In the Wicked Kitchen On The Beet: Smoked Eggplant Loins With Beet Blood
It's good to eat Wicked on Halloween. Tis the season to celebrate blood! Dark red, gory plant blood!! Yes, plants can bleed red. Squish an Impossible burger and red plant blood will ooze from the center. Some people like the effect, some don't. We think plant blood is fun. Especially on Halloween, the season of creepy costumes, haunted houses, and horror movies. Muhahaha! The fact is, holidays honoring the dead have always included humor by greeting death with a smile and a laugh. And did you know that plant-based Halloween foods like pumpkins and candy apples have roots in religious traditions of abstaining from meat on this day? True story. So, have some fun this year, by making your own plant-based blood!
Our Beet Blood can shock people (that splatter!), yet the heart of this recipe, like all our recipes, is about flavor. It's about finding Wicked new ways to enjoy plant-based food. Beet Blood is essentially boiled down beet juice with some sugar to thicken it and salt to brighten the taste. Sometimes we swap half the beet juice for red wine, like Merlot, to add complexity. Either way, you end up with a devilishly good sauce that commands attention, whether it's drizzled on grilled eggplant or splattered on a gory Halloween costume.
*Special thanks to Eva Kosmas Flores, the talented photographer who took this bloody apron photograph, which also graces the cover of our Wicked Healthy Cookbook.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Smoked Eggplant Loins With Beet Blood
For Beet Blood
- 2 cups (16 ounces) beet juice
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt
For the Smoked Eggplant
- 4 long skinny Chinese eggplant loins (approximately 8 -12” long each)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp Chinese Five-Spice Powder
- 2 tbsp Kite Hill plain yogurt or another non-dairy yogurt
- 1/4 cup rough chopped hazelnuts
- Sprig of mint, basil or cilantro, to garnish
- A handful of applewood chips for the grill
- For the Beet Blood, whisk everything together in a small saucepot. Bring to a slow simmering boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Let the mixture simmer and reduce in volume by about half, 30 minutes or so. At this point, the consistency should be like thin syrup or warm maple syrup. But don’t taste it—it’s as hot as molten lava!
- Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool just until warm but still pourable, 5 to 10 minutes. Use right away or pour into a glass jar and screw on the lid (it makes about 1 1/4 cups). Refrigerate for up to 1 month. When cold, the consistency will be thicker. Bring to room temperature or slightly warm it before serving.
- For the Eggplant, fire up your charcoal grill to hot and glowing embers.
- Rub sesame oil between your hands like a massage therapist, then rub those eggplants all over to coat. Season with the salt, pepper and five spices, and let sit while the grill heats up.
- Toss a handful of applewood chips on the coals for smoke, then place eggplant loins on grill and close the lid. Grill until the eggplants are soft, easily pierced, and nicely grill-marked on both sides, about 10 minutes total, turning once or twice. Don’t worry if purple color fades.
- Remove from the heat and let sit for a minute before carving.
- Slice into 1-inch thick slices on an angle. Place on platter and begin your art project. First drizzle with a little yogurt, then a couple of tablespoons of the beet blood…now you’re an artist!
- Top with chopped nuts and garnish with fresh herbs. We like to add sliced red chilies too.
Options: To get 2 cups of beet juice, run about 2 1/2 pounds of beets (8 to 10 medium) through a juicer—greens and everything. Or pick up some beet juice at a local juice bar or natural foods store.