I'm reading one of Brendan Brazier's books, "Thrive - The Vegan Nutrition guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life," to help me adjust my diet to better train for the half marathon in September. We already eat better than just about anybody I know, but now I'm paying even more attention to super-nutrition. So when it came to making a fresh batch of Hummaganoush, I paused a few minutes, and did a little research before hitting the kitchen.
I love garbanzo beans - or chickpeas, as they're also called - but when comparing them to lentils, which I also love, there was no question as to which one would make the cut. Lentils by a mile! Not only are lentils much faster and easier to cook than garbanzos, requiring no soak time, they're also lower in calories, fat, and sodium, and higher in fiber, protein, and potassium. And if I took the time to sprout them, they'd be even better. I know that garbanzo beans are traditional for this sort of thing, but I really don't care. The lentils taste just great.
The other key ingredient is eggplant. I didn't really want to deal with baking, cooling, and peeling an eggplant, and besides, I'm also trying to fit as many raw vegetables into my diet as possible, because they keep all their lovely enzymes, making them easier to digest, and nutrients easier to assimilate. This is big when you're "in training" because the less work your body has to do to digest food, the more energy it has to excel during workouts, and to recover and repair in between. Suddenly I'm thinking about this stuff...
But raw eggplant? It sounded sort of... icky. Then again, a quick online search told me it's possible to freeze and thaw eggplant for use in "raw" babaganoush. Hallelujah! Between the lentils and the eggplant-freezing trick, a rather labor intensive dish was suddenly a whole lot easier.
So here's the recipe. Make some, eat it up, and see how super you feel.
1 cup dry lentils (any kind you like) cooked with 3-4 cloves fresh garlic - Stay close to the lentils toward the end of cooking, and add hot water a little at a time, just to keep them covered. When they're soft, cook a little longer to evaporate any excess water, so you don't have to drain off any of the nutrient-filled cooking water.
1 small-medium eggplant, peeled, diced, frozen for 2 hours or more, and thawed.
1 more large clove garlic
1/4 large onion
3/4 cup tahini
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 T cumin
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
Once the lentils are cooked, and the eggplant is frozen and thawed, this whips together really quickly in the food processor. You might want to do the lentils and eggplant the night before, taking the eggplant out of the freezer in the morning, so it has time to thaw.
First chop the onion and garlic in the food processor. Then add the lentils, eggplant, and all other ingredients except the vinegar. Add vinegar gradually as you blend, checking for flavor and consistency. Blend until fairly smooth, and adjust seasonings to your liking. Serving possibilities are endless. Use Hummaganoush in wraps and sandwiches, with falafel in a nice soft pita, or as a dip for raw veggies and chips. This is now a staple in our house. It's not just a snack... it's fuel!