During BlogHer Food 16, I had the opportunity to participate in a mindful eating workshop sponsored by The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation. During the session I learned some tips for mindful eating (click here for my experience!) and was introduced to a delicious Mediterranean meal.
During this session, we had a live food demo from Chef Chris Warsow, who shared how to build a healthy Mediterranean meal. Nutrition expert Katherine Hall led us through a mindful eating exercise. The meal Chef Chris created was a delicious mixture of flavors and textures, a combination of foods that I would have never thought to combine but loved once I had a taste.
Chef Chris shared that while growing up, Mediterranean food was as common as pizza and burgers so that when he started looking for recipes, naturally some had a Middle Eastern flare. The dish, Chickpea and Roasted Eggplant Fetteh, was something that was be flavorful and colorful, light but filling.
The dish was made in about 25 minutes. Chef Chris started with the eggplant, which he diced and then tossed with olive oil. This veggie was then roasted for 20 minutes while the other ingredients were assembled..
Chef Chris Tip: Look for longer and skinnier eggplants; they have better flavor. The fatter ones have more seeds.
He introduced the group to ground sumac, a plant native to the Middle East. Sumac produces deep red berries, which are dried and ground into coarse powder. I found that the ground sumac had a tart and tangy flavor, and, perhaps because they share similar coloring, brought chili powder to mind.
Ground sumac is widely available in Middle Eastern markets or online using my Amazon link although little by little it’s making its way into the spice aisle of grocery stores. Store your ground sumac in an airtight container, away from heat and light.
We also learned about aguafaba. For those not in the know, and that would be me, aguafaba is the liquid you pour OFF of your cans of beans.
Chef Chris Tip: This liquid is full of protein and, when whipped, could be used as a substitute for egg whites.
Another ingredient used tahini. The tahini added a nutty flavor and is also high in protein. It gave the dish a creamy texture.
Chef Chris Tip: Out of Tahini? No problem! Unsweetened peanut butter can be substituted!
The meal was an explosion of flavors and quite wonderful! The addition of pita chips and pine nuts added a delicious crunch, the tanginess of the sumac and the pickled turnips were a tart addition and this combination of flavors was amazing!
Chef Chris Tip: Taste and season as you go. Adding more spices during the cooling process will eliminate the need for lots of salt.
My experience with Mediterranean foods has been quite limited however after this demo I am ready to explore and try more. I am usually open to trying new things but admit that my kitchen will often feature my favorite recipes. If you’d like to give this recipe a try, visit the Food Insight Website and download the recipes.
My experience at BlogHer Food was delightful and I am looking forward to recreating this recipes with my family.
r’s note: Affiliate links were used in this post. If you lick on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission.