Eggplant fries with a creamy yogurt dressing

Ohhh friends, do I have a snack recipe for you.

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But first, I have to tell you about a new restaurant Liv and I went to check out last night. We were at Sprout’s across the street, and I realized that Native Foods had finally opened. I had no idea what they served, but knew it sounded like something we’d love (“Native. Foods. Yes, good.”), so we enjoyed a quick dinner. Thank goodness the Pilot was working, because I don’t think he would have been crazy about it. Native Foods = vegan food only. The guy’s a great sport and will try anything, but even our best vegan restaurant vegan meals fail to fill him up. He ends up eating everything in one fell swoop and is still hungry after we finish a 4-course meal. His metabolism is another post for another day, and one of the reasons why nature can be so unfair 😉

We ordered our food, found a comfy booth, and waited for our meals. 

Photo 49

I got the kale macro bowl, which was brown rice, tempeh, kale, sauerkraut (LOVE), a creamy dressing, and it came with a small cucumber salad. Liv had the brontosaurus burrito (aka bean burrito) and we shared some sweet potato fries and blueberry tea.

A carrot cake cupcake to-go:

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(I’m very rarely “meh” about cupcakes -especially those with a mountain of frosting- but it was just ok. The rest of the meal stole the show.)

We’ll definitely be back 🙂 

So onto the snack recipe…

I was craving a salad yesterday, but wanted to experiment with this little guy. Eggplants are one of my all-time favorite vegetables, and I thought it would be fun to cut the ‘plant into fry shapes, roast it, and top with a delectable sauce + more veggies.

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It was a wise plan, indeed 😉

For the eggplant:

-1 medium eggplant, cut into thick julienne-style cuts

-Olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil or nonstick spray and add the eggplant in one layer. Top with more olive oil and season liberally with salt, pepper and garlic power.

2. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping and re-seasoning halfway through.

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While the eggplant is cooking, make the sauce.

I used 1/2 container of plain sheep’s milk yogurt (any plain yogurt will do) with the juice of 1/2 a lemon, dill (1/4 teaspoon), parsley (1/4 teaspoon), chives (1/4 teaspoon), salt and pepper (to taste).

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Top the eggplant with the sauce, then add chopped fresh veggies (I went with cucumber and tomato; olives would be fantastic too!), a sprinkle of goat cheese or feta and some parsley.

This would make an AWESOME summer appetizer. It would be fantastic to roast a few sliced eggplants, cover them with sauce and toppings and serve on a large platter during a BBQ or outdoor picnic. 

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Some of the benefits of eggplant (according to this site):

-It contains a phytonutrient called nasunin, which is a powerful antioxidant and can help to reduce free radicals by protecting cell membranes from damage. With this protection, nasunin can help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels, potentially decrease the likelihood of certain cancers, and reduce arthritic pain.

-Eggplant is a great source of fiber, Vitamin B1, B6, potassium, folate and also contains vitamin K. 

Any other eggplant fanatics out there? Any awesome recipes to share?

Hope you have a very happy Monday!
See ya later today with an all-new workout.

xoxo

Gina 

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Comments

  1. I’ve never tried making eggplant at home, but this looks like a nice and easy way to do it.

    When it comes to cupcake, I could take or leave the bottom portion, the icing/frosting is where it’s at for me.

  2. Native Foods is THE BEST. You must must must order the peanut butter parfait for dessert next time, it will rock your socks off (vegan PB custard, bits of crumbled banana bread, choc chips…it’s phenom). All of the food there is incredible, I ate there at least twice a week when I lived in SD 🙂

  3. We have a Native Foods in Boulder, and I used to eat there multiple times a week last semester–to the point where the entire management team knew who I was after like, 2 weeks. I’ve also tried almost everything on the menu. Try the tempeh tacos–with extra surfer sauce and salsa. You won’t regret it! These eggplant fries make me nostalgic for the half a year I lived in Greece–typical taverna food for vegetarians is fried eggplant and zucchini with tzatziki. I could eat it all day long 😉 Have a great one!

  4. i am obsessed with indian (the tiny round eggplant) or japanese (the long skinny ones) eggplants! my favorite method is to ‘salt soak’ them so they get out the excess water then fire up the grill. i coat them with coconut oil + curry or masala if i’m doing the indian or sprikle nori furikake on my japanese ones (it’s a tasty seaweed, salt & sugar condiment). yay for grilling season!

