Before switching to a whole foods plant based diet, one vegetable was pretty much a mystery to me: eggplant. It looks so purple, round, and friendly, but how to eat it? I had experienced it only in cheesy, mushy eggplant parmesan.
Now I love eggplant! I use eggplant in veggie burgers and “meat”balls. It has a very meaty texture. In this dish eggplant replaces chickpeas in what is basically a standard hummus recipe. Baba ghanoush is hummus made with eggplant. This is a fun family meal because you build your own wraps with the lettuce leaves, baba ghanoush, and marinated tomatoes. A squeeze of lemon juice or bit of cracked pepper on top and voila! Tasty.
I used the recipe from the “Forks Over Knives” cookbook, with a couple of adjustments. I find that green leaf lettuce works better than romaine, since the crunchy stems are shorter in the green leaf variety and it’s easier to eat. The leaves are also larger and contain the baba ghanoush better.
In the baba ghanoush itself I added a bit more tahini than the recipe originally calls for. Process the eggplant mixture in a food processor for a good two minutes and it will turn out very smooth and creamy! If you haven’t had baba ghanoush before, be aware that it is a very garlicky dish! 4 cloves of garlic in the eggplant mixture really come through strongly, since the eggplant itself is so mild.
Make these toast strips by following my recipe for 100% whole wheat bread rolls, slice the rolls, and broil for 3 or 4 minutes on a baking sheet. They are delicious and they provide a great crunchy contrast in texture to the baba ghanoush.
1 Large eggplant, stemmed
4 Cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 Tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted and finely ground (or use ground cumin)
2 Tablespoons tahini (optional)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400F. Prick the eggplant all over with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, or until the ggplant is shriveled and tender. Let the eggplant cool, cut it in half, and scrape the flesh from the skin. Add the flesh to the bowl of a food processor with the garlic, cumin, tahini, lemon juice and zest, and cayenne and puree until smooth and creamy.
2 Large tomatoes, diced
1 Clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 Tablespoons minced basil
2-3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 or more green leafy lettuce leaves
Combine the tomatoes, garlic, basil, and balsamic vinegar in a large bowl and mix well. Season with pepper.
To Assemble the Wraps:
Spoon some of the baba ghanoush onto the bottom of one of the lettuce leaves. Top with some of the marinated tomatoes. Roll the leaf up and over the filling. Repeat for the remaining lettuce leaves.