Now more than ever, people are trying to do something positive for their health. Even when they are at a party, most guests hope there will be an option for them that is both healthy and delicious. This notion has motivated the cooks of my household (my Mother and I) to start adapting our favourite Persian recipes to accommodate most dietary needs. From gluten-free to vegan, we’re testing them all (on our unsuspecting guests, mind you).
On this particular occasion, we were seeking out a recipe that would be traditional, delicious, and low glycemic index, as per our guest’s preference. Mainly, the glycemic index applies to carbohydrate food sources, which are foods that contain natural sugar or starch. This would generally include grains, certain vegetables, dairy products, and fruits. Of course, glycemic index of these foods can be adjusted by combining them in a meal with low glycemic foods, such as fats and proteins (both slow down the absorption of sugar, thereby lowering the glycemic index of the meal). An easy way to apply the glycemic index to your cooking is to use the image of the healthy plate, which is a visual and easy way to plate your food: 1/2 the plate is vegetables, 1/4 of the plate is your protein choice (chicken, fish, legumes, lean meats), and 1/4 of your plate is the starch choice.
Accordingly, we decided on the dish as shown above:
Joojeh kabab (grilled chicken) and an eggplant and tomato dish inspired by mirza ghassemi (please click on the links for general recipes). I really wanted to showcase our eggplant dish because eggplants are very high in soluble fibre and low in sugar, so great for heart health and blood sugar control and very low in calories (one drawback is that eggplants are now one of the emerging food allergens, although the rate is still quite low) . We added some high fibre pasta to the mix, and sprinkled some grated parmesan and fresh parsley on top to add a bit more flavour and round out the balance of the meal.
To prepare the eggplant, we washed, peeled and diced two eggplants into 2″ cubes. We then heated some garlic (2-3 cloves) in a pan with 1-2Tbsp of vegetable oil, then adding the eggplant and frying cubes until softened. We roasted 2 containers of cherry tomatoes in the oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or so and combined them in the pan with the cooked eggplants. With a sprinkle of turmeric, garlic powder, salt and pepper, we now had a great topping for pasta. You can also use this mix on bruschetta, baked potatoes, brown rice, or other whole grain, like quinoa or millet.