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Grilled Eggplant and Cannellini Beans

Eggplant is a nightshade, meaning it can be a little on the acidic side, but its ample bioflavenoids may be helpful in preventing stroke and hemorrhages. It is also said to prevent heart disease, so combined with cannellini beans, this is one heart-healthy side dish.
Makes 3–4 servings

Ingredients
½ cup extra- virgin olive oil
2–3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
Sea salt
Generous pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 small eggplants, sliced into ½-inch pieces*
Extra- virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced
Sea salt
Cracked black pepper
1 (14-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed well
2–3 sprigs fresh basil, leaves removed, shredded
Juice of ¼ fresh lemon

Directions
Place ½ cup oil, minced garlic, salt to taste, and red pepper flakes in a sauce pan over low heat. Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Brush eggplant slices with oil mixture and grill 4–5 minutes per side, brushing with oil mixture as you turn and grill slices.

While the eggplant grills, heat a small amount of oil and red onion in a skillet. When the onion begins to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté for 2–3 minutes. Stir in beans, season with salt to taste, reduce heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are warmed through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil and lemon juice.

To serve, arrange eggplant slices on a plate with beans mounded on top.

* Normally, I soak eggplant in salted water before cooking so I can remove some of the acid in it. But in this recipe, I use the small eggplant so that step can be eliminated.


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