Aubergine Dip

This dip is absolutely amazing both hot and cold, and is bursting with both flavour and nutrition! Aubergines are packed full of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. They are particularly prized for their ability to help lower cholesterol and assist those who are trying to lose weight.

Sweet red peppers are an excellent source of carotenoids, which are thought to help to prevent the onset of several diseases. Carotenoids are particularly beneficial for preserving the health of the eyes, as well as the appearance of the skin.

To make this dip you will need the following ingredients:

1 aubergine
2 sweet red peppers
1 clementine, peeled
1 tsp of miso paste
Pitta bread
Olive oil
Sea salt

The first thing that you will need to do is take your aubergine and chop it into small chunks. You can then slice the sweet red peppers in half. Place the aubergine chunks and the sweet red pepper halves onto a baking tray and drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil. Add a sprinkling of sea salt on top of the olive oil and then you can place the tray into your oven at 180C.

Leave the aubergines and the sweet red pepper in the oven to roast for approximately 30 minutes. After this time you can remove the baking tray from the heat and place all of the aubergine into your food processor with half of the sweet red pepper. You should also add the clementine into the food processor with half a teaspoon of sea salt and the miso paste. Before you turn the food processor on to blitz your dip, add in four tablespoons of olive oil and then you’re good to go!

Once you have blitzed your dip you will notice that it is still hot once it is ready! This means you either have the choice to serve as a hot dip, or leave to cool down and enjoy it later. All that is left to do is break up the remaining sweet red pepper and add it to the top of your dip as a garnish.

Enjoy this dip with hot or cold pitta bread, or as a creative side-dish to a main meal!

If you want to see this recipe in action then you can head to my YouTube channel and watch me creating it!

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Miso Aubergines

This recipe is super simple to make and does not take a large amount of time either! It is a great choice when you practically want dinner to just cook itself whilst you get on with other tasks in the evening. It is also a fun plant-based dish to whip together when you have guests over for a BBQ, as you can cook them in advance and then keep them warm on the grill wrapped in aluminium foil!

Aubergines are a vegetable that are at their seasonal best between August and October, so now is the perfect time to make this recipe! This delicious vegetable contains phytonutrients with antioxidant properties which help to protect the body against existing and future damage. Studies have shown that regular consumption of aubergines is great for cardiovascular health as they can help to lower cholesterol levels.

The addition of sesame seeds to this dish brings further health benefits as they are high in copper, calcium, manganese and magnesium, all of which are essential to the proper function of the body. Including sesame seeds in your diet often will help to promote healthy skin, as well as maintaining your oral health. Sesame seeds are also a great plant-based source of protein, with 4.7 grams of protein per ounce of seeds. Additionally, sesame seeds contain an anti-cancer compound known as phytate. Studies have shown that an adequate presence of this compound in the body can slightly lower the risk of a person developing particular types of cancer, such as colorectal cancer.

To make this dish for two people, you will need the following ingredients:

2 aubergines
Rapeseed oil
1 tbsp of miso paste
1 tbsp of maple syrup
1 tbsp of tamari
2 tbsp of sesame seeds

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 10.01.02To get started you will first need to slice the aubergines in half and score before drizzling with rapeseed oil. You can then cook them in the oven at 240C for 30 minutes.

While the aubergines are cooking, take a bowl and combine the rest of the ingredients bar the sesame seeds. Once the aubergines are cooked, remove them from the oven and mix the ingredients from the bowl onto them. Place the aubergines back into the oven for five minutes to finish cooking. You can then remove them again, sprinkle them with sesame seeds and serve!

For more recipes like this one that will fill you with goodness, head over to The Flexi Foodie Academy!

Aubergine and Cauliflower Curry

It isn’t difficult to find a recipe for the perfect curry but it is difficult to find a recipe that is as healthy as it is delicious! With this recipe I am confident that I have reached the best amounts of both! The combination of cauliflower and aubergine provide fantastic nutritional benefits, and that is not to mention the health kick provided by the added ginger and brown rice too.

As you will all know, I am a big lover of whole grain foods and serving this curry with brown rice will not only make it taste better but will also ensure you are nourishing your body at the same time! Whole grains contain a massive range of vitamins and minerals, many of which are lost when a grain is processed into a different product! So opting for the whole grain variety of any food will ensure that you are getting the best amount of health boosting properties in your meal as possible!

The following ingredients will serve two – three people:

1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 cup of uncooked brown rice
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
1 aubergine, chopped into 2cm chunks
1 small cauliflower, in small florets
1 yellow pepper, chopped into 2cm chunks
1 Tbsp. Curry Powder
4 Tbsp. tomato puree
A handful of coriander, chopped

aubergine_curry_cauliflowerSo to get started, the first thing you will need to do is cook the rice in a large pot of water over a high heat for 25 minutes until it is soft.  Then, remove it from heat and drain. Next, in a large frying pan, fry the onion, the ginger and the garlic for between three and five minutes.  Next, add the aubergine, cauliflower and yellow pepper with two tablespoons of olive oil.

