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Indian spiced eggplant (Baingan Bharta) with chickpeas and raisins

We are blessed right now to have eggplants coming out of our ears!!! (or just choke on our plants). So…I invoked this recipe from my repertoire. This recipe is a slight twist on the many variations of Indian dish Baingan Bharta.

All Baingan Bharta recipes have many ingredients in common: eggplant, onions,  tomatoes, ginger, pepper and garlic. Many add garam masala, coriander, turmeric, etc.  I learned to make this during my very first vegan phase in my early early 20’s. To make it heartier (more protein) I started adding chickpeas, and to counterbalance the heat in it, I favored adding a few plump raisins at the end. So in reality it is a bit far from any Baingan Bharta you would order at an authentic Indian restaurant, but in my opinion mo betta!

 

Recipe for Indian spiced eggplant (Baingan Bharta) with chickpeas and raisins

 

Servings: 4+ (~1 cup each)

eggplant

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 medium size eggplants
  • 1-2 medium-large tomatoes (chopped fine)
  • 1 large onions (chopped fine)
  • 1 Hawaiian chili pepper (chopped fine)
  • 5 garlic cloves chopped fine
  • 2 inch (½ in diameter or so)piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 inch(¼ inch diameter or so) piece of turmeric grated
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 1 and ½ cup (or to liking) cooked chickpeas

ingredients for baingan bharta

 

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lay eggplant on baking sheet, pierce eggplant to help let out steam.
  2. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes and then turn over. Bake another 15 minutes or so until a knife enters easily skin starts to separate from the flesh of the eggplant
  3. Once cooled peel eggplant and roughly chop and mush
  4. Heat oil in large sauté pan (med-high heat) and add onions until they start to become soft, stirring very often
  5. Add ginger, garlic, and turmeric and stir constantly for less than 1 minute
  6. Add tomatoes, cumin, and garam masala and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for a time until tomatoes incorporate themselves into onions mixture.
  7. Add eggplant and mush a bit with your spatula or mixing spoon, allow to heat up and cook another 5 minutes or so on medium heat.
  8. For the last 5 minutes add chickpeas and raisins.
  9. Enjoy warm with rice, alone, over greens, or with naan, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

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Chunky basil garlic tomato sauce

Stop buying jars of tomato sauce that hardly have enough sauce to go around the table. This recipe for a healthy basil garlic tomato sauce is economic and simple.  Try serving this with recipes like my spaghetti squash and fresh herb meatballs. 

Recipe for chunky basil garlic tomato sauce

Yield: 8 generous servings of sauce

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 cans organic diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
  • 8-12+ cloves of garlic minced or pressed
  • 1-2 onions chopped
  • Handful of fresh herbs (oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, parsley) chopped
  • Lots of fresh basil (anywhere from 4-8 cups loosely packed leaves)
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sugar, maple syrup or honey (optional – this keep cut the acidity)

Steps:

  1. Heat olive oil in pan and reduce to medium-high
  2. Saute onions stirring often until translucent (5 minutes)
  3. Add garlic stirring frequently (2 minutes)
  4. Then, add wine if using and wait until the wine has reduced and there is no liquid left
  5. Add tomatoes and herbs (not basil) and bring to a boil
  6. Simmer on medium-low for at least 45 minutes (can simmer real low for up to 2 hours).
  7. If there is too much liquid and you want a thicker sauce remove some of the liquid with a ladle.
  8. Add chopped basil and turn off the heat.
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste
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Healthy baked spaghetti squash

Who can resist the novelty of the stringy flesh that so delicately mimics spaghetti. It also works so well to substitute or accompany Italian-style meals.  It stinks for me that spaghetti squash isn’t a tropical squash but I still love it.

I love cooking spaghetti squash as the main starch for delicious Italian meals. It is also wonderful to accommodate a culinary experience that is friendly to guests who are gluten-free, paleo, or just hip to the vegetable scene.

There are several ways I recommend using this squash to build your main dish:

  1. The first is doing the typical, spaghetti and meatballs dish with tomato sauce or other saucy sauce.
  2. The second, vegetarian option is to cook the squash and serve a homemade tomato sauce full of greens, garlic, and any other veggies that you have at your disposal.
  3. Serve with chicken and another sauce like pesto or mushroom gravy.

Recipe for healthy baked spaghetti squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized spaghetti squash, about 2 pounds, or 1000 grams (serves 2-4 if you add enough other protein and veggies)

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Steps:

  1. Cut the squash in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds.
  2. To prepare seeds  wash them and get most of the squash flesh off
  3. Place on foil and spray lightly with oil and salt. Cook at 400 degree F for 20-30 minutes while you are baking the squash, making sure to turn over the seeds and mix around about every 7-10 minutes.
  4. Place the squash flesh side up in baking dish. Pour about ½ inch water in the bottom of the dish so that the squash doesn’t burn and the heat from the steam allows it to cook more evenly.
  5. Place the squash in the preheated oven at 400 degrees F for about 45min-60mins. It is done when the squash is easily dented with your finger, the top is golden and the flesh forks easily into “spaghetti”2014-09-24 14.38.39
  6. To serve add to your favorite sauce, meat, etc.

Enjoy.