4 teaspoons sesame oil
One 12-ounce eggplant, cut into bite-size cubes (5 cups)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 medium red onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
½-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
1 orange or red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar (may substitute fresh lemon juice)
2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari (may substitute coconut aminos), or more as needed
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (see note)
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
5 large Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
½ cup chopped raw cashews
Cooked brown rice, for serving
Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the eggplant cubes, sprinkle with the salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the cubes are browned and tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to a bowl.
Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in the same skillet, over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion, garlic and ginger; cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the bell pepper and cook until it loses a little of its crunch, 1 to 2 minutes.
Return the eggplant to the pan, along with the vinegar, tamari and cayenne; cook, gently tossing, for 2 to 3 minutes, so the flavors meld and the pan juices form a sauce. Taste, and add more tamari, as needed. Remove from the heat, then stir in the basil.
Sprinkle the dates and cashews on top. Serve warm, over brown rice.
Note: For a less-spicy version, reduce the cayenne to 1/8 teaspoon.
Nutrition | Per serving: 220 calories, 6 g protein, 25 g carbohydrates, 12 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 490 mg sodium, 6 g dietary fiber, 14 g sugar
Adapted from "Ageless Vegan: The Secret to Living a Long and Healthy Plant-Based Life," by Tracye McQuirter (Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2018).