Bayou Eggplant and Cauliflower Pasta
Serves 4 to 6
1 medium eggplant, cut into ½-inch slices
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 ½ tablespoons seasoned, Cajun seasoning salt (such as Emeril’s Essence), divided
1 medium onion, minced
1 habanero chili, seeded and minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups unsweetened plain vegan milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ medium head cauliflower, cut into florets and steamed
1 medium tomato, diced
1 pound linguine, cooked al dente
½ cup chopped green onions, green parts only
1. Put the eggplant slices in a large bowl, sprinkle them with 1 teaspoon salt, and allow them to sit until they have released some of their moisture, about 20 minutes. Pat the slices with a paper towel to remove the moisture and some of the salt. Dice the slices into ½-inch pieces.
2. Heat a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the eggplant and ½ tablespoon of the seasoning salt. Cook and stir the eggplant until golden. Remove it from the pan and set aside.
3. Return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, onion, and habanero. Cook and stir the onion and habanero for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and cornstarch. Add it to the pan with the onion mixture along with the remaining 1 tablespoon of seasoning salt, cooked eggplant, steamed cauliflower, diced tomato, and cooked linguine. Cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle with the green onions and serve.
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