ICE CLIMBERS - Veggie Stuffed Eggplant with Spiced Pumpkin Sauce
Updated: Jul 19, 2021
The Ice Climbers - are they siblings? A couple? Just two mountain-scalin' friends? We may never know!
The eggplant has become something of a symbol of the Ice Climbers - it is the main collectible of the first bonus stage, and has been adopted as Ice Climber's series emblem in Smash - so I knew it had to be the star of the show. But I made sure to include every other collectible vegetable in the stuffing, as well as the salad on the side!
Some of you may be wondering why I didn’t make a frozen treat or something a little more “icy.” Well, rather than making something cold like ice cream, I wanted to make a dish that Nana and Popo themselves would eat! This dish is cozy and comforting, ideal for the cold weather of Autumn and Winter. It’s the perfect thing to warm you up after a long day spent climbing a snowy mountain! It also works out well for the duo: since each serving is made from half an eggplant, its the perfect meal for two.
I used some Christmassy flavours to convey the wintry feel of Ice Climber: cinnamon, spice, and everything nice! The pumpkin seeds, cranberries, and mint in the salad also call to mind the holiday season.
2 large eggplants, halved and hollowed out
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, chopped
1-2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cubed
1-2 small turnips, cubed
1 cob corn, kernels removed
1 cup white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp rosemary (either dried or fresh)
⅓ cup breadcrumbs
Spiced Pumpkin Sauce:
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp ginger, grated
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 tbsp tomato paste
¼ cup heavy cream
1 apple, peeled and grated (or 3 tbsp applesauce)
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
¼ cup goat’s cheese
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper
1 head cabbage, shredded
1 cucumber, julienned
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
½ cup olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
For pumpkin sauce:
Melt butter in a saucepan and add grated ginger. Cook for a few minutes until fragrant.
Add pumpkin puree, tomato paste, heavy cream, apple, cheese, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir until thoroughly combined and cook for 5-10 minutes until piping hot.
Mix shredded cabbage, cucumber, mint, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds in a large bowl.
Add olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, honey, mustard, and salt and pepper into a small bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined, then pour over salad.
For stuffed eggplants:
Preheat oven to 350°.
Boil cubed potatoes, carrot, and turnips in hot water until just softened.
Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, leaving one centimeter along the "walls" to ensure it will hold its shape. Chop the flesh removed from the eggplant into cubes.
Heat olive oil in a pan and cook onion until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add strained potatoes, carrot, and turnips, alongside corn, mushrooms, rosemary, and paprika. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are nicely browned. Stir in breadcrumbs.
Add vegetables into hollowed-out eggplants. Cook on a baking sheet in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes. Serve topped with pumpkin sauce, with salad on the side.
TOP TIER TIPS
This meal can be easily scaled down to serve two - simply half all the ingredients!
This dish can easily be made vegan! Replace the cream with almond milk, and either remove the cheese or replace it with your favourite vegan cheese.
Alternatively, feel free to add some sausage (casings removed) or ground meat of your choice (beef, pork, or chicken).