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I’m getting a little confused about which day I’m on but I think it’s day 74. I wish it was day 364. When I’m home or when I’m at a vegan restaurant I don’t mind being on this diet, but whenever I’m out at a restaurant that has amazing smelling meat or pizza or waffles or bacon – you get the picture – I just can’t stand it, I get depressed. I love food so much, and being restrictive in my diet feels so unnatural to me. Sometimes I just want to say screw it and eat some boneless wings. The last couple weeks have been really hard. I’ve definitely eaten some things I shouldn’t have eaten (they were vegan, but processed) and I feel guilty about it. I hate feeling guilty. I wish this diet was easy. It’s not. I just have to keep reminding myself that I’m doing it because I don’t want someone to take a scalpel to my throat and cut me open. God that really sounds horrible.
Anyways, for about 2 months we had fresh basil and mint growing in our kitchen and I rarely used it. About a month and a half into it we started having a severe gnat issue and I couldn’t take it anymore – my boyfriend took the herbs to his parent’s house in Sedona to plant in their garden. Less than a week later I came across this recipe with copious amounts of both fresh mint and basil and was like Damn The Irony! Fortunately we were going to see his parents over the weekend and they brought us a bunch of herbs so I could make the dish. Yay!
So I found this recipe in Shape magazine, I changed it a lot but the original recipe is from Clotilde Dusoulier’s new vegetarian cookbook, The French Market Cookbook. She used whole wheat couscous in her recipe, to make it gluten-free I opted for quinoa. I think it turned out really good. The herbs kind of overpowered the eggplant, mostly because I used spearmint which is too strong for this recipe, I would suggest using Mojito mint which is much milder. Also her recipe called for harissa, which I couldn’t find anywhere, so I used an Asian chili paste instead, I think it worked just as well. So here is my version:
Eggplant and Fresh Herb Quinoa Tabbouleh
Serves 8 as a side dish
- 1.5 Lbs small Italian eggplants
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1.5 cups white quinoa
- 1 small red onion, minced
- 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 T tahini
- 1 T harissa or Asian chili paste
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup fresh mojito mint leaves, sliced
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced
- 1 cup cilantro leaves, sliced
I served this dish with another Greek-inspired salad that I will post tomorrow. You can serve it with falafels, dolmas, hummus, pretty much any Mediterranean food, or just eat it by itself.
It has a hint of spice to it but overall is pretty mild. If you want more spice, add more chili paste.