Laura Lee’s Kitchen by Mind, Body & EDS

As my diet has developed into a more vegan style, I always like to make sure I use one core vegetable which is packed full of nutrients as my ‘base’. I have personally found that with my variety of complicated dietary issues, I can absorb the nutrients of food far better when there is no meat involved. If I haven’t consumed enough protein, I always reach for quinoa for my meals! However, if you feel like having some meat you can always adapt this recipe to more your style by simply adding some grilled chicken.

Aubergines are a fantastic vegetable as as they very rich in fibre and are a great source of vitamins and minerals (copper, magnesium and manganese).In particular, they are known to be extremely high in vitamin B1 and B6 which play very important roles to your body’s metabolism helping convert food into energy and produce essential substances, such as neurotransmitters (allows nerves to function properly) and red blood cells. They also have a very low glycemic index level (GI) and low calories so are ideal for any of you with high blood pressure and high cholesterol.Aubergine is considered a “nightshade” vegetable. “Nightshade” vegetables are a group of plant food that some people have specific sensitivities to causing them to experience inflammation, joint pain, autoimmune conditions or digestive challenges. Even though aubergines are classed as a “nightshade” vegetable in FODMAP (are specific carbohydrates that aren’t easily digested and can cause food to ferment in the intestines causing sufferers to experience extreme digestive problems) and are advised to be eliminated, I have found that I have been able to re-introduce this vegetable into my diet in small portions and suffer little reactions. However, some other “nightshade” vegetables do not agree with me at all and I am extremely sensitive to, such as tomatoes due to the combination of high histamine content which activates my Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS).

I must remind you that not everyone has sensitivities to “nightshade” or FODMAP foods. Even though my food intolerance journey can be seen as a nightmare, I view it more as a great lesson because I have been able to really learn and understand the variety of nutritional benefits and important qualities of foods.

Anyways, this salad is one of my favourites to make especially during a busy week, as it is sweet, crunchy, packed with nutrients and easy to cook!

WHAT YOU NEED

Aubergine bake:

1 Aubergine

2 Tbsp Sesame Oil

2 Tbsp Maple Syrup

Handful of Mixed Seeds

Salad fixings:

1 Cup of Cooked Quinoa

1 1/4 Cups of Water

1 Avocado

Handful of Rocket

Handful of kale

Sprinkle of Pomegranate Seeds

Squeeze of half a Lime

HOW TO COOK

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C
  2. Slice the aubergine into round discs (roughly 1 cm thick) and place them on a baking tray.
  3. Drizzle the aubergines with sesame oil and maple syrup, then sprinkle the mixed seeds on top.
  4. Put in the oven for 20-25 minutes until soft and golden.
  5. While the aubergines bake you can prep the salad.
  6. Take a cup of quinoa and rinse the grains. Put in a saucepan and add 1 1/4 cups of water. Bring to the boil and then put on a low heat (simmer) with the lid on for around 10 minutes until all the water has been totally soaked up. Use a fork to fluff and separate the quinoa grains.
  7. Put a large spoonful of quinoa and a handful of rocket and kale into serving bowl.
  8. For the dressing, drizzle some olive oil, juice half a lime and season to your liking (sometimes I like to add a pinch of dried chilli flakes to spice things up). Mix this together with the quinoa, rocket and kale.
  9. Cut the avocado length ways in half, de-seed and peel off the skin. Cut the avocado into thin slices and put on top of the salad.
  10. Once the aubergines are baked, remove from oven and place on top of the salad.
  11. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and enjoy!