Vegan Smoked Eggplant with Creole Tomato Sauce

As long as you have to the right tools, this dish can become a barbecue staple.

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© Akshay Amesur/iGeneration Youth/TNS Ayisat Bisiriyu and our guest chef, Jeremy Reed, put together this vegan smoked eggplant with tomato creole sauce even a meat-eater would envy.

While the eggplant is delicious on its own, in this recipe, flavors are magnified by a Creole tomato sauce. It may sound difficult to prepare, but the entire recipe is actually quite simple. As long as you have to the right tools, this dish can become a barbecue staple.

Start to finish: 3 hours (30 minutes active)

Servings: 6-8

First, make the eggplant

  • 3 eggplants, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoons of oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


In a large bowl, place the eggplant. Completely coat the eggplant with oil. Add the thyme and oregano. Make sure that the eggplant is evenly covered.

Transfer the seasoned eggplant to a metal rack and place it in a smoker. If you don’t have a smoker, use this hack from Jeremy Wheelfish, executive chef at Wheelfish Tavern in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Fill a disposable tin foil pan with wood chips, and top it with a small metal rack. Place the tin foil pan on the stove over the flame until the wood chips start to smoke. Once the wood chips smoke, turn off the flame. Now, place the rack on top of the pan containing the wood chips, and then place the eggplant on the rack. Cover the pan and eggplant with tinfoil. This will capture the smoke. Roast in the oven at 240° F for 2 hours.

Remove eggplant from smoker (or oven) and let it rest.

Next, make the Creole Tomato Sauce

In a medium-sized pan, heat olive oil until hot. Add the onion, celery and carrot to the pan, stirring for 3-5 minutes. Add the pepper and stir for an additional 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic. Cook until the garlic is fragrant. Add the white wine and tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the thyme, oregano, cayenne pepper and salt. Let that simmer for 10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Transfer half of the mixture to a blender, and purée until smooth. Then purée the second batch. This mixture can be stored in the refrigerator up to 7 days.

  • 2 cups of diced red onion
  • 1 cup of diced celery
  • 1 cup of diced carrot
  • 1 cup of diced green bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
  • 4 ounces (about a 1/2 cup) white wine
  • 2 quarts (about 8 cups) canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Finishing the dish

Spoon about 1/3 cup of the puréed Creole Tomato Sauce onto a plate. Slice smoked eggplant and put it on top of the sauce. Top with more sauce. For added flair, top with fried julienne cut eggplant. Serve warm.

At Wheelfish, Chef Jeremy Reed’s got barbeque down: pulled pork, brisket, salmon, chicken, sausage & ribs (not to mention the smoked eggplant and veggie tacos featured in our story).

Name of Chef: Jeremy Reed

Name of restaurant: Wheelfish Tavern

Location: 635 Sangree Road Pittsburgh, PA 15237

Phone number: 412.487.8909



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