Hop On These Veggie Boats for Perfect Summer Fare

Written by | Food & Wine, Wellness

What better way to welcome summer than a cookout?

By Gayle Van Wely


Though we love simple grilled vegetables, it’s nice to provide a vegetarian option that has a little more finesse. What’s more, these Veggie Boats offer the healthy vitamins and minerals of eggplant, the fiber and nutrients of dates, plus pistachios that add not only crunch but also heart-healthy protein. Toss them on the grill to take your summer meal to the next level.


  • 1 large Japanese eggplant
  • 3 pitted and chopped dates
  • ¼ c. toasted chopped pistachios
  • *2 Tbsp. garlic confit (with its oil)
  • ¼ tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 2 charred shishito peppers
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • ground black pepper
  • *Garlic confit
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled


Masssage olive oil, black pepper and garlic powder all over the eggplant. Place it directly on the grill (or, indoors, under the broiler) for about 30 minutes — until the outside is charred and the inside is soft.

In a bowl, combine all other ingredients and use a fork to lightly mash until thoroughly mixed.

With a sharp knife, make an incision along the center of the top of the charred eggplant. Slice lengthwise, being careful not puncture the other side. Spread open with a fork to to create the interior of your boat and gently loosen the flesh of the eggplant.

Spoon mixture into the center of the boat. Garnish with fresh-squeezed lemon and additional olive oil as desired. Makes one boat.

*TO CREATE GARLIC CONFIT: Heat oil in saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic; cook over very low heat until soft (about 20 minutes; do not brown). The delicious results will keep for about a month as long as you keep chilled and the garlic is completely covered in oil.

Last modified: July 16, 2017