Pasta-free Zucchini Lasagna for Pesach

Zucchini Lasagna

You know those recipes that people post on their Facebook statuses? I am sure most of you ignore them. But recently, one caught my eye for a zucchini parmesan. Coming just before Pesach, I decided it was worth a second read as it didn’t have any chametz.

I wasn’t excited about the part that called for frying the zucchini, but I saw the potential and decided to transform it into a “fake lasagna” that would work well as a side dish or even main dish for vegetarians for Pesach. So I went all mad-cook on the recipe, and came out with a dish that will definitely become part of my year-round repertoire. It’s got all the flavors of lasagna without the pasta, so this means it’s also good for those who stay away from gluten.

PASTA-FREE ZUCCHINI LASAGNA

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

4-6 large zucchinis sliced lengthways into half centimeter (¼ inch) slices (if you only have small zucchinis, then make sure you have enough to cover two full oven trays). Slice off a thin slice of skin on either side of the zucchini so that there aren’t any slices that are half skin. zucchinilasagna1

300 g (12 oz) grated Mozzarella

400g (14 oz) crushed tomatoes

4-5 garlic cloves crushed

6-8 fresh chopped basil leaves

1 teaspoon sugar

250 g (½lb) ricotta cheese (you can also use cottage cheese)

1 egg

Salt and pepper to taste

100 g (4 oz) grated Parmesan or Emmental cheese (any cheese with a nice tang)

How to do it

1. Pre-heat your oven to 180ºC (350ºF)

2. Line two large baking trays with baking paper and lightly spread them with olive oil. Line the trays with the sliced zucchini – squeeze them all in there; there’s no need for space between the slices.

3. Roast for about half an hour till just starting to get color, turning them over halfway through. (Make sure not to overcook them as they will get too soft and you won’t be able to handle them.)

3. In a small saucepan, heat some olive oil and fry the garlic just until it starts to get golden. Add the crushed tomato, chopped fresh basil leaves, salt and pepper, and sugar. Allow to come to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Set aside.

4. In a bowl, combine the egg, ricotta cheese, salt and pepper. Mix till combined. Set aside.

5. To assemble, grease a medium-sized baking dish with a little olive oil or cooking spray. Evenly spread about 4-5 tablespoons of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish.

6. Place a layer of zucchini strips on top of the tomato sauce, trying to cover as much of the area as possible. Spread the ricotta mixture over the tomato sauce, spread about one third of the tomato sauce over the ricotta, and then sprinkle about half the grated Mozzarella over the tomato sauce.

7. Add another layer of the zucchini strips on top of the cheese, and spread another one third of the tomato sauce over it, followed by the rest of the Mozarella.

8. Add a final layer of zucchini strips, followed by tomato sauce and the Parmesan or Emmental cheese, spreading it evenly over the top of the dish.

9. Bake at 180ºC (350ºF) for 30-40 minutes or until the cheese starts browning slightly.

Serves about 8 as a side dish.

If you love risotto, you’ll love this

Fake red rice risotto

Fake red rice risotto

Here’s a recipe that has all the yumminess (I know it’s not a word but it should be) of risotto, without the endless stirring and with a whole bunch of nutritional value from brown or red rice. I love red rice – it’s got a really good flavor and never gets mushy, but this will work with any of the whole grain rices you enjoy. Just make sure you don’t use white rice.

This is hard to beat as a dairy side dish. In fact, for those vegetarians among you, it could go down well as a main dish too. The first time I served this I knew it would not be the last time. The reviews were stellar, and this one is definitely a keeper in my house. Serve this as a side dish with fish, and you’ve got a sensational main course.

The original recipe is from the Smitten Kitchen, but I’ve tweaked it a little to suit my needs (and laziness).

FAKE BROWN RICE RISOTTO WITH SPINACH AND ONIONS

Ingredients

2 cups uncooked brown, red or mixed rice

2 large onions, quartered and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoon butter

Salt and pepper to taste

1 bag 300g (one prewashed bag) spinach

2 cups of grated yellow cheese (use a cheese with a lot of flavor like cheddar or emmental)

½ cup parev chicken or vegetable broth (for reheating only)

How to do it

1. Cook the rice according to the directions on the package. You can do this ahead of time and refrigerate the rice until you are ready to make the whole dish.

