So here I am going on and on about how much I love fall and I’m ready for chunky sweaters and boots and scarves and cooler weather…and I wake up this morning and it’s already hot and humid.
Funny how that works, huh? But it got me to thinking. As hot and humid as it was today (high of 95 – ugh), I realized that I’m not ready to let go of summer just yet. Yes, I love fall. I love the colors. I love the weather. I love huddling around a crackling fire at my parents house with a nice toasty marshmallow hanging off the end of a stick that will ultimately end up being fried to a crisp because I’m horrible at toasting marshmallows. But I also love summer – long days, sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine watching a gorgeous sunset with The Husband, going for runs in shorts and a tank top (as opposed to the multiple layers I will be wearing come January!).
And I love adorable little appetizers like these tomato basil pesto eggplant roll-ups!
Aren’t they adorable? And they look so summery with the nice green spinach and the pop of red from a roasted red pepper strip on top. And eggplant! I love eggplant. Although to be honest, I’m not sure if eggplant is a summer vegetable or a winter vegetable. Typically when I think of eggplant I think of winter – usually in the form of eggplant parmesan or a big bowl of ratatouille with crusty bread. But there are days when eggplant makes me think of summer – usually in the form of chilled eggplant dip with cruidites or something like these roll-ups.
(By the way, I just googled “when is eggplant in season” and found out it’s actually a summer and early fall vegetable. So basically, this is the perfect time for an eggplant recipe! Win!)
By the way, did you know that the eggplant is botanically classified a berry? And it’s referred to as a fruit? Wikipedia told me so.
Anyway. Ever since we roasted some eggplant rounds with the sundried tomato basil pesto I made I’ve been craving the flavor combination. So this past weekend I found myself with some free time and an eggplant and, well, this is what happened!
The best thing is that these little appetizers (I would definitely make them as an appetizer or a side dish – because unless you eat an entire eggplant worth, I don’t think they’ll serve as a meal. At least not for The Husband and me.) can be eaten hot or cold! The Husband waited only long enough for me to take the pictures before he swooped in and we gobbled them up. But I had a couple extra slices of eggplant left over and filled them up and took them in my lunch the next day and they tasted just as good cold!
Tomato Basil Pesto Eggplant Roll-Ups
makes approximately 8-10 roll-ups (depending on the size of your eggplant and how thin you cut your slices)
prep time: 10 minutes
cook time: 10-15 minutes
1 medium to large eggplant
baby spinach leaves
roasted red pepper strips
Slice your eggplant into thin slices – the thinner the better. Next, brush the slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. (Tip: use more olive oil than you think you’ll need – you’ll need it to grill the slices). Next, heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Working in batches, grill your eggplant slices evenly on both side and set aside. Once cooked, spread some pesto on each slice and top with some spinach leaves. Roll the eggplant and garnish with red pepper. (Alternatively you can add some red pepper slices inside the roll-ups). Serve hot or cold.