    • Thats sounds amazing! I am always looking to eat, healthy vegetable dishes with an Indian twist. Will definitely need to try this soon!

  5. Apparently there is a Native Foods about 10 minutes from my office. I had no idea! I thought I knew every fresh food cafe in town, boy was I wrong. I will definitely be giving it a try this week. 🙂

  6. I love eggplant! My favorite summer recipe is an eggplant bruschetta:

    cube 1 eggplant into 1/4-/1/2 inch pieces.
    Toss with 1 T minced garlic, 2 T olive oil, 2 T red wine vinegar
    roast 25 minutes at 400, toss with feta or parmesan, serve on crusty bread with a glass of nice summery white wine for a great appetizer or light lunch.

  7. I really do love eggplant. I made jicama and zucchini fries last weekend. They were so yum! I need to try eggplant ones next.

  8. Those look delicious! I love new spins on eggplant!

  9. mmm i am also a big fan of eggplant. this is my all time fav recipe. mark bittman is a genius. http://www.nytimes.com/recipes/1014831/eggplant-salad-with-mustard-miso-dressing.html

  10. Wow. The recipe looks amazing! Thanks for sharing! i agree with you about nature being unfair! My husband cuts back his Miller Lite drinking from 7 nights/week to 4 and loses 5 lbs in a week…so not fair!

  11. I don’t eat a bunch of eggplant but I love roasted veggies so I’m sure I would really enjoy this. Especially combined with the yogurt dip!

  12. Love eggplant! I like to roast slices, then top with marinara, goat’s cheese and fresh basil.

    I also love to slice super duper thin and bake them into chips!

  13. I LOVE eggplant! We tend to cook it more in the winter as a lasagna-type thing or (gluten-free, baked) eggplant parm, and don’t have it as much in the warmer months when I don’t love to turn on the oven. I love creamy yogurt sauces and will have to try this one! We’ve been making more Mediterranean-inspired dishes lately and I’ve been wanting a sauce to drizzle over some fo the fodo! This is perfect!

  14. Yum! I’ve always liked “grilling” slices of eggplant on the ole George Foreman, seasoned with seasoned salt and granulated garlic.

  15. Tell your Pilot to try the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger. In spite of the name, it’s totally vegan and really delicious. Perfect for non-vegans who stumble into Native Foods.

    Where did the new one open?

    • Fitnessista says:

      i think he would be on board with that 😉
      point loma, by sprouts on rosecrans

    • I was thinking the same thing. OK bacon cheeseburger is huge and delicious. Perfect for a man (or a woman 😉 If I am ever really hungry, and I can get really hungry, I order this and I cannot finish it in one sitting but it so good, it’s hard to stop.

  16. I love eggplant so much! I am a big fan of panko crusted eggplant parm. So delicious!

  17. Shannon says:

    I am a recent eggplant fan! I had no idea how full of flavor they are! I get a salad from a local lunch spot that includes spinach, cous cous, mozz, eggplant, pine nuts in a tomato vinaigrette and I have been wanting to re-create that at home.

  18. Elizabeth says:

    I LOVE Native Foods! I live in Chicago and there are several locations! Even my meat eating friends love it there. NF makes their own tempeh too so it’s not so bad with all the soy drama. They also have a nice rewards program 🙂

    • Fitnessista says:

      it was so good. i LOVE tempeh, so i try to just have it moderately. signed up for rewards too 🙂

  19. These look great!

  20. Supposedly, eggplant is also a sensual food for women and according to Ayurvedic tradition, it supports the female glandular system. I love eggplant, but I always end up falling back on Eggplant Parmesan or Baba Ganoush. I’m trying a new recipe for Sweet and Spicy Chicken and Eggplant Stir Fry tomorrow. I will definitely be trying this recipe soon too!

  21. Native Foods desserts suuuuuck. Which is so odd because I’ve never eaten a bad meal there. That being said, I scored a free meal there the other day that included a dessert and the oatmeal cookie sandwich did NOT disappoint.