2. In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil and butter and add the onions. Fry them on medium heat until they are caramel brown in color, stirring occasionally. This will take a while (25-30 minutes).

3. Slice the spinach leaves into strips and add to the onions and let them wilt. This will take about a minute.

4. Assemble the dish by mixing the rice and grated cheese into the onions and spinach. Season to taste.

5. If you are reheating this, add some stock before reheating so that it doesn’t dry out.

Serves about 8 as a side dish.

Easy and delicious Rosh Hashana Green Beans

Lots of symbolic foods compete for table space at Rosh Hashana meals. It’s hard to cover all of them, but here’s one that’s so easy and delicious, you’re going to want to make sure you add it to your menu.

On Rosh Hashana, green beans symbolize prosperity and increased blessings for the New Year. The Talmudic instructs us to eat “rubiya” (actually fenugreek, a small seed-filled pod), pointing to the Hebrew word for increase or multiply. Some people substitute green beans for fenugreek;  others use black-eyed peas.

This recipe throws in some honey for good measure, but also a lot of good Asian flavors that balance the sweetness.

Make sure you buy fresh, thin green beans. The thicker ones tend to get dry and stalky, and don’t taste good.

HONEY GINGER GREEN BEANS

500g (1 lb) green beans topped and tailed

About 1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons honey or silan (date honey)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

4 cloves of crushed garlic

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 teaspoon finely grated ginger

½ teaspoon sesame oil

HOW TO DO IT

1. Preheat oven to 220°C (425°F)

2. Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread the olive oil evenly. Spread beans out and roll them around in the oil so they are evenly coated.  Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes.

3. While the beans are roasting, mix together the remaining ingredients – honey/silan, soy sauce, garlic, orange juice, ginger and sesame oil in a small bowl.

4. Remove beans from oven and coat them evenly with the sauce. Return the tray to the oven and bake for another 5-10 minutes. For firmer, juicier beans, only bake for 5 minutes. If you prefer the beans a lot softer then bake for 10 minutes. I recommend 5 minutes.

Serves about 6 as a side dish.

This can be served hot or room temperature.

 

Recipes with Friends

Roasted kohlrabi, beets and fennel

I love getting tips and new ideas from my friends. I also love brainstorming with them to come up with new ideas. Both of these happened to be when I was on a recent visit to Cape Town. At a glorious BBQ at her home, my friend Marianna introduced me to a new idea for serving kohlrabi. A relatively common vegetable in Israel, it’s less known in other countries. I first met this hard root veggie when I moved to Israel. It’s always served raw and in salads – I don’t love it as I think it’s rather bland. Marianna shook things up by roasting it, and it was sensational. A few nights later, I was treated to another wonderful meal at my friend Adrienne who roasted beets and fennel together. That too was a great combo. Then the topic of roasted kohlrabi came up, and hey presto, the two of us figured that throwing all three into the roasting pan had to be a good idea. It was!

I now have a new favorite roasted veggie combo that taste amazing, is really easy to prepare, and the best part is that whenever I make it, I’ll think about Marianna and Adrienne. Food and friends are really the best combination. Thanks ladies – this one’s for you.

ROASTED KOHLRABI, BEETS AND FENNEL

Ingredients

Kohrabi, beets and fennel

Kohrabi, beets and fennel

1-2 large fennel bulbs

2 large beets

3 kohlrabis

1-2 heads of garlic (optional)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Coarse salt

2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (for serving)

How to do it

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F)

2. Line a large roasting pan with baking paper and grease it with some of the olive oil.

3. Fennel – slice off the base of the fennel, and tops and peel the outer layer. Chop into large bit size chunks.

4. Kohlrabi – peel the kohlrabi and cut them into large bite size chunks.

5. Beets – peel the beets and cut them into bite size chunks that are smaller than the kohlrabi and the fennel as the beets take a little longer to cook.

6. Place all the veggies in the baking dish, including the whole heads of garlic, sprinkle with salt and the remaining olive oil and toss to coat all the veggies in oil. Bake in the middle of the oven for 35-40 minutes or until a fork smoothly enters a piece of beet.

