Turkish Stuffed Eggplant – Imam Bayıldı (V)

Turkish Stuffed Eggplant – Imam Bayıldı (V)

This classic Turkish dish is served throughout the Mediterranean region and is perfect for a light lunch or dinner.  Made with fresh vegetables and olive oil, and served at room temperature. My kids love it with a dollop of cool yogurt (always full-fat!). I also love it with a simple salad of greens and balsamic vinegar. 

 

See step by step photos below.

Turkish Stuffed Eggplant (Imam Bayıldı)
Serves 4
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. 4 small eggplants
  2. 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 sweet onion, sliced
  4. 1 sweet bell pepper, sliced
  5. 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  6. 1 medium tomato, chopped
  7. 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  8. Juice of 1/2 lemon
  9. Sea salt, black pepper, Urfa pepper flakes
  10. 1 cup of water (perhaps more)
  11. A handful of chopped parsley
  12. Toasted pine nuts to garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Wash the eggplants and slit from stem to base, making sure not to cut all the way through. Coat with 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  2. In a medium pan, heat the remaining 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Add the sliced onions and peppers and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and sauté another 2 minutes, then add the fresh tomato, tomato paste, salt, black pepper, and Urfa pepper. Mix, cover and let cook until the onions and peppers are soft and caramelized. Add the lemon juice and remove from the heat, giving the mixture a stir.
  3. Now the eggplant should be cool enough to touch. Slit them all in half and place skin side down in a medium sauce pan. Add the water and cover. Bring the water to a soft simmer and cook for about 1 hour, until the liquid is reduced to a thick sauce and the eggplants are tender. Add more water if necessary.
  4. Once done, let cool. To serve, sprinkle with chopped parsley and toasted pine nuts. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Most recipes for this dish call for adding sugar. I personally choose to avoid this, as I don't think it's necessary. If you use a sweet onion, like Vidalia, and cook the onions and peppers until well caramelized, the natural sweetness of the vegetables shines through without the added sugar.
  2. About 210 calories per serving.
Sousan Alwan https://sousanalwan.com/

Roasting the eggplants…

 

Preparing the stuffing…

 

Stuffing the eggplants…

 

Lemon Asparagus Eggplant Risotto

Lemon Asparagus Eggplant Risotto

This recipe is based on my recent obsession with Yotam Ottolenghi’s cooking. Every time I turn the page in one of his cookbook’s, I gasp, sigh, smile, or some combination of these. Everything is beautiful and it’s so comforting and familiar, and yet new. I added asparagus to this recipe because I found some at a local market and thought it would be a perfect compliment to the lemon and eggplant. Hope you like it too. 

Lemon Asparagus Eggplant Risotto
Serves 4
Write a review
Print
Total Time
45 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 medium aubergines
  2. 10-12 tender asparagus
  3. 5-6 Tablespoons olive oil
  4. 1 onion, finely chopped
  5. 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  6. 7oz risotto rice
  7. 1/2 cup white wine
  8. 3 1/2 cups warm vegetable stock
  9. 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  10. Grated zest of 1 lemon
  11. Coarse sea salt and black pepper
  12. 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
  13. A handful of fresh basil, shredded
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
  2. Cut the aubergine into 1.5cm pieces and place on an oven tray with the trimmed asparagus. Coat with about 2 Tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast until golden. Turn once to cook evenly. When done, remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a pan, then fry the onion slowly. When translucent and cooked, add the crushed garlic and cook for three minutes more. Next, add the rice, stir to coat it in the oil and fry for two to three minutes. Add the wine and cook for two to three minutes more, until all evaporated. Turn down the heat to medium.
  4. Add a ladle of hot stock to the rice, stir until it is absorbed, then repeat, stirring all the while, until all the stock has been used up - this will take 10-15 minutes.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat, add the lemon juice, half the zest, the aubergine and asparagus, a 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the parmesan cheese. Stir, cover and leave for five minutes. Taste and add more salt if you like and some black pepper.
  6. To serve, spoon the risotto into bowls or plates and sprinkle with more Parmesan, basil and the rest of the lemon zest.
Notes
  1. About 420 calories per serving.
Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi PLENTY
Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi PLENTY
Sousan Alwan https://sousanalwan.com/
Warm noodles and edamame

Warm noodles and edamame

This recipe for warm noodles and edamame comes via my favorite super chef Yotam Ottolenghi. I’ve changed a few minor ingredients, but that’s it.  This dish fits the bill for a healthy easy quick meal that brings together the flavors of ginger, lime, soy, cilantro, and sesame. I just love it. 

