Melitzanosalata (Greek Eggplant Salad) and Why Eat Eggplants
Mediterranean, especially Greek cuisine is perfect for a low-carb diet. The only downside is the sweets that, as some of you may know, are literally swimming in syrup and covered in sugar. Avoid them completely and as always stay away from bread, potatoes, rice and pasta and you are left with REAL food!
With Easter coming, my good friend Stam, who's originally from Greece, suggested I should make Metitzanosalata, aka Greek eggplant salad. The original recipe is on his blog and I kept it exactly as it is - traditional and simple. To my surprise, some versions of Greek Melitzanosalata do not include whole onion but only freshly squeezed onion juice. I've tried several variations and this is my absolute favourite.
Hands-on: 15 minutes
Overall: 1 - 1.5 hour
Nutritional values (per serving):
|of which Saturated||1.3||grams|
|Magnesium||28||mg (7% RDA)|
|Potassium||449||mg (23% EMR)|
Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (20.6%), protein (7%), fat (72.4%)
Ingredients (make 6 servings):
- 4 average eggplants / aubergines (1 kg / 2.2 lb)
- 1 large white onion, juiced (150g / 2.6 oz)
- 4 cloves garlic, mashed
- juice from 1 lemon
- handful chopped parsley
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (60 ml / 2 fl oz)
- ½ tsp salt (I used pink Himalayan) or to taste
Note: Since you will only use some of the onion (juiced), I counted only half of the carbs from it. When looking for ingredients, try to get them in their most natural form (organic, without unnecessary additives).
- Preheat the oven to 175 C / 350 F. Wash and dry the eggplants and place them on a baking sheet. Do not cut or pierce them. Place them in the oven and cook for 45-60 minutes. When done, the eggplants should be soft. An hour of cooking should be enough but if needed, cook for longer.
- Meanwhile, peel and roughly chop the onion and place in a food processor.
- Pulse until finely chopped.
- Pour the olive oil into a bowl. Place the onion into a cheesecloth or fine-mesh sieve. Squeeze out the juices - as much as you can.
- Discard the solids or keep them in the fridge for other uses (e.g. adding to meat stews).
- Mix the olive oil, freshly squeezed onion and lemon juice, mashed garlic and finely chopped parsley.
- When the eggplants are soft, remove from the oven and let them cool down. Cut the eggplants and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Using a fork, mash the eggplant flesh into desired consistency - do not blend.
- Add the oil and herb mixture and stir in well. Season with salt and enjoy!
Serve immediately as a side with meat like Pork skewers or use as dip for vegetables and low-carb crackers like Nut crackers - both recipes can be found in my apps and book.
Eggplants on a Low-carb Diet
If you want to get the best out of eggplants (aubergines in the UK), don't peel the skin off. It contains phytochemicals and the eggplant itself is full of antioxidants. Both protect cells from the effect of free-radical damage, therefore eating eggplant regularly can have anti-aging effect. This rich-coloured low-carb vegetable is also packed with fiber, which is good for sating your appetite.
Make sure you include electrolytes (magnesium, sodium and potassium) to avoid symptoms of keto-flu common in low-carb diets. Potassium and magnesium are essential minerals and eggplants are a good source of both. Deficiency of potassium and magnesium may result in muscle weakness or cramping, fatigue, low blood pressure, headaches, depression, etc. It is therefore vital to include food rich in electrolytes in your everyday diet.