Roasted Eggplant Tapenade + Pasta Sauce

Tapenade made from roasted eggplant is so easy and delicious
Roasted eggplant tapenade also makes a delicious pasta sauce.

Yesterday was summery here in Southern California. In a Meg Ryan breezy kind of way- not in a sultry no air peel off your jeans, cowboy boots and socks Jennifer Lopez in U Turn kind of way. Nope. Sunny and warm it was- but not hot like New Mexico.

We've moved into our sublet (above one of Santa Monica's most famous vegan restos). The Honda is Cuisinart and bread machine and wooden spoon free again- after lugging armloads of bags and boxes (via elevator, thank goddess) up to our cozy fourth floor cutie. Yesterday we walked to the ocean, inhaling deep. In truth? I am exhausted. Running on gluten-free fumes. Too tired to shop or cook or make even the tiniest decision, never mind attempt to be clever and insightful and entertaining in a recipe post.

And so, faithful reader, I hope you'll forgive me for reprising a recipe from my abundant archives. It's a good one. I promise. A delightful roasted eggplant tapenade. Serve it as a spread on wedges of gluten-free focaccia. Slather on your favorite pizza shell. Or add it to hot cooked pasta.

A bowl of gluten free eggplant tapenade spread
Roasted eggplant tapenade.

Roasted Eggplant Tapenade and Pasta Sauce Recipe


My decades-long mainstay appetizer hummus is currently on my off-limits list (due to the whole legume/bean issue I suddenly seem to be experiencing). So I needed an alternative dip. Something besides salsa). Something garlicky. I decided to whip up a tapenade. And by the way, this makes a fabulous quick pasta sauce.

Ingredients:

To roast:

2 smallish eggplants- you know, just right, not too big (or you'll be eating tapenade for breakfast lunch and dinner)
Sea salt
1/2 red onion
5 cloves of garlic (what can I say?)
4 plum or Roma tomatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar- or use lemon juice if you like
Dried or fresh Italian herbs- oregano, thyme, marjoram, basil, parsley

To assemble:

1/2 cup ripe olives
1-2 teaspoon agave nectar
1 heaping tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon or so chopped fresh parsley, for serving

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Peel the eggplants and cut them lengthwise into four pieces each. Lay them in a roasting pan and sprinkle both sides of the eggplant with sea salt. Set them aside to let the salt do its thing (salting the eggplant draws out the moisture and bitterness; at least that's what they tell me).

Meanwhile, roughly chop the onion and garlic. Halve the tomatoes.

When the eggplant is weeping- about 10 to 15 minutes- blot with a paper towel to remove the excess moisture. Cut up the slices a bit. Add the onion pieces, garlic and tomatoes. Drizzle it all with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Stir with a wooden spoon to coat.

Face the tomatoes cut side up. Sprinkle the whole shebang with dried herbs (no need to waste fresh herbs for this roasting process).

Roast in the oven for an hour or more, as needed. The eggplant should be very tender. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool a bit.

Spoon the eggplant mixture into a food processor bowl; add the olives and agave nectar; cover and pulse until the mixture is finely diced- or you can make it less chunky and puree it. I like mine with some texture.

Scoop it out into a bowl and add the capers and chopped fresh parsley. Taste test for seasoning adjustments- more salt? Vinegar? Olive oil? Some pepper? Cover and chill until serving.

I like this tapenade best at room temperature; so I took it out of the fridge about fifteen minutes before serving.

Serve with Parmesan Crisps or easy Brown Rice Tortilla Chips or Buttermilk Flatbread. Grilled slices of focaccia style bread would be awesome, too.

Also- see how I make an easy gluten-free focaccia using a Gluten-Free Pantry French Bread Mix.

Serves 6.

Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

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Karina's Note:

This tapenade is fabulous as a pasta sauce. We toss it with hot gluten-free penne. And scrape our plates clean.





Karina