7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Squeeze the garlic out of the peels into the veggies (if using), sprinkle with Balsamic vinegar, toss around and serve at room temperature or warm.

Serves about 6 people.

It’s Thanksgivikkah – pumpkin, meet potato

Pumpkin potato latkes for Thanksgivikkah

Next week, for the first time since 1888, we get to light Hanukkah candles on Thanksgiving. The next time we’ll get to do it… 2070 according to Chabad, and some pessimists say it won’t be for another 70,000 or so years. Either way, this year is a once or twice in a lifetime to go Thanksgivikkah crazy and make… pumpkin latkes! OK, so this may not be the culinary event of seven millenia, but why not?

In honor of this meeting of worlds, traditions, events and gastro-rituals, I threw together this recipe. I wasn’t sure if it would work – pumpkin is rather watery and can cause problems when added to a mixture that you’d rather not see running with liquid. The secret is in the flour… don’t skip it! Also, as you know, I hate frying and see no need to not bake these in the oven – easier and less fattening too. But if you feel the need to maintain the Hanukkah tradition of soaking all you eat in hot oil, skip the oven stage and fry them instead in hot oil as you would regular latkes.

If the picture is less than glam, it’s because my family grabbed them hot off the baking pan and demolished them before you could say “Maccabi Pilgrims!”

THANKSGIVIKKAH POTATO PUMPKIN OVEN BAKED LATKES

Ingredients

700-800 g (1½ lbs) pumpkin

2 medium sized potatoes

2 eggs

¼ cup of flour (you can also use whole wheat)

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

3 tablespoons oil

How to do it

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF).

2. Cut the pumpkin into 2-3cm (1 inch) thick slices and place on a lighly oiled and baking papered baking tray. Roast for about half an hour or until the pupkin is completely cooked through and slightly browning. (You can do this a day or two before and store in the fridge).

3. Grate the potatoes (not finely) and rinse them in water to get rid of the starch. Place them in a colander to drain – leave them to drain for about half and hour (at least).  Squeeze out as much liquid as you can with your hands.

4. In a mixing bowl combine the potato, pumpkin (which you mash up with a fork), eggs, flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon (if using).

5. Place a piece of baking paper on a large baking tray and spread the oil on the paper evenly. Drop about one tablespoon of the mixture on the paper and flatten it a bit with the spoon or a spatula and tuck in any loose strands of potato so they don’t burn. Squeeze any excess egg mixture out of the batter before you drop it on the tray.

6. Bake for 15 minutes. Then turn over each latke and bake for another 15 minutes or until both sides are browned (you don’t have to add more oil – there will be oil left on the paper).

6. Place the latkes on a double layer of paper towel to dab off any excess oil.

Makes about 20 latkes.

Serve with sour cream and apple sauce or with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Thanksgiving’s Coming – Time for Pilgrim Cholent

In anticipation of the Thanksgiving meal I’ll be hosting at my house, I decided to plan ahead and get some food in the freezer. My husband challenged me to make baked beans in the slow cooker. I’ve never tackled home made baked beans, after all, why turn your back on Heinz? But challenge accepted, I trolled for recipes that would work with our local ingredients. I found a suitable starting point in The Vegetarian Epicure. I had to make some adjustments for what’s available in Israel, as well as some updates to cooking methods that have taken place since the early 1970s, when the book was written. But ultimately, what emerged was a rich, flavorful, comforting vegetarian dish that has an interesting connection to the Thanksgiving story, and funnily enough, to our own traditional Shabbat cooking.

Baked beans are believed to have originally been a Native American dish of beans cooked with venison, bear fat, and maple syrup, and baked in pits lined with hot stones. This dish was adapted by the Pilgrims, whose religion forbade them from cooking cook from sundown Saturday to sundown Sunday (not unlike observant Jews on Shabbat). So slow cooked baked beans made the perfect New England Saturday night supper because the leftovers could be eaten warm the next morning for breakfast. Anyone for Pilgrim Cholent?

So not only does it turn out that this dish is as appropriate for Thanksgiving as turkey (something I didn’t know when accepting my husband’s cooking challenge), but it also draws an interesting parallel between Jewish and Pilgrim culinary observance.

