Sure, it sounds crazy to heat up a hot summer kitchen to roast our farmers market vegetables. But a fridge brimming with containers of roasted eggplant, onions, peppers and squash practically guarantees phenomenal salads, omelets, grain bowls, sandwiches and pasta dishes. To say nothing of savory snacks at the ready.
So, we gather, prep and roast early in the morning in preparation for the meals ahead. When cooler heads prevail, those roasted goodies turn into lunchtime thrillers and dinner inspirations.
Roasted eggplant always inspires - especially when paired with za'atar, a Middle Eastern seasoning blend made from sesame seeds, sumac, oregano, thyme and other herbs. Sprinkle it on generously with a bit of olive oil before roasting. The whole kitchen will smell wonderful.
Mostly, I serve roasted eggplant and other vegetables warm or at room temperature seasoned simply with a shower of fresh herbs. This summer, a quick, nondairy, yet creamy dressing, made from tahini (sesame seed paste), fresh lemon juice and garlic, changes things up a bit.
For a meatless main course, I stir the tahini dressing into roasted eggplant along with garlicky whole wheat couscous. Alternatively, I'll serve the dressing over grilled or broiled fish fillets or chicken cutlets with the roasted vegetables on the side.