Roasted Eggplant + Chickpeas with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce

While strolling through the farmer’s market this weekend, I spotted this beautiful eggplant.  It wasn’t your typical purple eggplant. It was striped with attractive purple (almost lilac) and white stripes! The vendor at the market told me it was called a Pandora Striped eggplant and that they are extremely tender and delicious.

I decided to buy it and immediately worked on brainstorming a tasty recipe that I could try with it as an ingredient. I wanted something quick and simple that I could put together for dinner with my family. The eggplant had been sitting on my kitchen island for a couple of days until I stumbled upon this recipe for roasted eggplant with spiced chickpeas, drizzled with a yogurt tahini sauce from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. This dish looked super delicious! So I had to try it!

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And...voila! I never realized how much roasted eggplant and spiced chickpeas taste so great together. This dish was so amazing! It can be served as an appetizer or main course!

I love the flavor of the roasted and spiced chickpeas. Chickpeas are an excellent source of fiber, protein and iron.

Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds and is used a lot in Middle Eastern cooking to add flavor and texture. It is rich in minerals such as phosphorus, lecithin, magnesium, potassium and iron. It's also a good source of Methionine, which aids in liver detoxification.

The wonderful health benefits of eggplants are primarily derived from its vitamin, mineral, and nutrient content. Eggplants are a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, thiamin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, dietary fiber, folic acid, potassium, and manganese. Eggplant also contains almost no cholesterol, or saturated fat. So, it is a very healthy food if you are trying to lose weight. The fiber content is very filling, which inhibits the release of ghrelin, the hormone which tells our mind that we are hungry again. By filling us up and reducing our appetite, the chances of overeating are greatly reduced, so weight loss attempts are more successful.

The key to cooking eggplant is to do it with high heat that concentrates the flavor and the flesh. Many people make the mistake of frying them and although this is a delicious way to cook them, it also counteracts a number of health benefits. Best to bake the eggplant as I did in this recipe to hold many of the nutrients in without adding any negative factors like excess fat.

Another powerful vegetable recipe that will guarantee your long-lasting health!

If you want to make this recipe dairy-free, you could substitute the Greek yogurt for a nut-based yogurt like soy, almond or coconut. It might even be tasty with a dairy-free kefir!

You can also try this little recipe for the sauce:

2/3 cup of cashews (preferably soaked)
2 tbsp of tahini
1 lime
2 cloves of garlic
Olive oil
Water (I used ½ cup)
1 sprig of parsley
Salt, pepper

Blend all ingredients in a blender together until smooth. Adjust consistency with water.  Serve the eggplants warm with the sauce.