The next step is to heat this pan over a high heat for between ten and twelve minutes. After this time these ingredients should all be cooked through.  You can then mix in the curry spice and tomato puree. Spend the next two minutes stirring the pan before you serve with the rice and then top with coriander.  Season with salt and pepper to taste if required.

Puy Lentil Quinoa, Roasted Aubergines and a Tahini Dressing

This could be one of my favourite creations so far! I was running late for the school run and in fact my entire day was just a LATE day….. I was late for everything!  So I had to whip up something quick but of course, good for the family!  And quinoa is one of the quickest grains to cook.  So while I was cooking that, I roasted some aubergines and boiled some lentils at the same time.  Mixed them together with some soaked goji berries and topped it all with a yummy tahini dressing that I knew the kids love.  So, here’s one family recipe for you that is now a favourite amongst my four kids……

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Serves 4-6

1 large or 2 small aubergines, cut into 1 cm rounds

2-3 Tbsp. Coconut oil, melted

2 tsp. cumin

200g quinoa

250g puy lentils

large handful of sultanas

large handful of pumpkin seeds

For the dressing:

1 Tbsp. tahini

2 Tbsp. tamari

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp. honey

Squeeze of lemon

Heat your oven to 200C.  Bring 400ml of water to the boil and add the quinoa.  Bring back to the boil and then cover and simmer until the quinoa is cooked approximately 20 minutes.   At the same time bring a pot of water to boil and add the lentils.  Cook until soft, again another 20-25 minutes.  Coat the sliced aubergine in coconut oil and cover with the cumin.  Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until soft.  In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, lentils and aubergine.  Top with the pumpkin seeds and sultanas.  In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, tamari, apple cider vinegar, honey and lemon and pour over the quinoa mixture.   And voila… that is one delicious and nutritious family meal or even great as a side dish for a dinner party!

For more health and wellness tips, follow me on Instagram @juliemontagu OR keen to learn more about nutrition?  Head to my first online nutrition course:  Nutrition for Optimal Health at www.theflexifoodie.com.

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Ginger and Umeboshi Aubergines

Ginger and Umeboshi Aubergines is a fantastically filling side dish that will perfectly complement any nutritious meal. When you’re shopping for your ingredients, try to select a wide range of aubergines to make your meal much more beautiful and fun to make. The aubergines in my recipe were the purple and white striped “greek” variety, the skinny “little fingers” aubergine and the baby aubergine, all purchased from Clapham Whole Foods in London. So to get started creating this meal for four, you’ll need to acquire the following items:

500g of a selection of auberginesGinger and Umeboshi Aubergines grassrootsandgrains1
Rapeseed oil for frying
2 small onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 red chilli, chopped finely
2cm knob of ginger, peeled and grated
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
A pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp. umeboshi paste
1.5 tsp. coconut palm sugar or agave nectar
75ml water
The flesh of 1 small mango
Sea salt

To begin you must first take all of the aubergines you have selected and cut them into 1.5cm slices. You can then place them in a dish and sprinkle with a good quality sea salt before leaving them to sit for 30 minutes. As these 30 minutes are coming to an end you must then add a splash of oil to a pan in order to fry the onions, garlic, chilli and ginger. Once the onions have begun to brown and soft, you can then add the spices into the pan and continue to fry for a few more minutes. Now that these ingredients have been combined and cooked, you can remove them from the pan and place in a separate dish.Ginger and Umeboshi Aubergines grassrootsandgrains2

Using a clean tea towel or some kitchen roll, wipe the salted aubergines until they are dry and then place them into the pan that you previously fried the other ingredients in. Whilst doing this, it may be necessary to add a dash more oil into the pan. Keep frying until the aubergines are golden on both sides and then pop them into your oven on a fairly low setting, just to keep the warm.

It is now time to take the fried onion mixture and return it to the frying pan. You must also now include the umeboshi paste, sweetener and the 75ml of water. Allow this concoction to boil then stir well and leave it to simmer for five minutes. Once finished, move the mixture from the frying pan into a food processor and chuck in the flesh of the mango. Blitz together for 30 seconds before returning to the dish.

Now you can have some fun with the presentation by arranging the aubergine slices onto a platter. The sauce that you have just created in the blender can now be drizzled over the top and the rest served on the side of the dish. Present on the dinner table alongside your meal and your whole family will be satisfied until breakfast!Ginger and Umeboshi Aubergines grassrootsandgrains4

Aubergines are revered as a health food and loved by many for their low calorie count and their rich fibre content. Eating 100g of aubergine will provide you with just 24 calories but will also account for nearly 10% of your recommended daily allowance of fibre. The skin of the aubergine is just as good for you as the flesh itself and contains an impressive amount of anti-oxidants. Aubergines also rate incredibly low on the glycemic index of vegetables.

The vitamins that can be found in aubergines are essential to the body’s process of replenishing proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Also you can find great amounts of potassium, copper, iron and manganese in this tasty vegetable which are all fantastic for keeping the body functioning well. With all of these factors considered, you can understand why aubergine is an all round amazing addition to your diet!

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