Chickpea Sauce (updated)

It’s true, I like Mediterranean flavors and spice combinations, as I’ve mentioned before.

I needed a sauce that is not tomato-based, since I already have one of those that is full of flavor, and it needed to follow the strict “no salt/no oils added” rule of Eat To Live.  This turned out well, and is a repeatable, storage-friendly sauce that I can keep on hand.

Tonight, I ate it as a topping for my baked eggplant slices, and some steamed cauliflower and broccoli, and it was perfect for my tastebud cravings.chickpeasauce

1/2 cup Chickpeas (I boiled the dry beans at home, but canned is also okay, if you can find the “no salt added” type.)
4 mushrooms (steamed ahead of time.  I always have some ready for recipes in an airtight container)
1/4 cup Italian Parsley, chopped
1 tbsp dried black ancho pepper, chopped
3 tbsp tahini paste
1/4 cup fruit vinegar (I used Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp chia seeds, ground
2 tbsp turmeric root, minced (or 1 tbsp tumeric powder)
1 tsp black pepper, ground
1/2 tsp thyme, ground

Combine ingredients in a blender, puree, adding tbsp of water as needed for desired consistency, usually about 1/3 cup.
Heat in small pan, or microwave, before using as a topping.
Makes about 1.25 cups.

For the sliced eggplant, I sliced a large eggplant length-wise, with a slice of onion and lemon, and baked for 45 minutes, covered, at 380 degrees.
I added the sauce in generous amounts.

Serves 2 as a main dish, more if served as a side.

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Sweet Tofu Salad Dressing

The salad dressings in the Eat To Live program are important for a couple of big reasons.

One of the adages of Eat To Live is “Salad Is the Main Course!”  If the dressings are not bursting with flavors that satisfy the senses, then the salad — the main course! — can be rather dull and discouraging for newcomers.  The “no oils/no salt added” basic rule can feel very confining to a newcomer, so in my view, the more flavorful the dressings are, the more success a person is likely to have on Eat To Live.

Also, the dressings are an excellent way to create your own “favorite” with experimentation and combining flavors that appeal to you most!  The creative process is what makes this exciting for me, along with the actual personal contact I have with every element that goes into it.

This dressing is one I created this evening, and it is wonderfully light and pleasant to the taste buds.  See what you think about it.

Sweet Tofu Salad DressingSweet Tofu Salad Dressing

1 pkg (approx 16 oz) of silken tofu
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup tahini paste
1/4 cup fruit vinegar (I used Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar this time.)
1 cup fresh blueberries
4 medium shallots
4 garlic cloves
2 tbsp ground chia seeds
1/4 cup Italian parsley
1 tbsp red pepper sauce (I used Louisiana Hot Sauce, though it has a tiny bit of salt in it.)
2 tsp black pepper

Chop, dice, or slice all ingredients and combine them in a blender.  Blend on puree setting, if you have it.  If not, blend until the dressing has the thickness you like.
Makes about 40 oz.

Eggplant Stuffed Pepper

One night this past week, I was trying to create a recipe that would use my aging eggplant and bell pepper I had bought a few days before.  My Mediterranean food cravings having taken full charge of my senses, this is what I came up with, and it is definitely repeatable.  (No pictures this time, unfortunately.  Next time.)

1 medium-size eggplant, peeled and cubed
1 bell pepper (I used an orange one)
1 medium-size onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 tbsp tahini paste
1 small lemon
1/4 cup of freshly minced parsley
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Blanch whole bell pepper for a minute or two to soften the outer skin, then place the whole pepper into the oven at 375 for about fifteen minutes.  The pepper should still have enough structure to allow for the stuffing.  Allow pepper to cool.  Cut pepper in half crosswise, and clean pulp out, if desired.  Trim stem of pepper so that the top will lie flat in the baking dish when stuffed.

Add remaining ingredients, except the lemon, to a blender, and run the blender at a medium speed until the texture is to your liking.  I kept mine slightly rough in texture.  Pour mixture into each half of the bell pepper, and add a slice of lemon to the top of each half.  Place halves into a baking dish, cover and bake for about 45 minutes at 380.

After taking the peppers out of the oven, remove cover and squeeze the juice from the remaining lemon onto each half.

Serves 2