Roasted Vegetable Pitas (version II)

2 roasted red bell peppers
1 medium eggplant, (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (do not use dried cilantro; if fresh is
unavailable substitute fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley)
1 1/2 cups cooked soybeans (one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 white or whole wheat pita breads, (6-inch)
1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions (both green and white parts)
1 dash freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Roasting concentrates flavors without adding fat and lends a buttery-soft texture.

After roasting the peppers, position the oven rack about 6 inches from the broiler heating element. Pierce the eggplant several places with a fork; place it on a baking sheet. Turning once as it cooks, broil the eggplant for about 15 minutes, or until it is very tender when pierced with a fork. Set it aside to cool.

Move the oven rack to the center of the oven; preheat the oven to 350F.

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, 1/8 teaspoon of the salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

When the eggplant has cooled, peel it and cut into 1-inch cubes. Toss the eggplant, cilantro, and lemon juice mixture in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Cut the peeled roasted red bell peppers lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Set aside.

Combine the soybeans, cumin, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.

Just before serving, wrap the pita breads in foil; place directly on the oven rack for about 5 minutes, or until softened. (Or put the unwrapped pitas in the microwave on high for about 45 seconds.) Use a serrated knife to cut each pita in half horizontally.

Place the 4 pita bread halves, rough sides up, on large salad plates. Evenly spread each pita round with the eggplant mixture: top with bell pepper strips and mounds of the bean mixture. Add a dollop of yogurt to each pita; sprinkle with the scallions and pepper.

Advance Preparation: The eggplant and bell peppers can be roasted early the day they are to be served; cover and refrigerate. The eggplant-cilantro and soybean-cumin mixtures can be combined several hours before serving; cover and refrigerate. Bring every thing to room temperature and assemble just before serving.

Makes 4 servings

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