15-minute Greek Eggplant and Feta Pasta for Lunch

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Throughout all this craziness of falling in and out of love with Straight-upBananas for the past 4 months, one thing has remained constant. I still love to cook, and I still looooove to eat — it’s just somewhere in the middle, the whole sharing bit that has me feeling a bit confused.

Yesterday’s easy, quick lunch was one of my favorite go-tos when I don’t know what to have, or my fridge is starting to run on low…pasta!

This pasta dish is garlicky, creamy and oh-so slurping good!

Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan or a full-on omnivore, this recipe could be tweaked for any kind of quick lunch, dinner or even breakfast (who are you kidding, we all know at some point we’ve had something not very breakfast-y for breakfast — don’t lie).

Ingredients

  • Any type of whole-wheat pasta (I like OrganicLarder)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 medium-sized eggplant, sliced
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • A splash of apple cider vinegar (or a squeeze of lemon)
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • Chopped dill, basil, or thyme (whichever you like best, or have in your fridge)
  • A sprinkle of good-quality crumbled feta cheese (if not vegan)

 

Here’s how to make it

  • First, make sure you put about 2 liters of water  with a nice amount of sea salt to boil for every two portions of pasta (the equation for the correct ratio per person still eludes me. That photo up there was enough for about 3 people, but I ate all of it…alone.)
  • Second, in a large pan, dry fry* (no oil) your eggplant till it gets nice and nearly charred.
  • Then, add your olive oil to the eggplant, and fry up the garlic till nice and golden. Then, add the tomatoes and vinegar or lemon and let the tomatoes stew up nicely and medium-high heat.
  • To the boiling water, add the pasta and cook as the instructions direct (usually about 7-9 minutes).
  • Add some of the starchy pasta water to the sauce in your saucepan and cook for a few more minutes with the sauce till it get’s nice and creamy and reduces. Add the dill to the sauce.
  • Drain the cooked pasta, and add it to the sauce and mix well.
  • Then, serve the pasta with its sauce, and taste it. Add salt and pepper (keeping in mind that your feta cheese will add a dimension of salt to the dish. So do not overdo the salt).
  • Serve in a plate and crumble some feta on top. If you’re feeling extra frisky and have the time, you could even add some chopped up Greek Kalamata olives to the sauce (again, watch the salt).

*The reason  I like to ‘dry’ fry my eggplants is that eggplants tend to act like a sponge when it comes to absorbing oil or water. When you sort of toast them in the pan, they cook through without absorbing the olive oil–making the sauce a lot lighter and less greasy.

I love this recipe. The flavor is so mousakka-ish, but minus the fried eggplants, and the time-consuming assembly. Plus there’s slurpy pasta there, so that’s a win if I ever did see one — no?

Give this recipe a shot, and give me a little shout out. Did you like it? Did you friggin hate it? Either way, I’d love to hear from you.

And since you’re here…why not follow me on Instagram, too?

 

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Healthy Vegan Chocolate Pudding

 

 

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I topped my pudding with fresh strawberries, almonds and toasted coconut chips

I’ve featured this recipe on the blog quite a few times, but it never gets old.

It’s vegan, healthy and super simple to put together. All you’ve got to do it stick the 5 ingredients in a bowl and process together and voila you’ve got yourself healthy chocolate pudding instantly!

 

What you’ll need:

1- 1 avocado

2- 1 banana

3- 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder

4- 3 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey

5- 3 tablespoon of coconut oil

6- A pinch of sea salt

 

How to get it done:

You can either throw all the ingredients into your food processor or you can blend it in a bowl with a handblender–either way works fine.

This recipe could be a perfect breakfast or dessert. You can top it with whatever the heck you feel like and you’re good to go!

Please give it a shot and let me know what you think!

Oh, and since you’re here, follow me on Instagram maybe?

Easy and quick soba noodle tuna salad

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‘Tis the middle of the week and I neither have the desire, nor the stamina to drive all the way to the grocery store and buy provisions to keep me from dying of the hunger. A little rummage here, a chop there, a can opener in the middle and I’ve got this lovely soba noodle tuna salad. I’m slurping. I’m happy. I’m no longer withering away from hunger. Life is grand.

It’s so ridiculously easy to put together and you can add or remove any ingredient that you’d like basically. It’s one of my go-to recipes when I’m completely out of food inspo!

