I have always been a curious person and wanted to learn new things, and when becoming a vegan chef I wanted to make sure I got my protein, vitamins and minerals right and so I have started reading and researching a lot about veggies, fruits and seeds. I recently discovered that one of my favourite ever vegetables is great for our body and I couldn’t be more happy!
I am talking about Aubergines, which are an exceptional source of dietary fibre, a good source of vitamins B1 and B6 and potassium. If this wasn’t enough they are also high in the minerals copper, magnesium and manganese. Aubergines are rich in antioxidants, specifically nasunin found in aubergine skin - which gives it its purple colour. BUT what does all this means for our health?
Keep your skin, nails and hair healthy
Aubergines can benefit your hair, skin and nails as they have a high water content, a good mixture of minerals and vitamins, and ultimately healthy fats needed to keep our hair, nails and skin in good health.
Balances Blood Sugar Levels
Aubergines help you balance blood sugar level. Yes that's right, so they can really help as a core staple of a healthy diet for those that suffer from type 2 diabetes. How? They contain chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant that helps to release glucose slowly into the circulation after a meal.
Good for the heart
The dark purple variety especially contains many nutrients that benefit your health, helping your body fight free radicals. It appears that aubergine can also lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Food for your brain
Some studies have suggested that eating aubergine for a long period of time can help fight degenerative mental disorder such as dementia. Nasunin is an antioxidant contained in the skin of the aubergine and protects the fatty membrane of cells within our nervous system.
This tasty vegetable is full of nutrients that our body need to stay in good health, from B vitamins to minerals like manganese, potassium, copper and iron.
Low in Calories
Auburgines are very low in calories making them the perfect food for weight watchers who don’t want to compromise on taste. There are in fact so many things you can do with auburgunes, from stews to Japanese dishes full of umami, to sandwiches and salads.
Here I am sharing one of my favourite recipes - this could be made into a main course to share with friends or a light bite for lunch by reducing the portions and keeping the pita bread closed to turn it into a sandwich!
It is a fresh tasty Iranian dish that I have modified to my personal taste and made vegan. The first time I had it I was still omnivore and loved it so much that I tried to make it my own way.
Prep time 15 minutes
Cooking time 25 minutes
2 cans of chickpeas
Extra virgin olive oil
2 table spoons of paprika
2 medium aubergines
3 table spoons of maple syrup
1 red pepper
2 table spoons of tahini sauce
Garlic and parsley sauce: in a food processor mix one garlic clove, a pinch of salt and pepper, one cup of extra virgin olive oil, fresh bunch of parsley – this will last you quite a long time so make a bit extra and stick it in the fridge. You can use it on top of salads and sandwiches, making it thicker or thinner as needed by adding more or less olive oil.
Hummus: in a food processor mix one garlic glove, a pinch of salt, pepper, one cup of extra virgin olive oil, 2 spoons of tahini sauce and the juice of a lemon. These doses are for about 500gr of canned chickpeas – rinse them before use them.
Salad: cut a cucumber and peppers as you wish - thin slices, little cubes, it doesn’t matter, then mix with salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil and lot of fresh chopped parsley.
Aubergine: cut them in slices about 1.5cm thick and cut some lines on them – it will help them absorb all the condiments and get juicy. Rub some salt on them with your fingers then add pepper, extra virgin olive oil, fresh chopped garlic and fresh copped parsley – place them on a baking tray and roast at 180dr
Chickpeas: rinse them and then in a large bowl mix with a large cup of sunflower oil, salt, pepper, paprika (2 spoons), and maple syrup (about 3 spoons), make sure you mix them properly until they are red all over – because of the paprika! Place them in a baking tray and roast them for about 25 minutes at 200 – ensure you use some baking paper as they will almost fry and you want to make sure you don’t want to make too much of a mess!
HOW TO ASSEMBLE IT
Take a pita bread and put it into the toaster, then cut it in half and move to a plate. Pour in some garlic and parsley sauce and sprinkle over some paprika, then spoon in a nice amount of fresh hummus – you can make your own or buy some, add some fresh salad on top, then add auberigne and chickpeas on top, pour tahini sauce all over and freshly cut coriander - job done! That is how I like to assemble this dish as per the picture, but you can serve it as you wish - you could even divide the pita in four parts and put each ingredients into it’s own quarter pitta.
Hope you will enjoy this easy and tasty dish! I can't wait to read your comments and see your creations, don't forget to share your recipes with us using @leles_london and #LelesRecipes.
Always remember the most important thing? Add a little love to all your recipes - it's the most important ingredient.