Eggplant, or aubergine, forms the creamy base for this dairy free pasta sauce but you’d never guess it! Paired with chicken and topped with zucchini noodles, or zoodles, this makes a filling and delicious meal.
Living with four children in an apartment, as is our current situation, is far from my ideal. I eagerly look forward to having a yard someday. There are, however, positives to most circumstances.
The other day I was in the kitchen and the shouts of children outside brought a smile to my face. It reminded me of the good ol’ days before technology, you know, the ones when kids walked barefoot to school uphill both ways after milking cows in the morning.
We live in a small and safe neighbourhood and during these summer days the older girls often play outside for hours. Living on a street with three apartment buildings, there are usually other kids to play with. I also appreciate that there usually aren’t fancy toys involved; their play mostly centres around a climbable cherry tree, a ball, or some sidewalk chalk.
If we lived in a house with a yard, I think we would be a little more isolated, and I would have to be more organized about arranging playdates. This is the lazy mom’s way of getting her kids to socialize.
The only annoying thing is the loud obnoxious buzzer. BZZZZZZ “Mom, can you throw down a water bottle?” BZZZZZ “Mom, I need to go pee!” BZZZZZZ “Mom, I’m hungry!” The buzzer is right next to the room where the twins nap and I’m always terrified that it will wake them up, although I don’t think it actually has.
In the evening, they only come in for bedtime with reluctance. “Pleeeeaaase, just a few more minutes!” I admit that I’m reluctant to call them inside as well – who wants to tell kids they can’t play outside? I consider the outdoors a panacea for children – it provides exercise and a place to run off all that energy, improves their mood, and is the best source of vitamin D. It gives me a little peace, too.
I first saw a recipe for a creamy pasta sauce based on eggplant over at Minimalist Baker, who has amazing recipes and photos. Her recipe is a vegan cheese sauce; it’s so delicious and I quickly realized how useful this would be for dairy free eaters like ourselves.
My oldest hates eggplant due to the texture, and when she saw me cutting up eggplant she declared she was NOT going to eat it. In this form, however, she had seconds and rhapsodized over how good it was.
- 2 medium eggplants
- 2 tsp (unrefined) salt
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk (or other milk alternative, or chicken broth)
- 2 cups/400g cooked chicken (any part, cooked any way)
- 2 med-small zucchini (1kg/2lbs)
- extra olive oil
- Slice eggplant lengthwise 1/2 inch/1 cm thick. Sprinkle both sides liberally with salt and leave for 20 min to sweat out extra water and bitterness (or for as long as you happen to leave it).
- Make zucchini noodles with a julienne peeler or other vegetable noodle making apparatus.
- Rinse off eggplant and dry. Place on a baking sheet, brush with olive oil, and bake about 5 min each side, until the eggplant is soft.
- Place hot eggplant inside something that doesn't breath (tinfoil, plastic bag, etc) and leave it to sweat for 5 min. Take out the eggplant and peel.
- Put eggplant, salt, garlic, olive oil, and almond milk (or other liquid) into a blender and blend until smooth.
- You then have two options. My favourite method is to toss the zoodles with a drizzle of olive oil and combine with the sauce and chicken into a baking dish and bake for 10-15 min, until the dish is warmed through and the noodles are al dante, i.e. no longer crisp but not soggy. It's easy, but not very pretty.
- Alternatively, you can steam the noodles for 2 min to soften and heat up the eggplant sauce with the chicken in a small pot. Add a bit of liquid to achieve the desired consistency (when you bake the sauce with the zoodles, the zoodles release some extra water). Toss the zoodles with some olive oil and serve with the sauce spooned over top.
- Eat and enjoy!