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Sausage, Eggplant and Feta Penne

January 9, 2013
sausage eggplant penne

There were three words that consistently showed up on my “bad word” list as a child. Fruits, vegetables and new food. Inwardly, I groaned any time my parents would introduce anything new to me–especially if it was a vegetable.

My parents had a habit of feeding a new vegetable to my sister and I in the worst way possible. Steamed or plain. Brussel sprouts? Steamed, no butter, lemon juice, flavorings…just nasty plain ol’ steamed brussel sprouts.

My first taste of eggplant was raw. It was also my last taste of eggplant for a long time.

Always a sucker for a deal, they were on sale for .50 each at the store the other day. I couldn’t overlook the deal.

As a parent, I’ve learned that if I want my kids to like any of the three above mentioned “bad words” I need to trick them. To a point.

Ever have your kid say “I HATE onion powder!! It stinks!” yet they love spaghetti sauce which has plenty of it? I can hear you telling your kid now “but you LOVE spaghetti sauce and it has onion powder!”

It’s kind of the same concept.

My parents didn’t like to trick us, yet they missed one element of trying new foods. If you want your kid to enjoy their first taste of something, you need to make it enjoyable. Kids palates are designed like a computer. If it’s a new food, they must spit it out like poison. By doing so, they can try to establish the alpha role in the family–if for only a few moments until Mom tells them that they can’t leave the table until it’s all gone. But that few seconds of temper tantrums and control in the family? Priceless.

sausage eggplant penne

The kids loved this meal, so I decided to make them an eggplant parmesan sandwich for them today. They balked and groaned and moaned about the “disgusting vegetable” I was making them try.

Note to kids everywhere: Sticking the very tip of your tongue on the outermost corner of the vegetable doesn’t count as “trying it.”

So I casually slipped in that they had already eaten and loved eggplant. A chorus of “yeah rights” followed. I picked out the eggplant from last nights meal to show them. They knew they were had. Each tried a big bite of sandwich and found that they still liked eggplant.

Except for my pre teen. She has to pick a fight about everything, so she said it was gross. We’ve decided until the age of 18 her opinion on anything new may not be able to count since she says the opposite of what everyone else says. So because she said the opposite of what everyone else was saying, essentially she was saying that she liked it to, right? (I need a therapist).

If you’re looking for your family to try a new meal, (or looking for one yourself), you need to try this. It is absolutely delicious and you don’t taste the eggplant at all.

eggplant recipe

Sausage, Eggplant and Feta Penne

Adapted from Cooking Light

3 cups peeled and cubed eggplant

1/2 pound bulk nitrate free pork sausage

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp pepper

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained (try fire roasted tomatoes for a unique taste)

10 ounces uncooked pasta (approximately 6 cups cooked) whole wheat penne pasta

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup parsley (fresh or dried is just fine)

In a large pot, cook the pasta according to package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, in a large saucepan, cook the eggplant, sausage and garlic for approximately five minutes until eggplant is tender and sausage is browned.

Add the tomato paste, spices and diced tomatoes and continue stirring and cooking until mixture is heated through. Remove from heat and toss with cheese and parsley. Serve.

*For a more spaghetti like taste, use fresh grated parmesan cheese instead of feta.

Julia Child’s Eggplant Pizzas by Kalyn’s Kitchen

Eggplant and Pesto Chicken Skillet by Nicole’s Nutrition

Healthy Eggplant Rollatini by Westchester Foodie

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