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Hasselback Eggplant with Arugula Pesto

Since it’s unofficially Eggplant Day here in Chrissy’s Kitchen, here’s another CLEAN, easy and fancy recipe for Eggplant. I agree with so many of you that it’s hard to cook Eggplant correctly: trying to find a balance between mushy and undercooked, AND to find a way to season this veggie WITHOUT tons of oil, cheese and breadcrumbs. I’ve served plenty of “hasselback” style veggies as side dishes at my restaurant and for parties. It’s a BEAUTIFUL way to stuff veggies and serve them roasted or baked in a healthy way. Plus they just look cool. Typically this method is used on potatoes. The Hasselback Potato was first created in Stockholm, way back in the 1700s at a restaurant called Hasselbacken. It is an the accordion cut potato and usually seasoned with a special infused-oil preparation make them creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside. It’s easy to apply this method to sweet potatoes, eggplants as well as zucchini. It’s also an easy way to do Eggplant parm if you feel creative. Also, PLEASE feel free to use this arugula pesto recipe as a dip, on top of pasta, or even fish or poultry. It’s wonderful!! As always, enjoy!! And please post comments and photos!!

Arugula Pesto Ingredients • 1 cup fresh basil, packed • 1 cup fresh arugula, packed • the juice of ½ lemon • ⅓ cup olive oil • ½ cup water • 2 cloves garlic, peeled • 1 teaspoon pepper • 2 teaspoons kosher salt • 1 cup almond meal • 3 tsp nutritional yeast (or 1 tbsp vegan Parmesan cheese, like Go Veggie or Follow Your Heart) • 1/3 cup raw almonds or cashews (optional, for a creamier pesto, along with another 1-2 tbsp of water)

Directions for Pesto- 1. Combine basil, arugula, lemon juice, water, and olive oil to a blender. Pulse/blend for 5-10 seconds. 2. Add garlic, salt, pepper, and almond meal and vegan parm or nutritional yeast to the blender and blend until completely mixed and smooth. (If you’d like you can also add some almonds or cashews to make it even creamier. If you do that then also add another tablespoon of water).

Ingredients for the Hasselback Eggplant

• 1 eggplant • 1 T olive oil • ⅓ cup pesto • 1/2 cup Ezekiel breadcrumbs or other clean bread crumbs (seasoned with some salt, pepper, parsley & garlic powder) • 2 T chopped basil for serving (optional)

Instructions for Eggplant-

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 2. Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise. With the eggplant cut side down, thinly slice the eggplant to roughly 1/8 inch slices without cutting all the way through. 3. Brush with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes. 4. Spoon the pesto evenly over the eggplant. Then top with the breadcrumbs and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes longer. 5. Serve hot, garnished with fresh basil.

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