Falafel Stuffed Eggplant with Yogurt Mint Sauce

I love falafel and I love eggplant. Putting them together this intimately was one of the best things it ever happen in my kitchen. No exaggeration here. And topping it all up with a creamy and tangy yogurt sauce makes this combo even better. Sounds like vegan porn to me.

Here is how you make it:

Wash and dry 2 medium eggplants. Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise and score cut sides with a crosshatch pattern. Drizzle some olive oil and salt on the eggplant halves. Place them cut sides down, on a baking sheet lightly coated with olive oil. Bake at 475° for 7 minutes or until slightly tender.

While the eggplant halves are baking prepare the falafel mixture according to box directions–I used a whole box of Cashab Falafel Mix for this recipe and it was almost the perfect amount of stuffing. I overfilled mine halves and, if you love falafel as much as I do, you should overfilled yours too!

Remove from oven and carefully scoop out pulp, leaving a 3/4-inch shell. You can reserve the pulp for another use or you can shamelessly eat it right away just like it did!

  

Spoon the falafel mixture into each eggplant shell. Bake at 450° for 25-30 minutes or until the falafel is browned and crispy.

To make the Mint Yogurt Sauce, follow the recipe below. You can serve the sauce on the side or drizzle it all over the eggplant. Why not do both?

Since I made this recipe I keep thinking what else can I possibly stuff with falafel. I’m obsessed!


Yogurt Mint Sauce
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (I used whole milk yogurt. No regrets!)
  • ¼ cup minced mint
  • ½ clove garlic, finely diced or grated
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Salt to taste (Start with a little and add as much as you like, always tasting in between. I'm horrible when it comes to salting my recipes. Still learning!)
Instructions
  1. Place yogurt, mint, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, and cayenne in a small bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. It'll be best to let sit for 30 minutes but it can be served right away. Store on an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

 

Hashtag whole360Fry

Dealiciouscooking instagram https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/whole360fry/

It took 129 posts and a lot of commitment to clean up my cooking-and eating- style a little bit. I love all things food but 365 days ago I decided to make a more conscious but still delicious shift. Less rice more quinoa, whole over processed, lots of clean eating in many colorful ways and a hashtag to hold me accountable.

I’ve learned a few things from this #whole360fry ‘thing’. Clean and healthy options are way easier to choose than what I expected and saying NO to dirty options is awfully hard. So I ate eat a lot of clean and a bit of bad because life is short and curly fries make me happy.

This may sound cliché, but clean foods are easier to choose when my mind is also clean of all that junk that surrounds my everyday life. I eat my best when I feel my best. So if you happen to look at my hashtag journey you will see not only lots of raw fish and quinoa but also wine and the beach…Ahhh the many miles I have since walked, ran and even dragged myself at times.

I no longer hate running, but I still don’t love it. What I really like is the way it makes me feel afterwards and the fact that it doesn’t leave me famished. Running works when everything else failed didn’t!

Looking back at my #whole360Fry posts some of my favorite clean dishes where the easies to make; quinoa tabouleh, kale salad with tahini Sriracha dressing, roasted curry cauliflower and watermelon salad with feta and basil. My kids love kale chips and they’re learning to enjoy sweet potatoes. After all, this #whole360Fry ‘thing’ became a Fry family ‘thing’…and we all win!

Eating whole and clean doesn’t have to be hard. It’s a change that can actually be fun if you allow yourself to try new things. Documenting it here and on Instagram has helped me to continue to make healthy choices and to have fun with it.

 

What I learned from Martha Stewart

Stuffed Chicken Breast Rolls

When I first saw Martha Stewart on TV many years ago after I just moved here from Brazil, I  thought it was something seriously wrong with her. The slow talking, slow moving, the half smiles, the irritating hair in the eye, the missing sense of humor. What exactly is she? A baker?Designer? Not a chef, not a decorator…Wedding planner? I learned later that boring Martha was is an American icon and everyone loved loves to hate her.

I’m not exactly a fan but she has my respect. After all she has survived fame, prison, divorce, building an empire twice, and she has taught me how to pound a chicken breast properly.

Now, since I couldn’t find a video of Mrs. Stewart herself pounding the chicken breast here are the non-illustrated directions:

  1. Take a full chicken breast and place it on your cutting board.
  2. Take a piece of plastic wrap 2X bigger than the breast itself and put it over the chicken breast.
  3. With a meat mallet start pounding the chicken. Start from the center and work your way out. Use short and even strokes.

