Stuffed eggplant with leek purée
WHY I EAT SEASONAL PRODUCE
After the last few weeks of avocado prices sky rocketing, I have truly taken on the importance of eating and creating menus that use seasonal produce.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of eating seasonally is the price difference, however, there are even greater benefits than purely saving what is in your wallet.
Higher Nutritional Value
Unfortunately when fruits and vegetables are stored for long periods of time there is a reduction in the phytonutrient content (the good stuff). When something is out of season the produce is often sprayed with preservatives, irradiated and/or preserved in wax to extend self life. Meaning that a lot of its beautiful goodness is removed.
Supports Your Body’s Natural Nutritional Needs
Do you crave root vegetable soups in winter and stone fruits in summer? It is probably your body asking for the foods that work best in the season. These fruits and vegetables have been picked by mother nature for you at this time for a reason. For example, the high number of seasonal citrus fruits in winter is because they are particularly high in Vitamin C, important for preventing colds and flus.
You support local farming which means less transportation, less refrigeration, less hot houses, and less irradiation of produce.
In season produce is picked for consumption and has been naturally ripened on the vine or tree therefor packed with flavour.
WHAT IS IN SEASON? (JANUARY)
Fruit: cherry, apricot, peach, nectarine, plum, lemon, yellow grapefruit, mulberry, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, prickly pear, mango, lychee, banana, passionfruit, melon, grapes
Greens: vine leaves, rocket
herbs: basil, mint
Vegetables: sweet corn, zucchini flower, zucchini, cucumber, capsicum, eggplant, tomato, radish, garlic, red onion, leek, asparagus, pumpkin
STUFFED EGGPLANT WITH LEEK PURÉE (MAKES 8 SERVES)
2 large eggplants
1 cup quinoa
1 small red onion
1 tbsp of coconut oil
6 medjool dates pipped and chopped
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of one lemon
1 tsp lemon myrtle
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne
pinch of salt
1 leak sautéed in coconut oil
1 cup of steamed cauliflower
1/4 cup of soaked cashews (minimum 4 hours)
Juice of one lemon
1 tbsp on honey (or sweetener of choice)
1 tsp of salt
1 glove of garlic (optional)
1/2 cup of hummus (optional)- for recipe
Soak quinoa overnight.
Cut eggplants long ways into 4, sprinkle with salt and let it sit for 10 minutes. This draws out the bitterness.
Wash quinoa. Cook either in rice cooker or on the stove, the same as rice.
Dice red onion, and sauté in coconut oil. Add diced tomato, lemon myrtle, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne. Stir until tomatoes have softened. You may have to add a little water if the spices begin to stick.
Wash eggplants once the moisture has been drawn out. Place in oven at 180 degrees and drizzle with coconut oil. Cook for 30-40mins depending on the size of the eggplants.
Place the quinoa, tomato mix and the rest of the eggplant ingredients in a large bowl. Stir until combined.
Once eggplant is cooked, pull out the centre, chop and add to mixture.
Scoop mixture into the eggplant skins. Place back in oven for 3-10 minutes.
Blended everything until smooth. Heat on stove until desired temperature.
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