegetarians prefer that their food be cooked separately from the place on the grill where the meat is prepared. Clean your grill and prepare the vegetarian menu items first, or if you have a large grill, make sure that the meat and the vegetables are separate.
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning, divided
3 to 4 small to medium American Globe eggplants, cut crosswise into ¾-inch-thick slices
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
8 to 10 mint or basil leaves
Prepare grill for cooking. If using a charcoal grill, clean and lightly oil the grate where the food will be placed to prevent sticking. Open vents on bottom of grill, then light charcoal. Charcoal fire is medium-hot when you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 3 to 4 seconds. If using a gas grill, clean and lightly oil the grate where the food will be placed. Preheat burners on moderately high, cover for 10 minutes, and then reduce heat to moderate.
Mince garlic and mash to a paste with a pinch of salt. In a bowl, mix the garlic paste into the yogurt, along with a ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon of the Italian seasoning. Set aside in the refrigerator.
Brush eggplant slices generously on both sides with oil and sprinkle with the remaining salt, Italian seasoning, black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.
Grill eggplant slices on lightly oiled grill rack (cover only if using a gas grill) until eggplant is tender and grill marks appear, about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn over and grill 3 to 4 minutes more. Transfer eggplant to a platter, arranging slices in a single layer. Put a spoonful of yogurt mixture on each eggplant slice and top with a mint or basil leaf. Serve hot or at room temperature.
The Kitchen Diva is Angela Shelf Medearis, a regular guest chef on “The Dr. Oz Show” and “The Today Show.” She is the author of many cookbooks, including, “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.” She blogs for Vitacost.com and Momonomics.com on a weekly basis.