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Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

I think we’re being taken over by fried green tomatoes. I’ve never had fried green tomatoes before. I went to the farmers market, and there was a lovely and beautiful looking pile of green tomatoes. I had to buy them. HAD TO.

So I get home and I ask my twitter pals if they’re interested in a FGT post. A lot of people responded they were, and then I was led to Susan’s latest post of baked green tomatoes. Then I found out my landlord made some for dinner that same night. At least two more people said they’ve been thinking of making them. Clearly this is a conspiracy.

A tasty conspiracy.

As I said earlier, I’ve never had fried green tomatoes. I love tomatoes, but only when cooked. The idea of eating under ripe tomatoes on purpose freaked me out a little. But then I thought, hey, these are fried? What could possibly taste bad after frying?

Green Tomatoes

When shopping for green tomatoes, it’s important to pick up under ripe, very firm, completely green tomatoes. They should be about the same size as a regular tomato. Smaller green tomatoes will taste bitter, and there are varieties of tomatoes (particularly heirloom varieties) that can be green and ripe at the same time, so make sure you don’t rely on color alone.

It’s a little disconcerting when you cut into a tomato and it sounds like a crisp apple, but that’s exactly what you want for this recipe.

After frying, they’re surprisingly tasty. They are sweet and tangy, still firm, and juicy–almost citrusy. The salty breading sets them off really nicely, and I topped them with a homemade balsamic glaze. They’re perfect for a light summer lunch or dinner when paired with some delicate baby greens, but they’re easy enough to make as a side dish.

Fried Green Tomatoes
Makes about 20 slices

4 Large, Under Ripe Green Tomatoes
Oil, for frying (peanut or canola)
Baby Greens, for serving
Cherry Tomatoes, for decoration
Balsamic Reduction (see recipe)

Breading Dry Mix
2 Cups Corn Flour/Meal
1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Tbs plus 1 tsp Salt
1 Tbs Dried Italian Seasoning
1 tsp Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

Breading Wet Mix
1 Tbs Ener-G Egg Replacer Powder
3 Tbs Boiling Water
1/2 Cup Non-Dairy Milk

Core the green tomatoes and slice in to 1/2″ slices. If desired, season each side lightly with salt and pepper.

Green Tomatoes

Lay tomato slices on paper towels and pat dry.

Mix together the dry seasoning mix and set aside.

Combine the boiling water and egg replacer powder and whisk until thick and foamy. Add to a separate large bowl. Whisk in the non-dairy milk until thick and frothy. Set aside. You should now have two bowls, one with the dry breading mix and one with the wet.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet until hot but not smoking with 1/4 to 1/2″ of oil in the bottom.

Dredge the tomato slices, four at a time, in the wet batter mix. Then place them into the bowl with the dry batter mix, pressing to make sure it sticks. Fry four at a time for 3 minutes a side, or until golden. Drain on paper towels.

Stack the fried green tomatoes on baby greens with sliced cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with balsamic reduction. Serve warm, while breading is still crispy.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Eggplant and Pine Nut Rolled Lasagna

Eggplant and Pinenut Rolled Lasagna

I tend to get my fresh vegetables on Tuesday, so by the time Sunday rolls around, I’m down a lot of produce. I wanted to make something yummy for dinner, but the only fresh veggie I had was an eggplant. My husband has undertaken a massive pantry operation (we have synched eLists and everything now), so I knew I had lasagna noodles, canned tomatoes, and pine nuts in with our non-perishables.

I’ve been wanting to play around with the idea of rolled lasagna for a while. It’s fun, easy, and not as messy to serve. I’ve found that vegan lasagna falls apart even more readily than its dairy counterpart since it doesn’t have solidifying cheese to keep it together. Rolled lasagna holds its shape marvelously and it’s attractive. It’s also a great way to make smaller portions of lasagna, if you don’t want a huge casserole dish full of it.

I baked mine in gratin dishes (you know me and individually portioned food). You can just as easily bake this in one large dish; there shouldn’t be a difference. You can also fill them with whatever you like. I think sundried tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, roasted peppers… any of those would be a fabulous addition. I’ll add some possible variations to the recipe below.

Eggplant and Pine Nut Rolled Lasagna
Serves 4 (easily adapted)

8 Lasagna Noodles
1 Eggplant
Olive Oil
Black Pepper
2+ Cups Marinara Sauce (your favorite)
2 Slices Bread, toasted (or prepared breadcrumbs)

Pine Nut Spread
1 Cup Pine Nuts
1 Tbs Water
1/2 tsp White Wine Vinegar, or lemon juice
1 tsp Dried Italian Herbs
1/4 – 1/2 tsp Salt

Variation Ideas:
Add 1/3 Cup of Sun Dried tomatoes to pine nut spread
Add 1 Cup of sauteed spinach when filling
Add fresh baby spinach leaves when filling
Add 1 Cup of sauteed mushrooms when filling
Add strips of sauteed summer squash when filling

Lasagna NoodlesBoil noodles in salted water until al dente. Drain and lay out the noodles on a cookie sheet, lightly spraying with oil so that they do not stick. Set aside.

Peel eggplant. I find the easiest way to do this is to cut off both ends and use the edge provided to get your vegetable peeler started. I’ve found it difficult to get the peeler to cut the skin otherwise.

Place the eggplant upright on the cutting board. Slice the eggplant in long, thin vertical slices. Then slice each of these in half again, also vertically. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Sliced Eggplant

In a large non-stick or cast-iron skillet, begin browning the eggplant strips in olive oil, 2-3 Tbs a batch (or more). When strips are very tender and nicely browned on both sides, set aside.

Cooked Eggplant

In the hot skillet you cooked the eggplant in, add the pine nuts. Toast the pine nuts over medium-low heat until golden brown, being careful not to burn. Add the pine nuts to the work bowl of a food processor. Grind the nuts as well as you can, then add the remaining ingredients for the pine nut spread. Process until well combined.

Toast the bread and process into breadcrumbs.

Preheat oven to 400ยบ F.


Spread a little pine nut spread ontp each noodle. You don’t need a lot, it’s very rich! Add eggplant strips, as well as any other filling.

Filling Rolled Lasagna

Roll up each noodle and place in your baking dish(es) seam-side down. Cover generously with sauce.

Eggplant and Pinenut Rolled Lasagna

Top with breadcrumbs and bake for 20-25 minutes. Since everything is already cooked, they just need to heat up and slightly brown. If you’re baking them in individual gratin dishes as shown here, place all the dishes on a baking sheet for easier removal from the oven. Serve immediately!

Eggplant and Pinenut Rolled Lasagna