Saturday, March 7, 2015


Inspired by finding purple potatoes, last week I collected a basketful of purple veggies and fruit, just for the pleasure of putting them all together. I gave you recipes for purple potatoes and for beets then (scroll down to that blog for the recipes). Now I’ve got the eggplant, red onions, red cabbage and purple plums to use up!

Like the potatoes and beets, these vegetables are also good sources of the antioxidant anthocyanin which helps boost the immune system and regulate blood pressure. 

Eggplant pudding bakes in a shell of eggplant skins.

Eggplant Timbale 
Cuajado de Berenjenas 

Eggplant, unlike the other purple vegetables, is only purple on the outside. The interior flesh is a creamy color. So, I chose a recipe that uses the skins to create a case for a creamy, cheesy pudding, called a cuajado.  Made with vegetables, eggs, and cheese, the cuajados are precursors of the Spanish tortilla made of eggs and potatoes. Cuajados come from Spain’s medieval Sephardic Jewish culture, where an all-dairy meal (no meat) was served on some holidays. In fact, modern-day Sephardim call these meatless meals by the Spanish word, desayuno, or break-fast—meaning a substantial brunch or lunch.

This eggplant timbale makes a delightful brunch dish or an elegant starter. It looks quite special, with its shiny, purple-black skin. I made it with whole-wheat bread crumbs and served it, with a tangy sauce, as a vegetarian main.

I used the microwave to cook the eggplant. They can also be baked, roasted under the broiler or over charcoal. Do not let the skins char.

Serves 6 to 8 as a starter; 4 as a main course.

3-4 medium eggplant (2 to 2 ½ pounds)
1 tablespoon grated onion
3 eggs
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
2 cups grated cheese (such as semi-cured Manchego)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon vinegar
Olive oil to grease the pan

Cut off stems from the eggplant. Pierce them through lengthwise with a skewer. Place on a plate and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Remove and turn the eggplant. Microwave on high 4 minutes more, or until they are soft. (It may be necessary to microwave them in two or three turns.)

Remove and allow to cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Cut the eggplant open lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, reserving the skins in one piece. Purée the flesh in a blender or food processor with the onion and eggs.

Place the puréed eggplant in a bowl and fold in the breadcrumbs, cheese, salt, pepper and vinegar.

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Line casserole with the skins.
Oil the bottom and sides of a 2-quart ovenproof casserole. Place the eggplant skins, shiny side down, on the bottom of the casserole, overlapping them slightly and allowing them to extend partway up the sides. Spoon the eggplant and cheese mixture into the casserole, smoothing the top. Cover with foil. Place in a larger pan and add boiling water to half its depth. Carefully place in preheated oven.

Bake the timbale until set and a skewer comes out clean when tested, about 60 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Loosen the sides of the timbale. Place a serving plate on top and carefully invert the timbale onto the plate.

Serve the timbale warm or cold.

Red Cabbage Slaw
Ensalada de Col Lombarda

Red cabbage slaw has apples and toasted cumin.

Serves 6 as a side dish.

½ pound red cabbage (approx. ¼ of a whole cabbage)
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 apples, peeled and cored
2 carrots, peeled
1 shallot, minced
½ teaspoon cumin seed
½ cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pomegranate seeds (optional)

Shred the cabbage.
Trim away the core of the cabbage and discard any tough outer leaves. Shred the cabbage with a knife and place in a bowl. Add the salt and combine. Allow the cabbage to set 15 minutes.

Place the lemon juice in a food processor bowl. Use the coarse grater attachment to grate the apples and carrots. Add them to the cabbage with the minced shallot.

Toast the cumin in a small skillet just until fragrant. Place it in a small bowl. Whisk in the yogurt, vinegar and oil. Combine the dressing with the slaw. Allow the slaw to marinate, refrigerated, at least one hour or up to 24 hours.

If desired, serve garnished with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds.

Purple plums for spicy chutney.
Purple Plum Chutney

5-6 purple plums
2 slices lemon, chopped
1 shallot, minced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon raisins
Chile, to taste, minced
¼ cup vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon mustard seed
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons sugar or to taste

Remove pits from the plums and chop them into a saucepan. Add the chopped lemon, shallot, ginger, raisins, chile, vinegar, salt, mustard seed, water and sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer until plums are soft, about 15 minutes. The chutney will thicken as it cools.

Place in a clean jar and store refrigerated.

Serve this easy relish with roast turkey, pork or lamb.
Red onions are more pungent than yellow ones.
The Purple People Eater’s special! Purple-red onions are the garnish for  turkey salad with red potatoes, beets, purple slaw and red-leafed lettuce.


  1. Thanks for the purple prose, Janet. I have had to limit my intake of green vegetables in the last few years because I take a blood thinner (the Vitamin K in greenies interferes with the meds) which has left me bereft. I'll start investigating red cabbage, etc.

    1. Lee: Bereft of greens! That's too bad. Better check if the purple veggies also are high in Vit K. I finished up my purple binge with a fantastic borscht soup--beets, red cabbage, red onions, purple potatoes and, well, ordinary carrots.