I use this method frequently to make chicken piccata, chicken scaloppini and chicken rolls. Stuffed chicken breast rolls is a quick ‘make ahead’ recipe. I usually stuff it with sauteed spinach, mushrooms, fresh mozzarella and basil, ham and provolone, and even stuffing. First you need to pound the chicken breast like you were Martha and then:

  1. Season the thin fillets with salt/pepper/garlic powder.
  2. Place a mound of stuffing on each breast.
  3. Wrap and roll the fillets over the stuffing.
  4. Secure breasts with toothpicks.
  5. Place rolls, seam side down, on a greased baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 380F for at least 40 minutes (depending on the size of the rolls)

Wrap the rolls in bacon or prosciutto for extra flavor. If we could only do the same to Martha Stewart!!!!

 

The Costco Paradox and another Sweet Potato recipe

Oh…Costco. I dread going in and I fight to get out EVERY TIME! The crowds are unbearable, the parking dance, the sneezing, the rude and the cruisers. I won’t even mention the samples because I’m a victim of them as well.  However, there’s no other place I can get a heart attack wrapped in tin foil (aka Chicken Bake. It’ll kill you) and endless organic eggs as cheap as it gets.

Costco is a paradox and I love to hate it.

Costco Healthy Dinner fix

This was yesterday’s quick dinner fix from Costco.  I’m not sure how “clean”  their rotisserie chicken really is but it’s delicious and convenient.

This pre-packed salad is so tasty, surprisingly low calorie and only $4.49.

Pre-packed kale salad

And because sweet potatoes are super food, I’ve committed to a 6lbs. bag of Organic sweet potatoes for $6.49 (seriously cheap.) The kids better start liking it because that’s a whole lotta sweet potato. I made this quick Chipotle Honey Sweet Potato Hash to go with dinner and turned out pretty good (recipe below).

Here is to a ‘Costcosized’ happy and healthy weekend!

Honey Chipotle Sweet Potato Hash
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp. of Ghee butter, olive oil OR coconut oil
  • ½ cup diced shallots or red onion
  • 2 cups of shredded sweet potatoes (I used the Titan Julienne peeler) or cut it into ½” cubes
  • ½ cup of diced yellow or red bell pepper (optional)
  • ½ tbsp. of chipotle powder
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • Salt to taste (I used about 2 tsp to star with and add some more after cooked)
Instructions
  1. In a large pan, heat the Ghee butter (or oil of preference) over medium. Add the onions (and bell peppers if using it) and sauté until they became translucent. Add the sweet potatoes, chipotle powder, cumin and salt. Cook for 10-12 minutes, moving it around to cook evenly.
  2. Cook the hash until the sweet potatoes are soft but not 'mushy'. Once hash is cooked add the honey, mix and serve.
Notes
Do not cover the hash while cooking. It'll sag the sweet potatoes. Substitute honey for maple syrup for a more breakfast friendly taste. Add sausage or bacon to it! This is a really simple and versatile dish. Have fun with it!

 

 

Kale and Quinoa Salad with spicy citrus dressing

Kale & Quinoa Salad

Honestly,  I really suck when it comes to describe dishes, talk about foods in depth, explain what makes this or that recipe special. This kale salad is delicious, healthy and easy to make.  No fancy adjectives. No overuse of description words. And the fact that I can use a local food deal to prepare it makes this salad even more exciting. I hope you try it!

KALE & QUINOA SALAD with SPICY CITRUS DRESSING

For the salad:

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (I used Trader Joe’s Organic Quinoa and cook according to package directions adding some truffle salt and pepper. To get one cup of cooked quinoa, use ½ cup of raw quinoa)
  • 1/4 cup of walnuts (slightly chopped)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 small shallot (minced)
  • 1 medium carrot shaved (use a vegetable peeler to shave the carrot in thin slices OR use a cheese grater)

For the dressing:

  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Liquid Aminos (if you don’t have it in the pantry just substitute for salt)
  • ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Start by cooking the quinoa. While quinoa is cooling off wash kale well. Remove the ribs from the kale. Pile the kale leaves on top of each other and roll them up like a giant cigar. Thinly slice the kale.  Place it in a large mixing bowl.

Make the dressing by whisking with ‘gusto’. Taste it. Listen to your taste buds. They will tell you what to add (for me it’s usually more cayenne).

Now, this step makes all the difference so don’t skip it. Pour the dressing over the sliced kale mix and ‘massage’ it. Yes, massage it with your HANDS! Set aside and let kale marinade until slightly wilted (about 5 minutes). Add the remaining ingredients.

The salad will keep for over 4 days in the fridge depending on how fresh the kale was when you use it. When picking your kale bunch just make sure the leaves are not mushy and sad. You want happy kale with vivid color and crunchy aspect.

 The Deal

Organic Curly Kale is always 99c at our local Ralph’s

Sprouts usually has good deals on ‘in bulk’ nuts and if you are not a nut eater you can buy just enough for the salad (no waste of nuts or money)