Grilled Eggplant Stacks & Lemon Barley Pilaf


Do you ever finish your picture taking, and then realize afterwards that you should have done something different to make it a heck of a lot better? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this is a such a bad picture, I just think it might have looked stunning against a red background. I briefly thought about this while photographing, but decided I was too lazy (and hungry) to switch backgrounds.

When I finally sat down to satisfy my hunger, and cut into this beautiful stack of grilled eggplant, tomatoes, pesto and goat cheese, I realized just how beautiful it was inside – perfect, gorgeous layers. I briefly thought about getting out my camera then for more shots, but I must confess something: about 90% of the time, I don’t like pictures of food that’s been cut into it. I think there are very few cases where it’s done right and most of the time it just looks sloppy, and I didn’t want to fall into that trap! So you’ll just have to trust me – the layers were beautiful.

This concoction combined the smokey taste of grilled eggplant which I love so much with another of my loves – tangy, fresh goat cheese, and my almost-fat free pesto. I was a little skeptical about how the fresh tomatoes would do in there, but they worked great and got cooked just enough as I warmed the stacks on the grill.

For a side dish, I chose barley – if you haven’t tried this grain yet, please do. Nutritionally, it’s great for you, with more fiber and protein than rice. I love the hearty texture, almost like nutty rolled oats. I flavored it with a little bit of lemon zest and thyme, and it was perfect!

Grilled Eggplant Stacks with Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Tomato
1 small to medium eggplant, sliced (I used 8 slices total for 2 stacks)
6 thick tomato slices
~1/3 cup pesto, store bought, homemade, or homemade healthy!
2oz goat cheese, crumbled
1-2 tbsp grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese

Salt the eggplant slices on both sides and let stand at least 30 minutes on paper towels. Rinse and pat dry.

Preheat grill to medium heat. Spray both sides of the eggplant with olive oil spray and grill for about 5 minutes on each side, until browned. Remove from heat, but leave the grill on.

Lay a piece of foil over a grilling stone and spray it with nonstick spray. For each stack, layer a slice of eggplant, a drizzle of pesto, a tomato slice, a bit of crumbled goat cheese, and a little more pesto. Repeat 3 times and place a final slice of eggplant on top. Top the final slice with a little pesto and a pinch of grated cheese. Place the stone on the grill, close the grill, and “bake” for about 10 minutes.

Lemon-Barley Pilaf
2tsp olive oil
2 tbsp diced yellow onion

1/2 cup barley
2 cups fat free, reduced sodium chicken broth
freshly ground salt & pepper
about 1tsp each fresh thyme and lemon zest
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 6 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the barley and cook for a few minutes more, stirring to coat, until it begins to brown slightly and you can smell it toasting up. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 45-50 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and barley is tender. Add the lemon zest and thyme, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
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6 Responses to “Grilled Eggplant Stacks & Lemon Barley Pilaf”

  1. 1

    Kevin — June 6, 2009 @ 4:33 pm Reply

    This sounds really tasty and it looks great all stacked up like that!

  2. 2

    Kerstin — June 6, 2009 @ 5:21 pm Reply

    So pretty, what a great idea! I'm super lazy about pictures too, I know it's something I need to improve on though :)

  3. 3

    ellysaysopa — June 6, 2009 @ 11:03 pm Reply

    Gorgeous looking meal, and it all sounds delicious!

  4. 4

    Susan (peebsmama) — June 9, 2009 @ 6:52 pm Reply

    Hi. I just found your blog through another blog when looking for healthy recipes. You come up with some great sounding combinations and I can't wait to try them. I have bookmarked several of your recipes to try this week!

  5. 5

    ellysaysopa — April 5, 2011 @ 1:23 am Reply

    Gorgeous looking meal, and it all sounds delicious!

  6. 6

    Susan (peebsmama) — April 5, 2011 @ 1:23 am Reply

    Hi. I just found your blog through another blog when looking for healthy recipes. You come up with some great sounding combinations and I can't wait to try them. I have bookmarked several of your recipes to try this week!

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