Mothers and fathers, you know how it is. You rarely get that time alone together that all couples crave. Most every night, your children are right there with you, so you have to behave yourself. You can’t break loose and do anything that might offend their delicate sensibilities or expose them to something that they’d rather not see. You might send yearning glances at your partner across the dinner table, but you know that that’s all you can do. But when the children get out of the house, that’s when it’s time to go wild, to rip free of the restraints, to…cook something your children won’t eat!
Wednesday night is when my husband and I go a little crazy. E. often attends church with our neighbors, so D. and I take that opportunity to indulge in foods that we know she just won’t eat. Often it’s Indian food or spicy food or, in the case of Pav Bhaji, both. Last Wednesday, I seized the opportunity to make something that D. and I love but E. won’t even try: eggplant pancakes.
In a way, I can’t blame her. After all, they’re made of eggplant, a vegetable she has trouble with under the best of circumstances, but to add insult to injury, the eggplant is pureed and made up to resemble an ugly, gray version of one of her favorite foods, pancakes. It’s no good telling her that these are savory pancakes, not meant to be eaten with syrup like her favorite breakfast. She just won’t touch them. Which is fine, really—more for us!
In this recipe, plain old eggplant pancakes get the fancy treatment: I layered them with spinach and topped them with a simple fresh tomato sauce. Be aware that this makes only three servings—and they’re not huge servings, at that. Consider adding a salad and a grain or bean dish to your menu to complete the meal.
Eggplant Pancakes Florentine
- 1 medium-large eggplant
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup chickpea flour (or other flour)
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon ground flax
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- generous grating black pepper
- olive oil spray if needed
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 medium tomatoes finely chopped
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust spiciness to taste)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/8 cup pinenuts
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
- 4 cup baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons water or vegetable broth
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Trim off the end and cut the eggplant in half lengthwise. Place the two halves cut-side down on a baking sheet. Bake until completely soft, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool until easy to handle.
- Scoop the pulp from the eggplant halves into a food processor. Add all remaining ingredients and puree until fairly smooth.
- Spray a non-stick skillet with olive oil, if you think it might stick, and heat to medium-high. When it’s hot, spoon in the eggplant batter using about 3 tablespoons per pancake. Cook until the bottoms are browned and pancakes appear firm. (There’s really no way to tell this but to try to turn one over; if it crumples, it’s not ready.) Turn over carefully and brown the other side, pressing lightly with a spatula from time to time. Place on a platter and keep warm.
- Bring a non-stick saucepan to medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté just a few seconds. Add remaining ingredients to the pan and cook until tomatoes soften. Keep warm.
- Over medium heat, toast the pine nuts in a skillet until they start to become golden. Add the garlic and sauté for one more minute. Add the spinach, basil, and water, cover the pan, and cook just until spinach wilts, about 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately.
- To assemble, place a pancake on a plate. Put 1/3 of the spinach on top of it and top with another pancake. Spoon 1/3 of the tomato sauce over the top and serve.
Nutritional info is approximate.
AnonymousAugust 18, 2009 at 11:40 am
These were good. They're not a good stand alone dish, but combined with the spinach and tomatoes, they were great. I used swiss chard since I had it on hand and cherry tomatoes. In the future I might top with bruchetta or a tapenade.
AnonymousJanuary 28, 2010 at 4:01 pm
this was delicious! except even for a garlic lover like me, three cloves of garlic was a bit too much. (i used a 1.25 pound eggplant)
kimJuly 10, 2010 at 8:46 pm
would this work if I used real onion instead of powder?
SusanVJuly 10, 2010 at 9:09 pm
Just be careful that you don’t add too much or the pancakes will not hold together.
Zestful LouJune 11, 2011 at 6:27 pm
I just made these but, for the life of me, could not get them to hold together when I flipped ’em. They tasted great and I’m trying to figure out what else to do with the batter! I’ll think of something….
kieraMarch 10, 2012 at 5:52 pm
I would like to print this recipie
am I missing something?
Susan VoisinMarch 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm
I just added a printer page for you.
Radhika SarohiaAugust 14, 2012 at 2:42 pm
Made this recently, and the eggplant fritter part came out great
I didn’t have the other ingredients on hand so I just topped with avocado
Thanks for the recipe
MurielAugust 14, 2012 at 4:58 pm
By mistake, I sent you a message which shows up on my Facebook page. Sorry. I am a new nofatvegan for health reasons and have quite,y been following you. Suddenly this new site showed up which seems to be recipes from a lot of people and you don’t seem to show up as much. I really miss your gentle and friendly style plus your recipes on your old ite. Am I missing so etching?
BarbaraNovember 9, 2012 at 5:53 pm
Thank you so much for this recipe. It is delicious (and beautiful)!
MelApril 28, 2013 at 6:11 am
I found the pancakes hard to flip – kept sticking to the pan and needed quite a bit of oil. Ended up spreading the pancake batter onto baking paper and cooking them under the grill – turned out yummy and crispy! Served with plenty of lentils and stir fried veggies. Delicious – thank you for this recipe! 🙂
CarolineSeptember 8, 2013 at 3:11 pm
Great recipe! To save time I sliced the eggplant and cooked it in the microwave. Kept the peel on for nutrition. Delicious recipe.
RachelJuly 19, 2014 at 7:25 pm
When I made this it all tasted fantastic except the pancakes turned out to be a bit gummy and raw on the inside while the top and bottom were brown. Any ideas why this could be or are they supposed to be like this?
Sarah DemersOctober 9, 2014 at 2:19 pm
I made these last night with quinoa flour but it left kind of a weird aftertaste. We still enjoyed the recipe, but I wonder what other gluten-free flour you might suggest? I was thinking buckwheat would be too assertive, but maybe oat, corn flour/corn meal, almond meal, or coconut flour? Unfortunately I can’t have wheat flour, rice flour, or any bean flours 🙁
Also, we were out of tomatoes so I sauteed some orange & yellow bell peppers with shallot for the topping, which worked well. Plated with some steamed snap peas, this made for a very colorful dish!