Most of you may not know from my last name, or really anything about my physical appearance, but I do indeed have a good bit of Italian in me. And with that comes a soft spot for Italian and Italian-American cuisines. I’ve been to Italy before, and it was like a dream. But to be fair though I was on vacation and this was before I started addressing my GI issues- think copius amounts of sugar, carbs, and dairy.
I’ve since figured out pretty quick that “typical” Italian food is, hmm how should I put this, damn near impossible if you’re on a restrictive diet – like an Autoimmune Paleo Protocol, SCD, GAPS, or Low FODMAPs diet. And I say this because “Italian” food is normally thought to be things like pasta dishes, panino, cannoli, gelato, cheeses, etc. Truth be told, there’s a lot more authentic stuff out there that’s “Italian,” and I find focusing on that easily makes up for not being able to eat a plate of spaghetti and meatballs.
I’ve had great success cooking grain and dairy-free Italian inspired fare. I often make zucchini noodle “zoodles” with a Bolognese sauce, pine nut and dairy free pesto, and traditional roasts like porchetta on special occasions. Also, if you’ve never heard of zucchini or cashew “cheese,” that’s something I’d look into. Nuts work GREAT as a cheese substitute. If you think about it, some cheeses as taste nutty (and vice versa). I think out of all nuts, dehydrated walnuts or dehydrated cashews are the PERFECT cheese substitutes. Definitely all stuff I’ll have to post later in this blog’s life, btws.
This eggplant-tomato mash goes great heaped on a plate as a side dish for pretty much anything. You could have it with seafood (salmon, shrimp, or lightly cooked calamari- not breaded and fried of course) or a Bolognese. You could mix it up and do it with grilled chicken or steak. OR for an excellent all veg option: dress up plane zoodles and mix in crumbled raw or dehydrated nuts for some texture and sustenance.
WARNING: I should also mention how freakin’ easy this is to whip up.
Chop up some eggplant. Toss it in a pan with olive oil and garlic. Let it sit for a couple minutes.
Stir in boxed or canned diced tomatoes and spices, put a lid on it, and soon it will be steaming on your plate ready to be nommed.
Vale, let’s go.
- 2 cups of diced eggplant (abt. 2 medium sized, purple eggplants)
- 1 box/can of diced tomatoes (about 26 ounces)
- Optional: minced garlic (as many cloves as you see fit)
- 1 TBSP. olive oil (garlic infused if ommiting garlic)
- 1 tsp. salt
- A heavy hand of freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 TBSP. dried oregano
- 1 TBSP. dried basil
- 1 tsp. rosemary
- Optional step one: Heat a large skillet pan over medium heat and throw in minced garlic and sauteé for 30 seconds- 1 minute.
- Chop up your eggplant. First, cut into discs, then cut strips, and from there cube it up into about 1/2 inch. cubes.
- Heat a large skillet pan over medium heat (if skipping the garlic), add olive oil, and toss in the eggplant (otherwise toss in your eggplant with the garlic). Set a lid on it and let it cook about 5 minutes. Be careful not to cook it too long as it might burn.
- Take the lid off, pour in your box/can of diced tomatoes, all of the dry spices, and give it a good stir. Make sure errythang is talking to each other. Set a lid back on and reduce to a low-simmer.
- Cook for 45-50 minutes, covered, stirring occassionally. If you want a chunkier mash I suggest you cook it less. If you want a mashier mash, cook it more. Not rocket science, amigo, just take the lid off and have a look at it once in a while.
- Serve this with literally ANYTHING, or just eat it with a spoon straight out of the pan. Kidding… but I’ve been tempted to in the past you feel me?