Eggplant Salad from Ofra’s Kitchen

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

My friend Ofra lives one flight up and we often chat over lunch about recipes. As a native of Israel, she told me that eggplant was a meat substitute during hard times and is very popular in Israeli cuisine. Every time I have lunch there, an eggplant dish is on the table, in addition to several other appetizers. Ofra has been cooking since she was ten years old and her mother became ill. At last count she has more than 15 notebooks filled with recipes. Since they are all written in Hebrew, I have to take a pen and paper and get the recipe myself over lunch. It’s well worth the effort. Here is just one of Ofra’s delectable dishes.

Ofra’s Eggplant Salad

ofras-eggplantimg_0177.jpg

Utensils: Cutting board, knife, fry pan, bowls
Prep. Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Category: Vegan

Ingredients
One medium eggplant*, washed and cut into ¾” – 1” rings
Olive oil
One large carrot, scrubbed, peeled, and grated
On red bell pepper, washed and sliced into slivers
1 ½ c. string beans, cut into halves if short, thirds if over long
herbs-garlic, thyme, oregano or your choice

Directions
1. Place a small amount of olive oil in fry pan and cook eggplant rings until brown. Drain off oil and set eggplant aside.
2. Place carrots in pan (still will have some oil on the surface) and sauté for about 2 minutes. Set aside in a small bowl.
3. Sauté peppers for 3-4 minutes and add to carrots.
4. Finally, sauté string beans until soft. Add to carrots and peppers.
5. Cut eggplant crosswise into skinny slices and add to bowl.
6. Put entire dish back in colander and allow extra oil to drain. Toss with herbs to taste. Serve warm or chilled.

*Eggplants are a member of the nightshade family, which also includes peppers, tomatoes, and white potatoes. In Jonny
Bowden’s book, The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, a substance isolated from the deep purple pigment of eggplant (although this is not its only color) is a powerful antioxidant (See https://www.menupause.info/glossary/Glossary).

Also, according to http://www.great-workout.com/nutrition/vegetables/eggplant, this vegetable is:

Low in Saturated Fat, Sodium, and Cholesterol
High in Dietary Fiber, Folate, Potassium, Manganese, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper

Additionally, the nutritional value and health benefits of eggplant makes it ideal for:

Maintaining optimum health
Weight loss

One caveat I have read about is that all of the nightshade family can be a problem for arthritis sufferers. Check with your health professional to see if these veggies are contraindicated if you are being treated for arthritis.

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