This is one recipe that I make quite often, mainly because I know I always have some tahini and coconut yoghurt in, they are two of my cupboard/fridge staples, and I can just pick up an aubergine and bag of rocket/spinach from the supermarket on my way home. Even if you don’t have the nuts and spices in for this recipe, it’s so easy to substitute ingredients for what you do have in as long as you have the staples!
What are the benefits?
Weight Management – Aubergines are part of the nightshade family and are nutrient dense. They are packed full of fibre, vitamins and minerals and have been seen to help with weight management, as despite them being a somewhat large vegetable they contain very few calories, with approximately 20 calories in a cup (Nutrition Data, 2014).
Nutritional Profile – Aubergines provide a good source of:
(Nutrition Data, 2014)
Always eat the skin! It can help with brain functionand help deter cancer – Aubergines are rich in antioxidants, particularly nasunin which is mainly found in the skin. Nasunin is the pigment that gives aubergine peel its purple colouring, and we certainly don’t waste any of that with this recipe! Like other antioxidants, nasunin has the power to fight free radical damage.
Nasunin can help to protect brain function by preventing something called lipid peroxidation. Lipid peroxidation refers to the process by which free radicals ‘steal’ electrons from the lipids (fats) in cell membranes (which are required for healthy brain function), resulting in cellular damage and a free radical chain reaction (Noda et al. 2000).
Nasunin has also been shown to restrict the formation of new blood vessels (it is known as an angiogenesis inhibitor) (Matsubara et al. 2005). The formation of new blood vessels has been seen as a prerequisite for the growth of tumours (this is because they facilitate tumour growth with oxygen and nutrients) (El-Kenawi et al. 2013).
Can help with type 2 diabetes – The National Diabetes Education Program of NIH and American Diabetes Association recommend consuming aubergines to help manage type 2 diabetes. This is due to their low soluble carbohydrate content and high amounts of fibre. Studies have found that eating aubergines can control glucose absorption as their antioxidants can hinder the enzyme which breaks down starchy foods into blood sugar, therefore helping to reduce the onset of blood sugar-related diseases e.g. T2 diabetes (Kwon, 2008).
Can help reduce harmful LDL cholesterol – by increasing your intake of dietary fibre, studies show that it can reduce LDL cholesterol, which is also known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol. With aubergine being a rich source of fibre, those with high cholesterol may benefit from the frequent inclusion of this vegetable within their diet (Bruckert, 2011).
I have combined this fibrous dish with slow-releasing carbohydrates and plant-based protein in the form of buckwheat flakes as well as pine nut kernels that ensure you stay fuller for longer. I also added some healthy greens, pomegranate fruit and spices to give this dish plenty of flavour.
1 tsp baharat spices (if none to hand, paprika will do)
1/3 cup buckwheat flakes
1/3 cup pine nut kernels
4 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
Coconut Yoghurt Dressing
3 tbsp coconut yoghurt
1/4 lemon (juice)
Pinch of Himalayan salt
2 tbsp tahini paste
4 tbsp filtered water
1 tbsp coconut aminos
1/2 lemon (juice)
A pinch of salt & pepper
1 handful mint leaves (chopped)
2 handfuls of rocket
3 tbsp pomegranate seeds
Pestle and mortar
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Chop the stalks off the aubergines. Now slice the aubergines down the middle and place onto a glass oven tray with baking parchment.
Mix together the baharat spices (or paprika) with 3 tbsp melted coconut oil. Rub this mixture over the aubergines.
Place the aubergines in the oven for 20 minutes.
For the buckwheat pine nut crumble, put the pine nuts in a pestle and mortar and roughly grind up. Add the buckwheat flakes and 1 tbsp melted coconut oil and mix together.
Put the crumble mixture into a frying pan and toast on a medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring from time to time to ensure none of it burns.
Meanwhile, mix the two dressing ingredients together in separate bowls. Remember to keep an eye on the crumble whilst you do this.
Once the aubergines are soft, serve two halves per plate and drizzle the coconut yoghurt over the top as well as the tahini dressings. Then top with a sprinkling of the buckwheat and pine nut crumble, followed by the rocket, chopped mint and pomegranate.
Bruckert, E. Rosenbaum, D. (2011). ‘Lowering LDL-cholesterol Through Diet: Potential Role in the Statin Era’, (1) pp.43-8, NCBI [Online]. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21233620 (Accessed 18 March 2018).
El-Kenawi, AE and El-Remessy, AB. (2013). ‘Angiogenesis Inhibitors in Cancer therapy: Mechanistic Perspective on Classification and Treatment Rationales’, (4), pp.712-729. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3799588/ (Accessed 18 March 2018).
Kwon, YI. Apostolidis, E and Shetty, K. (2008). ‘In Vitro Studies of Eggplant (Solanum Melongena) Phenolics as Inhibitors of Key Enzymes Relevant for Type 2 Diabetes and Hypertension’, (2) pp. 2981-2988, NCBI [Online]. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17706416 (Accessed 18 March 2018).
Matsubara, K. Kaneyuki, T and Miyake, T. (2005). ‘ Antiangioenic Activity of Nasunin, an Antioxidant Anthocyanin, in Eggplant Peels’, (16), pp.6272-5, NCBI [Online]. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16076105 (Accessed 18 March 2018).
Noda, Y. Kneyuki, T. Igarashi, K. et al. (2000). ‘Antioxidant Activity of Nasunin, an Anthocyanin in Eggplant Peels’ (2-3), pp.119-23, NCBI [Online]. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10962130 (Accessed 18 March 2018).
“Recovery is not a race; you don’t have to feel guilty if it takes you longer than you thought it would” Something I often tell clients is that recovery is not a race. Placing high expectations to get well quickly is like forcing the sun to shine; these things are simply out of our control....