Vegetable Stacks with Tomato-Red Pepper Coulis
You know that one memorable meal that you just can't get out of your head? Mine is a lovely vegetable stack with an incredible sauce that was served to me at (of all things) a banquet hall at a graduation dinner. This dish allowed the vegetables to speak for themselves, but also had this irresistible red sauce that I have never since forgotten. And...I think I finally found the recipe, because this comes very close to that taste I fondly remember! Thank you to Michael Greger/Robin Robertson and their "How Not To Die" cookbook!
This cookbook is a companion to the "How Not To Die" Book. The plan is designed to improve health and prevent disease by including smart activity and nutritional choices, guided by Dr. Greger's "Daily Dozen" (a summary of focusing on exercise and highly nutritive plant food choices). I would make this recipe just for taste, but it's an incredible bonus that it is so high in nutrients!
1 eggplant, ends trimmed off and cut into 4 round slices, each 1/2 inch thick
1 large red onion cut into 4 slices, also 1/2 inch thick
1 large yellow or orange bell pepper, each side cut vertically to make 4 almost-square pieces
4 large portabello mushroom caps, black gills scraped out
1-2 large tomatoes (enough to make 4 slices, also 1/2 inch thick)
3 Tbsp minced red onion
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 roasted red peppers
1 tsp white miso paste
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
fresh parsley (garnish)
The veggie prep on this recipe is really pretty basic, except for the roasted red pepper (more on that in a moment).
The roasted red peppers (which apparently can also be purchased in a jar, but I think that would really change the flavour...?) take a bit more prep:
Blacken the sides of the red pepper by broiling in the oven, or on a grill:
Then, place the blackened peppers in a bowl, cover and leave for 10 minutes:
After 10 (or so) minutes, the skin nearly falls off the pepper. Discard the skin and stem/seeds and you are left with the delicious part of the pepper you need!
Next up, in a preheated oven (425 degrees), arrange eggplant slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes, flipping once halfway through the baking time. After baking time, remove the eggplant slices from this pan and set the prepared pan aside as you will need to use it again later.
On a separate baking sheet lined with parchment paper, arrange the onion slices and bake for 7-8 minutes:
After the 7-8 minutes baking time on the onions, remove the pan from the oven and add the yellow/orange pepper slices, and return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes.
When these are done, the mushroom caps are next. You can use the baking sheet that had the eggplant on it, now that the eggplant slices have been removed from that pan. Place the mushroom caps with the "gill side up" and roast 10 minutes.
Reset the oven to 350 degrees. Now it's time to make the veggie stack. Take the pan with the mushroom caps and start stacking: Mushroom, then eggplant, then onion, then bell pepper slice, then tomato slice. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
While the stacks are in the oven, get the delicious sauce going. Heat 3 Tbsp of water in a skillet over medium heat. Add minced onion, cover and allow to cook for 4 minutes. Then, add the chopped plum tomatoes, roasted (peeled) red peppers, miso, basil, thyme, turmeric and black pepper. Add the cover again and cook for another 5 minutes. Pour the whole thing into a food processor or blender and puree.
Time for plating! Put bed of the sauce on a plate, add a stack, cover with a bit more of the sauce and add the parsley garnish. Yum.
Vegan rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I considered giving this 6 stars, but I don't want to go crazy. There is nothing not to like on this plate. The sauce is amazing and the roasted veggies are simple, yet scrumptious.
Carnivore rating: ⭐⭐⭐ My carnivore does not eat mushrooms, so had a bite without the mushroom. He admitted that probably impacted the flavor significantly, so his rating is likely not that accurate. Please ask your mushroom-loving-carnivore friends to try this and tell me what they think!
Kid rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ My kids liked this, though they kept referring to it as "that burger thing". I guess it kinda looks like a burger...
Summary: lots of steps, but in my opinion, VERY well worth the work!