Most dinners at my house are bowl-food. It’s been soups and stews all Winter long. But now that it’s warming up I’m digging on rice noodle bowls like this one, featuring roasted barbecue eggplant, asparagus, crispy mushrooms and a sunny spin on romesco sauce.
I made this particular eggplant noodle bowl for a friends birthday dinner last week. It was a hit!
Honestly I was a little nervous that the birthday girl wouldn’t like it seeing that she is an omnivore known for her love of bacon. But thankfully she loved it!
Ever since then my golden beet romesco has come to be known solely as “that sauce.” As in: “Hey let’s go out to dinner but actually all I really want is that sauce.” And “I will drag my butt across town to watch movies with you if we can dip sweet potato fries in that sauce.”
Clearly my sauce skills are a perk of being friends with me, ha!
Anyway, beyond the sunny sauce, this big bowl of goodness was born out of my desire to consume boat loads of asparagus, eggplant and noodles all in one go. I have to say, I think this dinner bowl fits the bill nicely.
It’s so good that I’ve put it on weekly rotation! I never put sauces on rotation. There’s always something new to test, so why would I? But I can’t get enough of this sunshiny twist on romesco!
To make the sauce you roast yellow beet, yellow peppers and garlic all on one pan until they’re sweet and tender. Then you throw it all into a blender along with cashew butter, olive oil and apple cider vinegar.
It’s tangy, bright, earthy, sweet, creamy and salty. And with the help of black pepper it gets a nudge of heat.
I throw it on big noodle bowls or grain bowls most often. But it’s also a fantastic dip for fries, chips, raw veggies…. If you can dip it, dip it in this!
The barbecue eggplant is simple and fabulous as well. Using my beloved salt/squeeze/fat/heat method, it’s gets that meltingly tender quality that I generally only get in restaurants.
First you salt the sliced eggplant for 15-30 minutes. Then rinse the salt off and squeeze the extra liquid out of the eggplant. Add it to a sheet pan and toss it generously with olive oil. Bake on high heat, douse in sauce, bake again. VOILA! Saucy, melty, delicious eggplant.
And I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to throw loads of asparagus into this eggplant noodle bowl! Plus some local shiitakes fried in ghee. I think the overall combo of sauce + bbq eggplant + asparagus + mushrooms + noodles is dreamy.
But if you’re not into asparagus you could steam broccoli, cauliflower or kale instead. And you could sub out mushrooms for tofu, beans or your protein of choice. I want you to feel empowered to make this bowl your own!
Let me know if you make this for dinner! Hope you guys enjoy.
Oh! And if anybody tries this eggplant method grilled instead of baked, let me know! I haven’t tried it yet but I bet it would be delicious. xoxo — Renee
p.s. Thanks to my bandmate Annabeth for being my hand model for this shoot!
Thanks to Vitamix for sponsoring this post! The blender featured is the Ascent 2500. It has a latch-on top, different speed settings and timer settings for ice cream, smoothies and hot soup. And it’s pretty easy to clean. It’s ridiculously convenient seeing that I use my blender between 1 and 10 times a day! And it’s a huge upgrade from the cheap blenders I’ve used over the years, that seem to break once a year with the amount of wear and tear I put on them. But not this bad boy! Definitely a solid investment. As always, all opinions & words are authentically my own. I was not paid to offer a positive review.