Babaganoush (Babaganouj)

Standard

IMG_4647.JPG

As the farming season comes to a close, I’ve been trying to scoop up all the veggies at the farmer’s market before they’re totally gone. Where I live, it’s prime time for eggplant – the shining star of my babaganoush recipe. Babaganoush is a delicious dip frequently served with pita bread in most Middle Eastern restaurants. If you haven’t had babaganoush before it is essentially hummus WITHOUT chickpeas and WITH eggplant. And it’s delicious (did I mention that?) Traditionally, the eggplant is grilled but I simply sliced mine up and roasted it for about 15-20 minutes. This recipe can easily be doubled for a large group of people. While even hummus has become somewhat of a common staple, this babaganoush is a creative recipe to serve for company. Side note: I always find it very difficult to tell when eggplants are ripe. If they’re overripe, they can be very bitter and who wants to eat bitter eggplant? I think the best way to tell if they’re ripe is to give them a firm but gentle squeeze and if the skin bounces back, then you’re good. But if the eggplant if soft and your fingers leave an imprint, the eggplant is likely overripe. Eeek!

Dietary info: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free
Yield: about 2 cups
Time: 30 minutes

•1 large eggplant
•1/4 cup tahini
•1 tablespoon lemon juice
•2 tablespoons olive oil
•2 large cloves of garlic
•1 teaspoon cumin
•Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1 teaspoon Zaatar*
Optional: Chopped herbs, such as parsley

* Zaatar (Za’atar) is a common Middle Eastern spice blend usually consisting of oregano, sumac, coriander, sesame seeds and thyme though there are different variations.

1. Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch coins and salt. Roast for about 15-20 minutes.

2. When eggplant is done (it will have shriveled a bit) you have the tedious option of de-seeding the eggplant. I do not do this. I am lazy. I also don’t think there is anything wrong with using the seeds.

3. Throw all ingredients into a food processor and process for about 30 seconds. Assess the situation. Is it super chunky? If you want it super chunky, then cool. You’re done. If you want it to be smooth, you probably want to scrape the sides and purée it for another 30 seconds. Garnish with Zaatar, herbs of your choice or just a little olive oil. Enjoy!

Oh, and you can use it as a spread on sandwiches too!

Advertisements

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Standard

20140225-112823.jpg

Tabbouleh salad is a staple at most every Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern restaurant. My Mom has been making this yummy blend of herbs, grain and veggies ever since I was a little kid. Traditionally, tabbouleh is made with bulgur wheat but I used quinoa in this recipe, making it gluten-free (and better in my opinion, as I’m not really a fan of bulgur). Note: This is a healthy side-dish and it also goes great in a wrap with some hummus and greens!

Dietary Info: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free

Serves: 3-4

Time: 20 minutes

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 – 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely minced
  • 3/4 cup fresh mint, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

    1. In a small saucepan, add uncooked quinoa + 3/4 cup water, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir together. Allow quinoa to boil then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. This will yield about one cup of cooked quinoa.

    2. While quinoa is cooking, chop vegetables and herbs. Note: I find mincing the herbs to be so tedious, so I usually just throw the parsley and mint into a food processor and process for 10 seconds. Scrape the sides, and process for 10 more seconds. Repeat once more so that the herbs become finely minced.

    3. Once quinoa has cooked, allow to cool completely. Throw herbs, tomato, cucumber, scallions and garlic into a mixing bowl. When quinoa has cooled down, add it to the herb mixture and stir with a large spoon until completely combined. Optional: Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. Personally, I don’t think this is totally necessary. Tabbouleh can be stored in an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Enjoy!