Beans freeze really well, so this is a great dish to put in the freezer. I made a double batch so we could freeze our beans and eat them as well. This dish can also be baked in the oven, so I have both options in the recipe. I recommend the slow cooker as you don’t have to check it once it’s in. Serve this with rice, corn bread, couscous or just plain.

I am confident that this will be a great side dish for Thanksgiving, as it certainly fits with the Thanksgiving story and just tastes wonderful.

Baked Beans Served with Couscous

BAKED BEANS

Ingredients

2 cups dried pinto or navy beans (any small bean will do)

4 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 bay leaf

2 diced onions

4 diced carrots

2 diced red peppers

2 cloves of garlic crushed

1 tablespoon chicken soup powder

¾ cup tomato paste

1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or chili powder

½ cup Silan (date honey) Note: If you prefer the dish to be less sweet, use 1/3 of a cup instead. You can also use molasses, syrup or honey.

1 teaspoon dried ginger

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup red wine or regular vinegar

Salt and black pepper to taste

How to do it

1. Soak the beans overnight in a large pot of water, where the water covers the beans generously (the beans will expand).

2. Pour the water off, rinse the beans and refill the pot with clean water so there is about 5 cm (2 inches) of water above the beans. Add 2 whole cloves of garlic, olive oil, bay leaf and salt. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat to low and simmer for an hour until the beans are softened. Drain the beans, saving the bean water for the cooking process. Discard the bay leaf.

3. Place the beans, onions, carrot and pepper into the slow cooker. Mix 1 cup of the bean water, chicken soup powder, garlic, tomato paste, mustard, cayenne pepper, Silan, ginger, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour over the vegetables and mix through. Cook on low heat for 8 hours.

For oven baking:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C (300°F)

2. Pre-cook the beans as in steps 1 & 2 above.

3. In a large skillet, saute the onions, carrots and peppers in olive oil until they are just tender (do not overcook – they will continue to soften in the oven). Mix into the drained beans.

4. Mix 1 cup of the bean water, chicken soup powder, garlic, tomato paste, mustard, cayenne pepper, Silan, ginger, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, salt and pepper and pour over the beans and vegetables, mixing well. Place in a large, heavy casserole dish and cover tightly. Bake in the oven for 7-8 hours, checking to make sure the beans aren’t drying out. If they are, add some of the bean broth to moisten.

Serves 10-12 as a side dish. Service with rice, corn bread or couscous.

 

Getting Crazy with Rosh Hashana Tzimmes

Rosh Hashana Tzimmes Pie

When you grow up in an Ashkenazi home with strong Lithuanian roots, tzimmes is the bread and butter of “yontif” food. In my house, we had our traditional tzimmes, which consisted of lots of sweet carrots on the outside and a large lump of kneidel on the inside. My husband and his family love this dish, but personally, I started getting a little tired of it, especially when Rosh Hashana seems to come so quickly after Pesach. So I few years ago I decided to get crazy with tzimmes, and come up with my own version.

In this case, “getting crazy” stayed very firmly in the Ashkenazi Lithuanian ingredient wheelhouse, but everyone was happy with the result. I wanted to moderate the sweetness, so I added a potato base, and put the sweet carrots on top, which in effect turned this into a kind of tzimmes pie. This is what I serve every Rosh Hashana now.

As with so many of these traditional recipes, the amounts are approximate, and you can really adjust them to suit your tastes and quantities very easily.

ROSH HASHANA TZIMMES PIE

Ingredients

Potato Base

2-3 large potatoes peeled and grated (medium-size grater) – you will need about 3-4 cups grated potato.

1 small onion finely grated

1 large beaten egg (2 if they’re small)

¼ cup flour

Salt and pepper

1 teaspoon oil

Carrot topping

About 750g (1.5 lbs) carrots peeled and evenly sliced

3 tablespoons flour

About ¼-½ cup honey or silan – date honey (I don’t measure this one. Add more if you prefer it sweeter and less if you don’t – it will taste good no matter what.)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger powder

2 tablespoons oil

Salt and pepper

How to do it

1. Place the grated raw potatoes in a metal strainer, sprinkle with salt, and allow to sit for about half an hour so the liquid can drain out. Squeeze the potatoes well to get as much liquid out as possible. (You can also gather the potato up in a large piece of cheese cloth, and squeeze the water out that way.)