Warm Noodles and Edamame
Serves 4
Write a review
Print
Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. warm glass noodles and edamame beans
  2. adapted from Plenty, via The Guardian
  3. yields 4 servings
  4. 7 oz or 250g brown rice noodles
  5. 1 Tablespoon light olive oil
  6. 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  7. 2 cups cooked edamame beans
  8. 3 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
  9. 1 fresh red chili, finely chopped
  10. A handful cilantro, chopped
  11. A handful mint leaves, chopped
  12. 3 Tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
For the sauce
  1. 2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
  2. 4 limes, juiced
  3. 2 Tablespoon sesame oil
  4. 2 Tablespoon dark brown sugar (or palm sugar)
  5. 2 teaspoon tamarind paste
  6. 3 teaspoon soy sauce
Instructions
  1. Boil about 3 quarts of water and remove from heat. Soak the noodles in the hot water until soft – about five minutes. Drain immediately (the noodles quickly become soggy) and set aside to dry.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together all the sauce ingredients and set aside.
  3. In a large frying pan, heat the oil and add the garlic. Just as the garlic becomes fragranant and starts to turn golden, remove the pan from the heat and add the sauce and noodles. Gently mix together.
  4. Add the edamame (reserving some for the garnish), green onions, chili and fresh herbs. Briefly return to the heat to warm through and taste for seasonings.
  5. Pile up the noodles on a serving plate, scatter the sesame seeds over the noodles, and garnish with the whole cilantro leaves. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Notes
  1. About 390 calories per serving.
Adapted from from Yotam Ottolenghi book Plenty
Adapted from from Yotam Ottolenghi book Plenty
Sousan Alwan https://sousanalwan.com/
Refreshing Citrus Salad with Feta and Avocado

Refreshing Citrus Salad with Feta and Avocado

This Citrus Salad is perfect when I want to throw something delicious and refreshing together on short notice, especially in the summer when it’s hot and I don’t want to spend a lot of time in a warm kitchen. You can choose any citrus fruits that you like. Packed with fiber and Vitamin C, and low in sugar, this is a great combination of sweet, tangy, and savory. I just love it.

Refreshing Citrus Salad with Feta and Avocado
Serves 4
Write a review
Print
Total Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 citrus fruits, peeled and sliced (orange, grapefruit, mandarin, blood orange)
  2. 1 ripe Avocado, sliced
  3. A few slices of red onion
  4. 1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
  5. A handful of pistachios
  6. A handful of mint
  7. 1 Tablespoon honey
Instructions
  1. Place the slices of citrus on a plate. Top with the other ingredients and drizzle with honey. Enjoy! It's that simple 🙂
Notes
  1. About 200 calories per serving.
Sousan Alwan https://sousanalwan.com/
Zucchini Beet Pasta with Anchovies

Zucchini Beet Pasta with Anchovies

This easy simple pasta recipe was inspired by one of my favorite chefs, Yotam Ottolenghi. In his cookbook Simple, he has a pasta with samphire. In Turkey, this is a common and easy ingredient to find, but in the US, which is where I was one day when I had a craving for this pasta, I simply couldn’t find it. So this pasta was born, replacing the samphire with zucchini and beets, with incredibly delicious results. 

Zucchini Sweet Beet Pasta with Anchovy Sauce
Serves 2
Write a review
Print
Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
For the Sauce
  1. 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  2. 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  3. 1/2 teaspoon Urfa pepper
  4. 7 anchovies, chopped finely
  5. Zest of 1/2 lemon
  6. A handful of chopped parsley
  7. 1/4 cup white wine
  8. 1 Tablespoon honey
  9. Black pepper
  10. Zucchini and beet spirals
  11. A nice wholewheat pasta
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and saute the garlic and Urfa pepper for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the lemon zest and anchovies and give it a stir. Add the chopped parsley and mix, cooking for about another minute.
  3. Now add the white wine, honey, black pepper, zucchini, and beets. Mix and cover over a medium heat for about 3-5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  4. Cook the pasta according the direction on the package that you have, drain the pasta, and mix with the Zucchini Beet mixture. And there you have it! Garnish with more parsley if you like.
Notes
  1. About 600 calories per serving.
Sousan Alwan https://sousanalwan.com/
Creamy Tomato Cashew Pasta

Creamy Tomato Cashew Pasta

I am so in love with easy simple meals. I remember my mother working for hours in the kitchen every day to get dinner on the table. I know that with kids, work, and life in general, I simply cannot do this. I love this pasta for it’s pure flavors, sweet tangy tomatoes and nutty cashews, and the fact that it’s so easy to make with no fuss. Just perfect. I like to service with some olive oil garlic bread made from whole wheat baguette.

Creamy Tomato Cashew Pasta (V)
Serves 4
Write a review
Print
Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup unsalted cashews
  2. 2 cups + 1/2 cup water
  3. 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
  4. 1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. Box of pasta of your choice (here I used wholewheat penne)
  7. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  8. 1 small onion, chopped
  9. 4 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped (or 2 cans of chopped tomato)
  10. Sea salt, black pepper, and dried oregano
  11. Fresh basil to garnish
Instructions
  1. Soak the cashews in the warm water for a minimum 20 minutes, up to overnight (the longer you soak, the creamier the cream). Drain and put the cashews into a blender with a little fresh water, salt, and if using, the nutritional yeast and lemon juice. Blend until smooth and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  3. For the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onions and tomatoes, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the tomatoes are tender. Add the salt, black pepper, and oregano and blend with a hand blender until smooth.
  4. Add the cashew cream to the tomato sauce.
  5. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Mix the pasta with the tomato cashew sauce and add a little liquid if dry. Sprinkle with fresh basil.
Notes
  1. About 600 calories per serving.
Sousan Alwan https://sousanalwan.com/
The Well-Stocked Pantry: What do you need?

