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Monday, September 20, 2010

Eggplant Walnut Paté

GLUTEN-FREE | GRAIN-FREE | DAIRY-FREE


This vegetarian paté looks like the real thing. The color and texture are similar to patés made with meat, but the flavor is a complete surprise. Creamy, nutty and well-seasoned, it will please omnivores and vegans alike.

Once you roast the eggplant, this dish can be whipped up in a snap. It makes a fantastic starter and can be made in advance. Serve it with whole grain crispbread (I like Kavli 5 Grain) and fresh veggies like radishes, carrot and celery sticks, cucumber and zucchini rounds, and strips of bell pepper.

Leave the peel of the eggplant intact, as most of the antioxidants reside there. One antioxidant in particular, nasunin, is being studied for its anti-cancer properties. Researchers in Japan found that nasunin in eggplant peel blocks angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels necessary for cancer cells to proliferate and metastasize.

Eggplant is a also good source of B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and trace minerals like copper and manganese. And it's full of fiber, which is essential for digestive and cardiovascular health.

Raw walnuts are an excellent source of essential omega-3 fatty acids, which play important roles in neurological and heart health. Walnuts also contain protein, fiber, vitamin E, minerals and plant sterols (good for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels).

Serve this spread on toasted slices of whole wheat baguette. If you're avoiding grains and flours, serve it with cucumber slices instead.

1 medium eggplant
Heaping 1/2 cup raw walnuts
2 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Pinch sea salt
1 lemon

Preheat oven to 450F. Place eggplant on a baking sheet and roast until soft, about 40 minutes. Cool completely.

Remove the stem from the eggplant and roughly chop it. Add it to a food processor along with the walnuts, garlic, ginger, olive oil and sea salt. Squeeze 1 tbsp fresh juice from the lemon and add it to the food processor as well. Pureé until smooth and taste for seasoning. If desired, add more sea salt or lemon juice.

Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge until ready to eat.

Reference:

Matsubara K et al. Antiangiogenic activity of nasunin, an antioxidant anthocyanin, in eggplant peels. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. 2005 Aug 10;53(16):6272-5.

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