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Marinated Eggplant with Orzo

A great way to use tender, small eggplants, with the tastiness of soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: dinner, lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Keyword: asian flavors, brown rice, brown sugar, eggplant, garlic, ginger, orzo, soy sauce
Servings: 4
Author: Nicole Coudal

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 1/2 c. Low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 c. Rice vinegar
  • 3 Tb. Light brown sugar
  • 3-4 cloves Garlic, finely minced
  • 1" piece Fresh ginger, peeled & grated (or finely minced)
  • 1/8 tsp. Fresh black pepper

Veggies

  • 6-8 Small/medium eggplant, stems removed, skin-on, cut into 1/2" chunks (if using 1 large Globe eggplant, you may want to peel it since the skin could be tough)
  • 1 medium Red bell pepper, cut into thin strips or small pieces
  • 8-10 Fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium Zucchini, cut into thin strips or small pieces
  • 2 Tb. Vegetable oil (divided)
  • 3-4 Tb. Toasted sesame seeds or chopped green onions (optional, for garnish)

Orzo, brown rice or pasta (prepare according to package directions for 4 servings)

    Instructions

    • Whisk marinade ingredients in a large bowl and allow to sit a few minutes so the brown sugar dissolves.
    • Add eggplant pieces to marinade; mix well. Cover and leave at room temperature about 20 minutes.
    • Prepare orzo (or brown rice or pasta) according to package directions for 4 servings. When cooked, drain and/or set aside and keep warm until ready to combine with veggies.
    • Add vegetable oil to a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add red pepper, zucchini and mushrooms and cook until tender and slightly brown (about 5 minutes). Transfer veggies to a large mixing/serving bowl and cover to keep warm.
    • In the same pan, over medium heat, add 1 Tb. vegetable oil, then eggplant pieces (but leave the marinade in the bowl).
    • Cook and stir eggplant until the edges are brown and pieces are soft (about 5 minutes). Then add 3-4 tablespoons of the marinade, cover the pan, turn off the heat and allow it to sit 8-10 minutes.
    • Transfer the eggplant (and any liquid) to the mixing/serving bowl; add the cooked orzo/rice/pasta. Add several tablespoons of the remaining marinade, mix, taste, and keep adding a little at a time, to taste. Add salt, if needed. Top with toasted sesame seeds or chopped green onions (optional) and serve.

    Notes

    This can be a main course or a side dish, depending on how hungry you are :) 
    If you have leftover marinade, keep it in the fridge for your next batch, or use it with sautéed chicken, fish or veggies.
    Don't feel limited to red pepper, zucchini & mushroom - use whatever you have or prefer.