The Well-Stocked Pantry: What do you need?

The key to cooking every day (or almost every day) is maintaining a well-stocked pantry with all the ingredients you might need to put a meal together. It makes cooking so much easier when you have a supply of staples that you can reach into and use. Many ingredients can stay in dry form in your cupboard for literally months,…

Warm Halloumi Salad with Chickpeas and Quinoa

Warm Halloumi Salad with Chickpeas and Quinoa

This lovely chickpea, quinoa, and halloumi salad can be prepared in about 30 minutes and has everything you need — crisp greens, lots of protein, and bursting with flavor. It’s very satisfying! 

Warm Halloumi with Chickpea Quinoa Salad
Serves 2
Write a review
Print
Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup quinoa
  2. 1 3/4 cup water or stock
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/2 small red onion, diced
  5. 1 handful mint leaves, roughly chopped
  6. 1 handful cilantro, roughly chopped
  7. 1 can cooked chickpeas, drained
  8. 1 small cucumber, diced
  9. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  10. 2 tablespoons balsamic
  11. a handful of pomegranate seeds
  12. sea salt and black pepper
  13. 4 slices halloumi cheese
  14. 2 large handfuls of watercress
Instructions
  1. For the quinoa: Pour the water or stock into a medium saucepan with 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa, cover, and let simmer until all the water is absorbed. Turn the heat off, give the quinoa a stir to fluff it up, and set aside to cool.
  2. Mix the rest of the ingredients (everything but the watercress) in a large bowl.
  3. Now add the quinoa to the other ingredients and mix well. Set aside.
  4. To prepare the halloumi, slice it into about 1/2 cm slices. Heat a small frying pan and add the halloumi. Brown for a few minutes on each side. You may add olive oil to this, but I fry my halloumi in a nonstick pan without oil and it works perfectly.
  5. To assemble the salad, place the watercress on a plate, top with the quinoa mixture, and place the golden halloumi on top. Bon appetit!
Notes
  1. About 550 calories per serving.
Sousan Alwan https://sousanalwan.com/
Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic Chili Cilantro

Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic Chili Cilantro

This is a typical Mediterranean dish that we would eat in the summer, when the tomatoes are ripe and sweet. It can be prepared in a matter of minutes and is perfect for a lunch or side dish with a grilled meat for dinner. Also great to share with friends. 

Roasted Tomatoes with Chili Garlic Cilantro
Yields 2
Write a review
Print
Total Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. A bunch of ripe cherry tomatoes
  2. 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  3. 3 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
  4. 1/2 teaspoon Urfa pepper flakes
  5. A handful of roughly chopped cilantro, stems included
  6. Strained plain full fat yogurt
  7. Salt and black pepper
Instructions
  1. Place the tomatoes on a baking tray and coat with about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, and salt and black pepper. Roast at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for about 10 minutes.
  2. While the tomatoes are roasting, heat one Tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan, add the garlic, Urfa pepper, and cilantro and sauté for one minute. Turn off the heat.
  3. After 10 minutes in the oven, turn the oven to broil for about 2 minutes, until the tomatoes caramelize. Remove them from the oven.
  4. To assemble, place a lovely thick layer of yogurt on a plate, top with the roasted tomatoes, and then the garlic cilantro. Eat right away to enjoy the contrast between the warm tomatoes and cool yogurt.
Notes
  1. For an added touch, crumble some feta over the top, or even a little pomegranate syrup. Scoop up the tomato and yogurt with warm pita bread.
Sousan Alwan https://sousanalwan.com/
Delicious Chicken Kale Soup

Delicious Chicken Kale Soup

I’m always trying to find ways to incorporate healthy protein-rich foods into my diet. This soup, inspired by a recipe in The Clean Plate, is absolutely packed with protein and super-foods, and is an absolutely delicious cleansing green soup for a quick but satisfying meal.

Delicious Chicken Kale Soup
Serves 2
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 medium red onion, roughly chopped
  2. 1 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
  3. Juice of 2 limes
  4. 1/4 cup water
  5. 4 cups of organic chicken bone broth
  6. 1 boneless organic chicken breast
  7. 1/2 head of cauliflower, riced (or buy prepackaged if easier)
  8. 1 large handful black kale, roughly chopped
  9. 1 cup frozen edamame
  10. Sea salt and black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a blender, combine the onion, cilantro, lime juice, and water. Blend until smooth and set aside.
  2. Pour the bone broth into a medium saucepan, add the chicken, and bring to a boil. Simmer about 20 minutes, or until fully cooked. Remove the chicken from the broth.
  3. Add the cauliflower, edamame, and kale to the hot broth and bring to a simmer. Add the salt and pepper and adjust to taste. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Shred the chicken and add back to the broth along with the cilantro mixture. Mix and serve.
Notes
  1. To make this a more hearty meal, serve with a chewy piece of wholegrain bread.
Sousan Alwan https://sousanalwan.com/