February 10, 2021

Steamy Delight: Vegan Root Veggies & Eggplant. {Recipe}

Vegan Root veggies and Eggplant

Vegan Root veggies and Eggplant too. {Recipe}

It’s about to get hot and steamy in here!

Another lesson learned in the vegan cooking course I am taking, and this one includes no oil for those you use avoiding it. This one did challenge me, well, that’s easy in the kitchen with me.

Steaming is so easy, quick, and helps to maintain the nutrients better than submersion in liquid. However, that is not to say the submerged and boiled does not have its perks. Hot soup for one reason, and I will be making a loaded one soon.

I almost bloopered a couple of times. I forgot I had a steam basket and bought another. You know, the stainless steel lotus ones. They start folded and you gently coax open those petals to fullness—like a lotus rising through the mud to reach for the sun. Okay, this is not a yoga class.

Pick the steam basket that works well for you. Some come with a pot, so you know the lid will fit securely onto the top of the pot. The bamboo stackable baskets look awesome, but I did not need a stack. My small colander fits over the red medium-sized pot I use, but the lid does not create a good seal. So lotus-like one it is.

To get back to the task that I needed and wanted to make. I had three root veggies: sweet potato, red potato, and a gorgeous golden beet. These were left over from the recent recipe I wrote on root veggies. And, I had an adorable eggplant. I decided to do two tasks, one meal. I am pretty sure that is okay with the course chefs.

Ingredients and supplies:

Eggplant: depending on the number of servings, I used the entire eggplant.

Sweet potato: ditto.

Red potato: ditto, again.

Golden beets: yes, ditto, again.

Spices and herbs: rosemary (one twig left intact), dill (fresh and a lot), ginger (fresh and a thumb size), black pepper (ground or grinded).

Tamari: I used low sodium, but soy sauce or coconut liquid aminos work well. The latter has the lowest sodium. Any other liquid could also work, and you might want to change spices and herbs to complement the liquid.

The liquid is important to replace the oil you are not using.

Misc.: Pot, steamer basket, lid, skillet for the sauté, cutting board, chef’s knife, towels, stove, water, spatulas, measuring spoons if that pleases you, stove light, serving dishes and utensils, sense of humor, quiet or background noise,  love, and patience.

Directions:

1. Clean the countertops and stovetop. Especially if you have wandering cats. Remove cats from the kitchen. Good luck with that.

2. Mise en place: gather everything you need and set up your stations.

3. Place good water in the pot, test the basket to make sure water is high enough but that it does not enter the holes in the basket. Remove the basket. Leave pot, no lid on a burner, but do not turn it on yet.

4. Place the skillet on another burner; no lid needed.

5. Start washing, drying if needed, and chopping or neatly dicing your veggies. Bite-size pieces; and keep in mind that denser veggies may need to be a wee bit smaller so that all cooking ends with good consistency. This is where stackable baskets are handy since you can put the heaviest in the bottom basket and stack so that the lightest is on the top of the stack. 

This can be blooper territory. The folding basket is more difficult to put veggies in a good order from bottom to top and get successfully into the hot water. I cheated a tiny bit. Rules state that the basket, filled with the veggies, in this case, the three root veggies, go into the hot water. I put the lid on the pot, waited until it was hot, and just starting past simmer, gently lowered the opened basket and very carefully added the root veggies with densest first. Secured lid.

Success—no burns. Almost bloopered again. Turn the skillet on when you first started the water to heat in the pot. I did not realize how fast these veggies steamed compared to how long they take fully submerged in water.

However, I did rescue the meal from failure. Although, it is through repeated fails we get better.

6. I heated the skillet, added the ginger, one twig of rosemary, and the tamari. Then added the eggplant cubes to the fragrant and hot pan.

You need to be vigilant here; I suggest no dancing and no calf raises.

7. Test the steaming veggies with a sharp knife point for just right. This happens at a much faster warp speed, and now I know. Just got those delights off the burner in time.

8. At the same time, you need to keep moving that eggplant, liquid, and herbs around the skillet so they do not stick nor let the skillet create a burning effect. Charred is not good, so they say.

9. Remove the steamed veggies using tongs or a slotted spoon. I used a silicone spoon-like spatula. Place in a bowl or on a plate, and add any spices. I added fresh dill from my indoor water garden and black pepper. Gently fold it all. Add the eggplant from the no-oil sauté.

10. Garnish with fresh herbs or sauces.

Set your meal on the chosen spot to eat. Remember to give gratitude. My list keeps growing as I continue to learn from the cooking course, books, magazines, recipes written by others, and a host of friends.

No critters were harmed in the making of this meal.

Bonus tip: I made my second steam one-pot using red potato, cauliflower, and green beans and was able to stack them and test for the right doneness. I made a simple soaked-almond sauce to put on the side. Lots of recipes are out there. I will share ones I have worked with to suit my tastes. However, the key is to peel the soaked almonds. It truly changed my okay sauce to a really creamy one on the second attempt.  

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Bonus recipe: Creamy Avocado Coconut Milk Pasta to Cure your Cravings. {Recipe}

For a whole bunch of delicious recipes, scroll through my author page.

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