grilled aubergine and chickpeas salad with sumac dressing

I’m a sucker for a good salad. Recently salads became my go to lunch options, I just open my fridge early in the morning and I pack my luchbox with bunch of veg with occasional addition of meat, cheese or egg. Sometimes it’s even hard to call it a salad, it rather looks like someone placed randomly some foods with splash of olive oil and cream cheese on top (oh, cream cheese is like ice cream for keto-people – yummy). But at 6am that’s sometimes the pinnacle of my abilities.

If I’m more fancy and I get myself together to prepare something on the evening before, it looks more like that.

Although this one looks and tastes much better when freshly made, rather than on a next day, when aubergine becomes a bit soggy and discoloured. Grilled aubergine (and courgette…and peppers… and mushrooms…oh and onion) tastes like heaven, so before I even managed to complete preparing this salad for photos half of it was eaten by my partner (nightmare of food blogers – while you setting up a photo shoot space, your other half shouting from the kitchen: “will you need that veg? I already ate some!”)

Definitely I need to remember that I love grilled aubergine, and use more often my grilling pan that lives on the bottom of the cupboard – forgotten. Apart from being delicious, aubergine is simply beautiful with it’s shiny dark purple firm skin, I’m always amazed by their look. Technically aubergine is a fruit, but I guess apart from bunch of pen-pushers thinking about how to classify a plant or at what angle should the banana curve, no one cares. Aubergine is versatile – it can be baked, mashed into a dip, roast, grilled and cooked – as it easily absorbs other flavours, so it works great in meals rich in spices – like curry’s and stews. Aubergines have a high water content with almost no cholesterol or fat and are a source of vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, dietary fiber, folic acid, potassium, and manganese.

They are though a part of the nightshade family – which also include tomato and bell peppers – and in some cases are known to cause severe allergic reactions. So if you’ve never tried aubergine before and you have a history of food allergies , keep it in mind.

For the lucky ones that can eat aubergine without limits here’s a delicious recipe 🙂


grilled aubergine and chickpeas salad with sumac dressing


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small aubergine
  • 150g can of chickpeas
  • baby salad leaves (spinach, different types of lettuce)
  • handful of cherry tomatoes
  • piece of feta cheese
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • couple tbsp olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Heat up a grill pan, drizzle a little bit of olive oil. Cut aubergine in about half inch (1-1.5cm) slices and grill couple minutes on each side. Set aside to cool down.

Prepare dressing: finely chop garlic (or use garlic press), crush it with pinch of salt, add lemon juice, olive oil, black pepper and sumac.

In a large bowl place a bunch of baby salad leaves, arrange slices of aubergine (you can chop them in smaller pieces), halves of cherry tomatoes and chickpeas. Crumble some feta cheese on top and drizzle with sumac dressing. Serve fresh.

You can store it in the fridge for up to two days, but it tastes the best when fresh.

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quick summer black soya bean spaghetti (vegan, gluten free)

When the sun is shining in Scotland and temperatures goes up it’s not the time to sit indoors. This weather is not going to last for long, so the best you can do is to try to enjoy it as much as you can. If your work allows you to take advantage of the sun and spend time on the beach or hiking – good for you. To take the most of the Summer and do not die starving you definitely need a quick, healthy and delicious meal you can prepare effortlessly in your kitchen in less than 30 minutes.

So here comes fresh and colourful veggie pasta. But it’s not an ordinary spaghetti. It’s black soya bean spaghetti – gluten free, dairy free, wheat free. Free of almost everything 😉 If it would be carbohydrates free it would be ideal 😉 But it contains 15g of carbs per 100g, so it’s half less than in regular pasta.

Veggie season is officially opened – I started receiving my organic and local veggie delivery and it always inspire me to prepare something new, fresh and delicious. I love having plenty of veg in my fridge because it’s so easy to cook with them – you can easily prepare something yummy, good looking almost from nothing. I keep on learning new things about veggies, about their edible parts we usually put to rubbish (to learn more about this click here) and it gives even more opportunities to make the most of each vegetable.

I highly encourage you to include more veggies into your diet, Summer is the best moment for that. Experiment with veggies you don’t know and never tried, prepare salads, smoothies, stir fry or grill veggies if you have a chance. Veggies are the easiest and quickest to prepare if you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. But remember to buy locally, veggies that didn’t travel thousands of miles, but are locally grown with love are the best veggies.

So today we have easy-peasy and quick gluten free and vegan spaghetti with stir fry veggies and bunch of delicious spices. Although you don’t need to use these exact spice mix. If you have your own favourite mix – use it. If you want to try something new grab some fenugreek, nigella seeds, fennel, coriander seeds, black pepper and cloves. You can use a mortar to grind them together or simply pop them into the coffee grinder. Then add dried tomato flakes, chilli flakes, some dried parsley and chives, mix with some onion powder and voila!

quick summer black soya bean spaghetti

(vegan, gluten free)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pak choi cabage
  • handful of sugar snap peas
  • couple cherry tomatoes
  • small tin of chickpeas
  • 1 spring garlic (or couple garlic cloves plus spring onions)
  • 200g black soya bean spaghetti
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds oil
  • natural rock salt to taste and to cook spaghetti
  • mix of spices: onion powder, fenugreek, tomato flakes, nigella seeds, chilli flakes, fennel, coriander seeds, parsley, black pepper, chives and cloves

DIRECTIONS

Cut of the ends of sugar snap peas and boil in water for 4-5 minutes, then drain. Also cook black soya bean spaghetti in salted water for 2-3 minutes as describe on the packaging. Slice spring garlic, finely chop its green part. Also thoroughly rinse and chop pak choi. Cherry tomatoes cut in halves.

Heat a large pan adding 3 tbsp of olive oil, add snap peas and chickpeas, fry for 3-4 minutes and add all the spices. Then add sliced spring garlic, leaving the green part on the side. Add cooked spaghetti, tomatoes and pak choi cabbage. Give it 4-5 minutes so pasta can soak all the flavours. Add more spices if needed. At the end drizzle with a tablespoon of sesame seeds oil and sprinkle with green part of garlic.

Serve fresh and hot. Enjoy!