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


  • 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


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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popeye would love it! – spinach, ricotta & goat cheese keto tart

My non-keto version of this tart is made with puff pastry instead of linseed one, so if you’re not restricted with any special food requirements feel free to use puff pastry instead. Although this one is pretty good as well, especially when the edges gets crispy and brown. It’s also more fulfilling, because linseed pastry is mostly fiber. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. Though most carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules, fiber cannot be broken down into sugar molecules, and instead it passes through the body undigested. You can read a little bit more about it in this post.

I decided to spice up my tart with French goat cheese and some walnuts – if you manage with the smell and taste, go for it. I’m not a fan, added goat cheese simply because my partner likes it. But personally I would go for camembert, brie or feta cheese – they all would be a great addition to this tart. So choose whatever you like the most.

Obviously you have to be the fan of spinach, cause it’s a spinach tart 🙂 Also to this set I always add plenty of garlic – my another favourite. I guess it won’t be everyone cup of tea, but I’m sure there’s a lot of “rabbits” there, who loves a lot of green on their plates.

Also I encourage you to chose frozen spinach for this recipe, as you would need quite a lot of fresh spinach to prepare it. I used whole bag (850g) of frozen spinach. It’s good to defrost it first and get rid of excess of water. Cooked spinach is a great source of Vitamin K, A, C and Vitamin B9. And also good source of minerals that our body needs everyday: calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, sodium, phosphorus, selenium and others.

And funny story – do you remember Popeye and his passion for spinach, that was making his muscles grow? This claim was based on a simple mistake, and lasted for years when Popeye was convincing children about magical properties of spinach. It began in 1870, when German scientist Erich von Wolf was conducting research into the amount of iron in Spinach and other vegetables. He discovered that spinach had an iron content of 3.5mg per 100g serving. But when Wolf wrote up his findings, he misplaced a decimal point, and ended up putting down spinach’s iron content as ten times greater than what it actually was: 35mg per 100g. Until 1937 everyone believed that spinach has almost magical properties, when someone finally double checked Wolf’s calculations and discovered the mistake.

What’s even more interesting modern studies showed that spinach contains a natural steroid-like chemical called ecdysterone that increases muscle mass. Obviously you would need to eat kilograms of spinach daily to see the results of this natural steroids, but it means that however Popeye knew what was good for him 🙂

spinach, ricotta & goat cheese keto tart

NOTE: my measuring cup is regular 250ml glass

INGREDIENTS for pastry:

  • 2 cups ground linseed (flaxseed)
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 3-4 tbsp clarified butter, coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 tbsp milk (I used almond milk)
  • pinch of natural rock salt

INGREDIENTS for filling:

  • 850g frozen spinach (defrost before you start cooking)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 250g ricotta cheese
  • 250g goat cheese, feta, camembert or other stronger cheese you like
  • 1 egg
  • handful of walnuts
  • pinch of natural rock salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg


The best is to defrost spinach first. Then get rid of excess water, and then start cooking. Although if you forgot to take it out of the freezer – no worries. It wil just take a little bit more time to prepare.

Heat a large frying pan and place frozen spinach, sprinkle it with some salt (salt will help to defrost quicker) and slowly defrost. When spinach is defrosted but you have large amounts of water on the pan, pour it to the sink. Be careful not to throw all of your spinach as well. When you got rid of water, add chopped garlic, pepper, nutmeg and cook until the rest of water evaporates. Add some more salt or pepper if it’s not enough. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool down slightly.

Now it’s time for pastry. I use old coffee grinder to grind linseed, you can do the same, or buy grounded linseed. Although it’s more expensive and less healthy, because ground linseed oxidize quickly. That’s why it’s better to buy linseed and grind only the amount you need. You can also use mortar to grind them, but it’s more time consuming and requires more attention.

In a bowl using your hand mix together: grounded linseed, coconut flour, salt, butter or other fat, egg and milk. You should get quite dense, slightly sticky pastry.

Prepare baking dish and baking paper. Place pastry in between two sheets of baking paper and roll out until you reach the size of your dish. Place pastry in the dish and now come back to spinach.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Add one egg and ricotta to your spinach and combine. Transfer spinach to a baking dish, place pieces of cheese on top – as you like it. Also add walnuts.

Bake for about 30-40 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let it rest for about 5 minutes, then slice in portions and serve.


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