    • Fitnessista says:

      hahah that makes me feel better. i was confused why a cupcake wasn’t delicious 😉 i’ll try the oatmeal cookie sandwich next time

  22. I made this tonight with everything fresh from the farmer’s market! It was delicious. I replaced the chives and dill with mint though, and sprinkled mint over the whole dish. Highly recommended!

    • Fitnessista says:

      yay, so happy you liked it 🙂 brilliant with the mint, too. while i was making it, i really wish i had fresh mint on hand or at least some fresh parsley

  23. I saw your Native Foods photo on Instagram and it looked amazing! I love that place. My ex boyfriend was the same as the pilot about vegan food. He’d be a good sport and take me to one of my vegan spots for dinner, and devour some HUGE meal, then we’d stop by my mom’s house to say hi afterward, and he’d eat leftover chicken from my family’s dinner. So typical. Okay that actually only happened once, but the point is that he was ALWAYS still hungry after a vegan dinner. Ugh, men. Why can’t they just eat veggies and rice and be happy? By the way, I just have to tell you how much I love reading your blog. You have such a moderate approach to life, and it’s such a nice break from reading blogs that are so anti this or anti that. I recently gave up my vegan diet, and I have a lot of vegan followers on Instagram, and they’ve been dropping like files now that I’ve been posting pictures of eggs and chicken tacos. It’s refreshing to go to a blog where the writer talks about Native Foods and then makes yogurt sauce in the same post. I’ve been hard on myself about giving up my veganism, feeling like I’m eating “bad” food now (which is really not bad at all), but reading your blog relaxes these perfectionist food thoughts. You seem to have such a healthy and happy life, and that’s what I want one day! (I’m only 23 right now, but you’re definitely my cyber mama inspiration!) Anyway, just thought you should know what an impact even your simplest posts can have. 🙂

    • Fitnessista says:

      hi jenni,
      glad to know i’m not the only one! haha
      thank you so much for reading and for your kind comment. i definitely knows what it feels like to not fit to a certain mold when it comes to eating, so i just started to own it and know that i’m doing what i enjoy and works best for me right now. i’d love to be vegan, but i’ve tried it, and knew it wasn’t for me. you just have to do YOU 🙂
      thank you for reading and hope you enjoy the rest of your week.
      xoxo

  24. Annie B says:

    Native Foods! It’s been my fave restaurant for 4 years, but unfortunately the closest one to me is a good 300 miles away, but it’s my “must visit” place when I’m in SoCal!

    If you ever take the Pilot, my husband loves the Chicken Run Ranch burger and sweet potato fries, and finds it pretty filling 😉 Also, for dessert- the Peanut Butter Parfait. Be still me heart.

    • Fitnessista says:

      i think he’d like that!
      i was checking out the parfait and decided on the cupcake instead! i know for next time now 🙂

  25. I love eggplant so much!! I am allergic to dairy but I might try this and just top it with a vinaigrette salad dressing? I’d definitely use olives!
    I just like to roast it in the oven in thin slices with generous (too much??) olive oil on them so it gets crispy and delish. Salt, pepper, italian spice grinder. Perfect!
    My man does Not like eggplant at all.. except this one time I made a vegan eggplant parm from mama pea and he was in love with it 🙂 Guess (imitation) cheese and pasta are always the answer to veggies ha.

  26. I LOVE eggplant fires. I usually make them in the summer on the BBQ and top them with cherry tomatoes & mozza. YUM

  27. I’m obsessed with eggplant. I just bought one this morning—going to make this, ASAP. Thanks for the inspiration : )

  28. never cared for eggplant but I need to make an effect to eat it more as I don’t hate it. I love dill so I’m sure I would like this. Like the guy I used to work with said if you know how to cook vegan you can surprise even the meat and potato guys with how good vegan foods can taste!

    • Fitnessista says:

      the pilot will usually think it’s delicious, but i think he doesn’t like the fact that vegan food is usually expensive and doesn’t fill him up. (granted, he’s only really tried fancy pants raw vegan restaurants with me)

  29. I LOVE eggplant roasted!!

    Just take whole eggplant, and roast in on the grill for about 45 minutes. the inside become so soft and carmalized, and the outisde of the skin should be just charred. I love eating like that, but it can also be:
    eaten with pita
    topped with pico de gallo, hummus, tahini, etc
    made into baingan bharta!

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