Oh the humble eggplant.
That beautiful purple veg that is known by so many names (melanzane, aubergine, guinea squash, garden egg…the list goes on.
Not only is it a pretty plant (I grow them in my garden every year and it’s amazing to watch the plants grow into all of their beauty!), but it is also chock-full of nutrients.
My favourite thing about eggplants is it is my go-to for meat substitution. Eggplants (with mushroom coming in a close second) are hearty, fibrous, bulky and can take on all of the other flavors that are present in your dish. Not only are they a workhorse in the kitchen, the are a powerhouse in the health arena too.
- They are a great supporter of heart health – They have fibre, poatssium, vitamin C and B6 as well as certain flavinoids that support heart health and lower blood pressure
- They contain an acid has been shown to decrease LDL levels and help with blood cholesterol.
- Research has also shown that certain substances in eggplant help prevent brain inflammation and increase blood flow to the brain. Some studies have also shown that eggplant consumption could help with memory and age-related mental disorders.
- Because of the fibrous texture in eggplants, it can help keep you full longer, possibly helping with weight maintenance. It’s also relatively low in calories (1 cup of eggplant is only 35 calories)
- Research has suggested that the antioxidants in eggplant may help protect the liver from certain toxins.
But why so much about eggplant? Well, it’s the star of this recipe because, with no meat, it really bulks it up and makes this a pretty substantial snack!
I love making these quesadillas because they always get rave reviews when I serve them at summer barbecues. The best part is that you can make a double batch and freeze them! Just separate them with parchment and take out as many as you like and either cook them on the grill on in a hot pan with a bit of oil until the cheese is melted.
These are always a hit at big gatherings because, as my guests hang out around the barbecue waiting for the main course, these are a real treat hot off the grill and keep people’s bellies full while you finish off the rest of the meal!
I bet you can taste them already!! Am I right??
Grilled Eggplant Quesadillas
- 1 medium eggplant, sliced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp pesto
- 3 tbsp sun dried tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup Asiago cheese, grated
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, chopped (you can sub in tapenade)
- 8 small flour tortillas
- Salsa (to serve)
- Brush eggplant slices (both sides) with olive oil and grill on a barbecue or grill pan until tender. Season with salt and pepper and roughly chop; place in a large bowl.
- Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix well.
- Evenly divide mixture among 1/2 of the tortillas (4) and spread evenly to the edge; top with remaining tortillas and press down firmly.
- Grill (or pan fry with a bit more olive oil) one side until golden; then flip over carefully and grill other side until golden and the cheese has melted.
- Cut into triangles and serve with salsa