Eggplant pesto is a savory Italian sauce made by blending cooked eggplant with several other ingredients such as basil, cheese, nuts, olive oil, and seasonings. The variations may be explained in terms of distinct ingredients, and different method of preparing eggplant for use in the pesto sauce. Further, eggplant and classic pesto may also be combined together to form eggplant pesto based dishes like eggplant basil pesto pasta and eggplant with pesto.
Eggplant Pesto Preparation Overview
The eggplant pesto sauce recipe suggests using eggplant, chopped garlic, olive oil, coarsely chopped basil leaves, grated parmesan cheese, walnuts, olive oil, salt, and pepper as the ingredients. The pesto is prepared by blending toasted walnuts, sautéed garlic, and cooked and cooled eggplant with all the other ingredients until well pureed. It is served after drizzling little amount of olive oil on top. The walnuts are toasted in oven, eggplants are cooked by boiling them in salted water, and garlic is sautéed in a frying pan in some olive oil.
Eggplant Pesto Recipe Variations
The variations of eggplant pesto are listed below:
- Parmesan cheese may be substituted with provolone cheese.
- Eggplant may be cooked in oven. Roasting the eggplant in oven, before it is used in the preparation of pesto, would help in imparting a smokey flavor to the pesto sauce.
- Sautéed garlic may be substituted with fresh garlic.
- Toasted walnuts can be replaced with any other form of nuts like pine nuts, almonds, or hazelnuts.
- Mint and parsley can be added as additional herbs to the pesto sauce, apart from using only basil as the herb.
- People preferring low calorie pesto may reduce the amount of olive oil used in eggplant pesto.
Popular Eggplant Pesto Dish
Roasted eggplant pesto- eggplant is cut into two halves and roasted in oven until tender, and then blended (when completely cool) with almonds, garlic, sun dried tomatoes basil, nutritional yeast, and salt in a food processor.
- Eggplant based pesto can be served over pasta.
- It can be used as a stuffing ingredient for pasta shells.
- It can be served as a dip for crudités.
- Eggplant based pesto also serves as a very good spread for bruschette (olive oil and garlic coated Italian roasted bread).
- Eggplant pesto can be served as an accompaniment to fresh bread.
Eggplant and Pesto Based Dishes
A couple of popular dishes made with eggplant and pesto are discussed hereunder:
- Eggplant with pesto- the recipe for this dish suggests brushing eggplant with pesto sauce lightly, and baking it in microwave for a few minutes before brushing it again with pesto sauce, this time heavily, and baking it again until top turns light brown in color.
- Eggplant basil pesto pasta-this dish is prepared by combining cooked eggplant pieces, with boiled pasta and basil pesto. The basil pesto used in this dish is a blend of basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil, and seasonings.