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Eggplant Caviar

Ease of Preparation: Moderate

Cook Time: 1 hr

Servings: makes 1 1/2 - 2 cups

Recipe By: Beverly Lynn Bennett

From:  The Vegan Chef
Used with permission of Beverly Lynn Bennett

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Eggplant Caviar

Ingredients
1 pound eggplant
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup green pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/3 cup green onion, sliced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons black olives, sliced
Directions
Using a fork, prick the skin of the eggplant in a few places. Place the eggplant on a non-stick cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until soft and starting to collapse. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and set aside to cool.

In a non-stick skillet, sauté the mushrooms and green peppers in the olive oil for 5 minutes. Add the green onion and garlic, and sauté an additional 3-5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Allow vegetables to cool for 5 minutes.

Carefully remove the stem, and cut the eggplant in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrape the soft flesh of the eggplant into a food processor or blender. Discard the skin of the eggplant. Add the sautéed vegetables, along with the lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and blend until smooth. Taste and add additional lemon juice, salt, or pepper, if needed. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl.

Place the pine nuts on a cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Decorate the top of the eggplant caviar with the sliced olives and sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts. Serve with your choice of vegetables, crackers, bread slices, or pitas.

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