If the cool, crisp days of fall and the brilliant colors of the changing leaves are conjuring up images of delicious comfort foods that fill the air with rich aromas, then look no further than this recipe that uses a staple autumn vegetable like acorn squash and combines it with healthy ingredients like quinoa to make a side dish or even main dish that is delicious and filling. And because it comes from Martha Stewart, you know it has to be good!
- 4 small acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
- 1/2 cup roasted, salted pistachios, chopped
- 2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
- Pinch red-pepper flakes
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Brush squash with 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast cut side down on 2 baking sheets until tender and caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring quinoa and 2 cups water to a boil in a small pot. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until tender and water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Let cool, then fluff with a fork. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, parsley, feta, pistachios, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and vinegar. Season with salt and red-pepper flakes. Divide filling among squash.
With the harvest yielding an abundance of vegetables such as Eggplant, we begin to search for different ways to cook these foods. After skimming through several different recipes, the Eggplant Parmesan Bites from Just A Taste stood out among the most interesting and mouth watering. These bites provide all of the delicious flavor of eggplant parmesan without the “heavy work” of slicing the vegetable up into very, very thin slices. These bites are delicious served as an appetizer, snack, or even a light supper.
Eggplant Parmesan Bites with Marinara
- 2 medium eggplants (about 2 1/2 lbs total)
- 2 cups Italian-style breadcrumbs (See Kelly’s Note)
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 cup homemade or store-bought marinara sauce
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Peel the eggplants and dice them into 1-inch cubes. Place the cubes in a large colander and toss them with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Let them drain in the colander over a bowl in the sink for 30 minutes to remove excess moisture.
Combine the breadcrumbs with the Parmesan cheese in a large bowl. In a second bowl, whisk together the eggs with 2 tablespoons water. Place the flour in a third bowl. Bread the eggplant cubes in batches by coating them in the flour, then the eggs and then the cheesy breadcrumbs.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
Add three inches of oil to a large, heavy-bottomed pot set over medium heat and attach the deep-fry thermometer. Once the oil reaches 360ºF, add the breaded eggplant in batches, cooking them until they’re golden brown on all sides. Using a slotting spoon, transfer the eggplant to the paper towel-lined baking sheet and immediately season them with salt. Repeat the frying process with the remaining eggplant, returning the oil to 360ºF between each batch.
Garnish the eggplant bites with chopped fresh parsley and serve them with marinara sauce for dipping.
From the Author:
I prefer a mix of Italian-style Panko breadcrumbs and very fine Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs, which produces well-breaded eggplant with a crispy crunch.