2. Pre-heat oven to 200°C (400°F)

3. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the potatoes with the onion, egg, flour, salt and pepper.

4. Grease a medium-sized oven-proof or Pyrex dish, and flatten the potato mixture onto the bottom of the dish evenly (it should be at least 1cm thick).

5. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the potato starts to brown. Then brush the surface of the crust with the oil and return to the oven for another 5 minutes (no not allow to get too dark but make sure the potato is cook through).

6. Meanwhile…cook the carrots in a large pot of water until soft.  Drain the carrots and return to the pot.

7. In a small dish, mix the flour with a little water to make a runny,smooth mixture, and add it to the carrots and mix. Add the honey/silan, cinnamon, ginger, oil, salt and pepper and mix together.

8. When the potato crust is baked, turn the oven down to 190°C (375°F). Spread the carrots onto the crust and return to the oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until the carrots start getting slightly dark.

Serves about 10 as a side dish

Outdoor cooking – for vegetarians too

When we think of outdoor cooking, thick steaks and juicy hamburgers on the BBQ usually come to mind. But what about the vegetarians? In my family, we have a few, and I always like to make sure that when I have them over, they don’t feel that they have been left out with a few salads and some bread as their main course.

At a recent BBQ, I made these vegetable skewers that not only made the vegetarians happy, but also had the carnivores dipping their fingers into the veggie dish when they thought no-one was looking. The prep took me about 10 minutes, and they were really delicious. I used eggplant, peppers and zucchini, but you can also add tofu, mushrooms or onions if you wish. I usually avoid putting raw onions on skewers as they usually aren’t cooked enough when everything else is done (including meat). So if you want onions on your skewers, I suggest par boiling them for a few minutes before you marinade them.

BBQ vegetables skewers

VEGETARIAN BBQ SKEWERS

Ingredients

1 medium-sized eggplant, peeled

2 large zucchinis

2 red peppers

For the marinade

½ cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce

3 tablespoons silan (date honey) or 2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

A few drops sesame oil

2 cloves of garlic crushed

About 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

How to do it

1. Cut the vegetables into similar-sized cubes.

2. Mix all marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Add the vegetables and mix around so they get coated with the marinade. Allow to sit for about half an hour, but if you’re in a hurry, you can leave them for about 15 minutes, and they will soak up the marinade too. (If you don’t have enough liquid, then add a little extra soy sauce)

3. Soak wooden skewers in water for about half and hour (this stops them from burning on the BBQ).

4. Thread the pieces of vegetable on the skewers, alternating the different vegetables for a cheerful look (I put 6 pieces per skewer)

5. Cook on the BBQ until the pepper starts softening – make sure the eggplant doesn’t burn.

Makes about 20 skewers.

Cauliflower can be Delicious

I love cauliflower. It’s one of those vegetables that I am happy to eat steamed with no seasoning – I just love the flavor and the texture, and I don’t care that cooking it means stinking up the house. But for those of you who don’t share my strange love of smelly vegetables (I also loved plain cooked cabbage and I adore brussel sprouts) here’s a recipe that takes cauliflower to a whole new level, infusing it with some amazing Indian flavors that will have the biggest anti-cauliflowerites coming back for seconds.

The original recipe is from Marlena Spieler’s “Complete Guide to Traditional Jewish Cooking”, and the recipe originates with the Bene Israel Jewish community of Mumbai. I have made some adjustments so that you can easily find all the ingredients – the original has some obscure ingredients that aren’t readily available in supermarkets.

After I made this for the first time, I realized that the sauce would be just as delicious with potatoes. So the next time I prepared this dish, I added cubed, roasted potatoes, and it worked beautifully. It’s a yummy optional extra if you want the dish to stretch a little further.

CAULIFLOWER IN INDIAN SPICED COCONUT SAUCE

Ingredients 

Cauliflower in Indian Spiced Coconut Sauce

1 head cauliflower, broken up into small florets

1 tablespoon flour

½ cup water

½ teaspoon chili powder or 1 small green chili finely chopped (adjust the chili according to your taste – use 1 teaspoon chili powder if you like things hot!)

