Quickly before I start, yesterday’s total: 5! Good on the old target but not on the new!
The first letter of the alphabet and I already had to make the decision of what fruit or veg to feature. Do I choose the classic, dependable fruit that is an apple? Do I choose the delicious creamyness of an avacado? Or do I choose those funny looking stalks that turn your pee a bit funny, Asparagus? No, I have choose the mighty and versatile aubergine!
I have been doing a lot of vegan cooking recently and this vegetable has become my obsession. It hasn’t been an easy thing to be obsessed with, they have been so hard to find with the veggie shortage there has been! (For anyone reading this from further away, we in The UK have been suffering from a lack of certain veggies as the weather in Spain this year produced a bad crop!)
One if my favourite ways to eat aubergine, and quickest, is to slice it, salt it and pop it in the griddle pan for a few minutes either side! Simple and delicious!
So what goodness am I getting from these purple beauties? Found on the BBC goodfood website “Aubergines are an excellent source of dietary fibre. They are also a good source of vitamins B1 and B6 and potassium. In addition it is 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.”
So to break that down into something we understand:
The fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and phytonutrient content in eggplants all support heart health.
Polyphenols in aubergines have been shown to exhibit anti-cancer effects. Anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid function as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. They protect cells from damage caused by free radicals and, in turn, prevent tumor growth and the invasion and spread of cancer cells. They also stimulate detoxifying enzymes within cells and promote cancer cell death.
Dietary fibers are commonly recognized as important factors in weight management and loss by functioning as “bulking agents” in the digestive system. These compounds increase satiety and reduce appetite, making you feel fuller for longer and thereby lowering the overall calorie intake.
Research has shown that rabbits with high cholesterol that consumed eggplant juice displayed a significant decrease in weight and blood cholesterol levels.
One of my favourite aubergine recipes, from the TESCO magazine:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried cumin
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 aubergine, cut lengthways into 1cm thick slices
1 small red onion, sliced
6 corn tortilla wraps
2 tbsp soured cream, to serve
100g Mature Cheddar, grated
Mexican chilli sauce (optional)
3 ripe avocados
8 cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp smoked paprika
handful chopped coriander, plus extra to serve
With soft aubergine, melted cheese and creamy guacamole oozing out of each tortilla triangle, every mouth-watering bite of these quesadillas will make you unable to resist reaching for another one.
To make the guacamole, mash the avocados with a fork, season, then mix in a bowl with the remaining ingredients.
Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C and heat a griddle pan over a high heat. Mix the oil, dried spices and 1/2 tsp salt. Brush half over the aubergine and griddle for 5 minutes on each side until tender and charred; put in the oven. Brush the onion with the remaining spiced oil and griddle for 5 minutes. Remove the aubergine and cut into chunks.
Top half the tortillas with 2-3 tbsp guacamole, soured cream, aubergine and onion. Sprinkle with the cheese, then sandwich each firmly with a second tortilla.
In a large frying pan, over a high heat, dry-fry the tortillas one at a time, for 1 minute on each side. To flip, hold a plate over the pan and invert, then gently slide the tortilla back in. Once cooked, slide onto a board, cut into wedges and serve with any remaining guacamole and the chilli sauce, if using.
I hope you have been inspired to get aubergines into your dieting and I would love to hear your favourite aubergine recipes!