Jun 112012
 
KYV Eggplants, Heirloom Tomatos, Peppers and Cucumbers
Oxidative Stress is becoming a big buzzword nowadays – but what exactly is it?  Oxidative stress is the imbalance of our bodies oxidizing at a greater rate than its ability to detoxify. Something we’re all familiar with is the oxidation of an apple or avocado when we cut it – that is why the flesh turns brown when it comes in contact with the air.

What worsens the oxidative stress in our bodies is the presence of free radicals, according to Dr Weil, author of Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being (Knopf, 2005), they are “electronically unstable atoms or molecules capable of stripping electrons from any other molecules they meet in an effort to achieve stability. In their wake they create even more unstable molecules that then attack their neighbors in domino-like chain reactions.

By the time a free radical chain fizzles out, it may have ripped through vital componentsof cells like a tornado, causing extensive damage, similar to that caused by ionizing radiation.

What we eat, our lack of exercise, radiation and pollution all contribute to the presence of these free radicals. Studies show that this stress, in turn leads to a host of diseases such as Alzheimer’s to Lou Gherigs – the disease my grandfather had.
My grandfather was a testament to the power of REAL FOOD. Typically someone with ALS will live around five years. My grandmother, following a macrobiotic diet, kept him alive into his mid seventies-he was diagnosed in his 50s.
So what do we do about this? Eat antioxidants!

Antioxidants combat oxidative stress by neutralizing these free radicals and helping the body repair the damage.

A food that we all know contains lots of antioxidants is berries, top on the list at Mayo Clinic, along with sweet potatoes, oats, cinnamon and walnuts.

What has even more antioxidants than berries and the whole reason I’ve been doing more research?

Mila.  As I have been getting more and more questions and interest surrounding this food I have spent a significant amount of time doing the research on its benefits and how to incorporate it, deliciously, into our diets.
Try some for yourself! Click here.

In this month’s issue of Cooking Light there were several eggplant recipes that caught my eye as I had gotten two with my farm share. I love anything with tahini and beans so this sounded like the perfect recipe.  Instead of egg I used Mila to create the binding and add Omega 3s to a vegan dish.

Even though the ingredient list is long, I was not disappointed.  I loved the bean flavorful bean mixture inside the eggplant and the warm, nutty sauce on top.  The relish added a cool finish to the dish. Mixing raw and cooked ingredients creates lots of interesting textures. I definitely rate this one highly-next time I may even use the stuffing in another vegetable since it’s so versatile!

Vegan Falafel-Stuffed Eggplant withTahini Sauce and Tomato Relish

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients


Tahini sauce:
3 tablespoons warm water
2 tablespoons tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon agave
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 garlic clove, minced

Eggplant:
2 eggplants (about 12 ounces or 340 grams each)
Cooking spray
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup fresh gluten free breadcrumbs (or regular)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 Tbsp Mila + 6 Tbsp water (in place of two large eggs – feel free to use if you have those on hand or have a seed allergy and are not eating vegan).
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added pinto beans (chickpeas can also be used)

Relish:

1 cup chopped seeded tomato
1/2 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

1. To prepare sauce, combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl, and stir with a whisk. Set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 475°.

3. To prepare eggplant, slice the eggplants in half lengthwise; score cut sides with a crosshatch pattern. Place the eggplant halves, cut sides down, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 475° for 7 minutes or until slightly tender and browned. Remove from oven; carefully scoop out pulp, leaving a 3/4-inch shell. Reserve pulp for another use. Season cut sides with 1/4 teaspoon salt.

4. Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, onion, and remaining ingredients (through pinto beans or
chickpeas) in a food processor; process until smooth. Spoon 1/2 cup pinto (or chickpea) mixture into each eggplant shell. Bake at 475° for 25 minutes or until eggplant halves are tender and pinto mixture is lightly browned.

5. To prepare relish, combine the tomato and remaining ingredients in a bowl; stir to combine.

6. Place 1 eggplant half on each of 4 plates. Top each half with 1/4 cup relish and 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 341.6
Total Fat 12.6 g
Saturated Fat 1.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.8 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 712.8 mg
Potassium 1,070.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 47.4 g
Dietary Fiber 16.8 g
Sugars 1.6 g
Protein 14.0 g
Vitamin A 16.3 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 19.8 %
Vitamin C 38.8 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 5.3 %
Calcium 13.3 %
Copper 29.6 %
Folate 61.9 %
Iron 28.5 %
Magnesium 28.4 %
Manganese 53.3 %
Niacin 11.3 %
Pantothenic Acid 9.2 %
Phosphorus 33.9 %
Riboflavin 13.4 %
Selenium 12.3 %
Thiamin 30.2 %
Zinc 14.0 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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