Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Mediterranean Baked Eggplant

Mediterranean baked eggplant in a spicy tomato sauce and topped with arabic 7 spice quinoa, tomato slices, toasted pine nuts, and fresh mint! This recipe stems from a popular Syrian baked eggplant dish typically made with ground beef, I wanted to try making this dish vegetarian and I used quinoa in place of the ground beef. The flavors all came together so nicely and afterwards I topped the eggplant with a nice dollop of garlic greek yogurt, which is a must!! The finished product came out super packed with flavor and was light but still very filling! This dish can be vegan if you are just don't add the yogurt sauce and instead you can add tahini paste and garlic or just more olive oil! 

By adding the quinoa this dish is packed with plant based protein, fiber, B vitamins, and antioxidants. The eggplant is rich in phytochemicals, Beta Carotene, fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Tomato sauce is high in the powerful antioxidant Lycopene, vitamin C, and vitamin A. Pine nuts provide some plant based protein, poly and mono unsaturated fats (healthy fats), and vitamin E. The yogurt sauce with provide great probiotics and protein. Garlic throughout the dish provides powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Overall this dish is properly balanced with lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats! 

1 large eggplant sliced longwise 
1 can tomato sauce 
4 garlic cloves 
1/2 c Quinoa 
1 c veggie/chicken broth
1 c greek yogurt 
fresh mint leaves 
1 tomato sliced 
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts 
salt & pepper 
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes 
2 teaspoons arabic 7 spice 
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 

How To Make It: 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F 

2. Make the tomato sauce: pour 1 can of tomato sauce in a saucepan along with 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 teaspoon of arabic seven spice, 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Bring the sauce to a simmer and then place in a long dish. 

3. Slice the eggplant longwise about 2 inches thick and place eggplant into the sauce. 

4. Drizzle olive oil on top of the eggplants and pour 1/2 cup of water over the whole dish. Place the tomato slices on top of the eggplant and then cover with foil. 

5. Bake the eggplant covered with foil for 30 minutes 

6. Make the quinoa: bring 1/2 cup of quinoa, veggie or chicken broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon arabic 7 spice to a boil then put on low and cook covered for 15 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes. 

7. Carefully remove the eggplant from the oven and put the quinoa right on top of the eggplant to make it appear "stuffed". Top with toasted pine nuts and fresh mint leaves.  (P.S. I removed the tomato sliced and then put them back on after)

8. Make the yogurt sauce: combine 1 cup of greek yogurt (I prefer full fat), 1 crushed garlic clove, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. 

Put everything together and you're all set! 

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