By: Cat Ebeling, BSN, co-author of the best-sellers: The Fat Burning Kitchen, The Top 101 Foods that Fight Aging & The Diabetes Fix
Baba Ghanoush, or Baba Ghanouj, is a traditional Mediterranean puree of eggplant flavored with tahini (sesame seed paste), lemon juice, garlic and fresh herbs. It is also loaded with lots of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients that stabilize blood sugar and decrease insulin resistance. Use fresh sliced veggies like cucumber, carrots, red and green pepper and zucchini for crunchy, low glycemic dipping yumminess.
Eggplants contain lots of antioxidants, and flavonoids, including a unique one called ‘nasunin’—along with several important vitamins and minerals, along with lots of valuable fiber. Eggplant helps protect against cancer, lower cholesterol, improves digestive health, and is a good source of necessary B vitamins.
Although eggplant is a member of the night shade family and sometimes gets a bad rap, it is considered to be a part of a group of vegetables that are high in the powerful antioxidant, anthocyanin which comes from its rich purple color.
Eggplant is often eaten cooked, and it actually has more benefits than when it is raw. Cooking eggplant boosts the available antioxidants and releases some of its powerful disease-fighting compounds.
Eggplant also contains a unique type of antioxidant called nasunin. Nasunin is actually a type of anthocyanin and is one of the biggest players in eggplant’s nutrition. Nasunin is mostly found in the purple skin but any color of eggplant contains this valuable antioxidant. Nasunin is a key fighter of inflammation, and works as an antioxidant protecting against oxidative stress. It also helps iron become more absorb-able by the body, and it can help detox the body of harmful metals like mercury, arsenic and lead.
Nasunin also protects the cells’ DNA and strengthens cell membranes helping them avoid pathogens. And nasunin also helps the cells absorb nutrients from food while cleaning and detoxifying the body—preventing cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and more.
This recipe is the classic version of Baba Ghanouj, but if you’d like to spice it up a bit, add in some roasted red pepper if you’d like. It adds a delicious color, plus even more healthy antioxidants and vitamin C.
- 1 large eggplant, halved lengthwise
- ½ red pepper, seeds and pulp removed (optional)
- 3 Tbsp sesame tahini
- 2 or more garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ cup or more of fresh parsley, chopped
- 2-4 sliced green onions
- Juice of one fresh lemon
- 1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prick the eggplant skin all over with a fork and bake until soft and collapsed, about 30 minutes. Let cool. Scoop eggplant pulp in a bowl and discard skin. Add other ingredients, puree in a food processor, or hand mash with a fork or potato masher, drizzle with olive oil and serve with sliced veggies for dipping. Serves 4 or more.
To add roasted red pepper, set oven to broil and place pepper in oven on baking sheet, skin side up. Roast for 3-4 minutes until skin turns black. Cool and remove skin and blend in with eggplant mixture.
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