1 tablespoon chopped coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon mustard powder or mustard seeds or Dijon mustard (smooth)

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

4 tablespoons oil

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 can coconut cream

Juice of 2 lemons

Salt

(Optional) 2 medium potatoes cut into small cubes and oil for roasting

How to do it

1. (Optional – potatoes) Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Place the cubed potatoes in a roasting pan lined with baking paper. Toss the potatoes with oil, and sprinkle salt over them. Roast for about 45 minutes or until they are cooked through and starting to get golden, tossing them occasionally. Set aside.

2. Mix the flour with a little water until you get a smooth paste. Add the chili, coriander, cumin, mustard, turmeric, curry powder, salt and the rest of the water, and mix well to create a spice paste.

3. Heat the oil in a large wok or skillet. Add the spice paste and fry for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Add the cauliflower, and stir, letting the spices coat all the florets. Add the coconut cream, mix  and bring to the boil. Reduce the flame and simmer until the cauliflower is tender but not overcooked (about 10 minutes). Optional – add the potatoes, and stir the mixture thoroughly so they are coated with the sauce. Allow to simmer for a few minutes more.

4. Remove from heat and add the juice of the lemons. Serve hot.

Eggplant Made Simple

The way I see it, eggplant is to Israeli cuisine what herring is to Eastern European Jewish cooking. What am I on about? When I was growing up, my mother was the queen of herring, and prepared this salty fish in so many different ways: Pickled herring, Danish Herring (in a mustardy sauce), Russian Herring (in tomato sauce), pineapple herring (yes indeed, in a cream sauce!), chopped herring (that Jewish party favorite, served with kichel), and, horror of horrors, baked herring, or as it was known in our house “gebakte herring” – an awful herring-based meat loaf that couldn’t easy double as an instrument of torture. Baked herring was without doubt one of the main culprits in Eastern European Jewish cooking never quite making it as one the the world’s great cuisines. I can still smell the stench of the baking herring permeating through the house…

While my folk spent many an hour dreaming up new and exciting ways with herring, here in Israel, the eggplant seems to have taken on a similar role, only, in my humble opinion, the results are much tastier. Any trip to an Israeli supermarket or local eatery will present you with an array of different eggplant salads – eggplant in tehina, eggplant in mayonaise, roasted eggplant salad, spicy eggplant, and then there’s fried eggplant slices, and more. One of my favorite ways to serve eggplant is the locally popular half eggplant with tehina. This is one of the most elegant ways to serve Israeli “herring”, and is extremely easy to prepare. It’s a great side dish for a BBQ or any other meal. It’s parev and of course, vegetarian, so it ticks many boxes.

I recommend looking for smaller eggplants so that you can give a half an eggplant per serving instead of having to cut them in half at the table.

For this year’s Yom Ha’atzmaut, why don’t you give this simple dish a try, and watch your guests be very impressed.

ROASTED EGGPLANT SERVED WITH TEHINA

Ingredients 

Roasted Eggplant Served with Tehina

6 small eggplants

Olive oil

2/3 cup of raw tehina

About 2/3 cup of cold water

2 small cloves of garlic crushed

The juice of half a lemon (or more, to taste)

½ cup chopped fresh parsley (about half is for garnish)

Salt to taste

How to do it

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350°F)

2. Wash the eggplants, snip off the spikey part of the stem leaves and slice them length-ways down the middle. Brush the cut side of each half with some olive oil (the oil will be absorbed into the eggplant and it will not seem oily, but don’t add more.)

3. Place the eggplant halves cut side down directly onto a clean oven rack. (Tip: Place an oven tray below the rack covered with a piece of baking paper or foil to collect the drippings and keep your oven clean.) Bake for about 40 minutes or until the cut sides are brown and the flesh is soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

4. Prepare the tehina: In a bowl, mix the raw tehina, lemon juice and crushed garlic. Slowly add the water, mixing until you get a thick, but slightly runny consistency (runnier than hummus). Add the chopped parsley and salt to taste.

5. Serve each eggplant half with some tehina sauce drizzled over the top. Sprinkle with some more chopped parsley to garnish.

Makes 12 servings