My calendar says it’s September now, although I’m not quite sure how that happened. Classes start tomorrow, the conference in Houston that I’m presenting a paper at is mere weeks away, and the harvests are starting to lean towards autumn veggies. Change is in the air, which smells rather fallish right now as well. At least the blue jays outside my study window are still duking it out like they have the whole season ahead of them–I’ve never seen such viciously beautiful birds up close before!

But even with all this change, there’s still something we can rely on: the zucchini. After you’ve sauteed and grilled and baked and done who know what else to the humble green squash, what else is there to do? How do you keep meals interesting and exciting? If you’re like me, you don’t really make raw meals all that often. Or even raw parts of meals. I just like my food cooked, that’s all there is to it. I understand the health benefits and that raw diets are delicious and delightful, but I’m a cooked-food kind of gal.

One thing I do like raw, however, is the seaweed salad you can find at sushi restaurants. Seaweed is, well, not all that local here. But zucchinis are! (See where I’m going with this yet?) Yup, the zucchini salad. I threw in some fresh tomatoes from the garden for (taste bud) kicks and giggles, but otherwise, the salad tastes surprisingly seaweed-esque. Crunchy, green, and watery, I think it could fool any blind taste tester.

Just to kick it up a notch, and to make a full meal, I roasted the Thai White Ruffle eggplants I picked up last week at the Farmers Market and then stuffed them with the salad. The eggplants were surprisingly meaty and satisfying, and paired with the gingery, salty, cool zucchini noodles, the meal was quite perfect for a late-August pick-me-up. For an autumn meal, I’d recommend stuffing the eggplants with bulgur or quinoa or some nutty grain, but for right now, with the garden still producing super-fresh zukes and maters, I’m happy with this seasonally conflicted combination.

White Ruffle Eggplants Stuffed with Ginger Sesame Zucchini Noodles

For the eggplants:
2 Thai White Ruffle eggplants
1 tbsp olive oil
salt pepper

For the salad (dressing adapted from Epicurious):
1/2 medium zucchini, grated (I used a vegetable peeler to make the “noodles”)
1/2 medium garden fresh tomato, diced
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce/Bragg’s Amino Acids
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp peeled and minced ginger
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the tops off the eggplants at an angle and scoop out some of the insides to create a bowl.

Place in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil, coating the insides and outsides of the eggplants. Sprinkle with salt and and pepper and roast for 30-40 minutes, until the eggplants are tender when poked with a fork. Remove from oven, set aside.

In a medium bowl, place the zucchini “noodles” and tomatoes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, ginger, sesame oil).

Drizzle the dressing on top of the zucchini noodles and tomatoes and toss to coat well.

Once the eggplants have cooled for 10 minutes or so, stuff the eggplants with the zucchini noodles. Serve!

Serves 1-2