Ingredients:

Noodles:

  • 1 pack of soba noodles
  • 1 chopped spring onion
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 2 cans of tuna (canned in water is best)
  • A handful of broccoli florets (frozen works perfectly)
  • Chopped coriander
  • ¼ cup of sesame seeds
  • A handful of crunchy mixed greens

 

Salad Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 grated clove of garlic
  • The juice of 1 orange (or lemon)
  • Ginger powder
  •  

Cooking Instructions:

  • In the large bowl, put together all the dressing ingredients, mix well and leave in bowl.
  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the soba noodles according to the instructions. Usually 7 minutes is enough. (Do not overcook the noodles)
  • Add the broccoli florets to the boiling water and cook for 4 minutes.
  • Once the noodles are cooked, rinse them in cold water to stop the cooking process and drain well.
  • Throw the cooled noodles and broccoli into the bowl with the dressing.
  • Grate in the carrot and add the rest of the salad ingredients.
  • Mix noodles into dressing and enjoy!

Since you’re here, why not head off to my wee little Instagram page–I’d love to have ya!

Easy and healthy beetroot hummus

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Now he’s a recipe that’ll have your Arab grandmother pulling out her hair!

Like any other patriotic Palestinian, I heart hummus–unconditionally and eternally. If it were up to me, I’d probably have it on the table for breakfast, lunch and dinner. No joke. But alas, this crazy little thing called life doesn’t always go as planned *cue dramatic music

Sometimes, to trick myself and my husband into not realizing that we’re having hummus (yet again), I like to mess with the color and taste of it.

Ladies and gents, I give to you a two-dish, 15-minute beetroot and hummus recipe that is so good, you’ll be licking your fingers after it. Plus, it’s pretty as heck!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A can of chickpeas (preferably an organic brand)
  • Half a clove or garlic
  • The juice of one lime/lemon
  • 3 tablespoons of tahini sauce
  • Some olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Slices of pickled beetroot (until you get the pink that you like)

And here’s how to get it done, son:

  • Stick everything in the food processor and blitz till nice and creamy
  • Arrange nicely in a plate or bowl and top with some olive oil
  • Serve with some toasted pita bread and you’re good to go!

 

Now how simple was that?!

Give this recipe a shot, please. You won’t regret it.

Oh, and since you’re here…I reckon you should follow me on Instagram by clicking this here link…and maybe Snapchat (Ahlam.al1)  while you’re at it?

Raw vegan spiced-chocolate tart

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The idea for this raw vegan spiced-chocolate tart came to me the other night, while I was sleeping. I kid you not, I woke my husband up and was like: “What if I made a spiced chocolate tart! 😐 ” Needless to say, he doesn’t remember this happening. lol

So the recipe itself has been brewing in my mind for few days now, until finally this morning I decided screw it, what’s the worst that come happen?

I soaked some cashews in water and like a mad scientist, started imagining what ingredients I should put into my tart. And I’ve got to say, I pretty damn pleased with the outcome.

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Cashew soaking time and tart setting time aside, the recipe took me 15 minutes flat to assemble. I’m not even kidding.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Crust:
  • 1 cup of pitted dates
  • 1 cup of almond mill
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon of melted organic coconut oil
  • Organic vanilla extract
Filling:
  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of date syrup
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of raw cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon of organic vanilla extract
  • 300 gm of soaked cashew nuts (soaked for over 4 hours)
  • Strawberries to top with

Here’s how it’s done, son:

  • First, make the crust by mixing the almond mill, dates, vanilla, seasalt and coconut oil in a food processor until it has a crumbly texture.
  • With one of those pie pans with the removable sides, press the crust mixture down until nice and firm.
  • Then, in a blender blend the rest of the ingredients together on high for 2-4 minutes until mixture is so creamy you want to bathe in it forever.
  • Pour mixture onto the crust and let set in freezer for at least two hours.
  • When you’re ready to serve, decorate with the strawberries and let it set out of the freezer for at least 20 minutes so that it has a nice chewy consistency, not still frozen.
  • Enjoy 🙂

Do you understand how ridiculously simple this recipe is? Yet, it looks, tastes and will make you feel magnificent! I see now reason why you shouldn’t go straight-up  bananas and try this raw vegan spiced chocolate tart right now! It’s friggin good and it’s got no processed crap which means it’s easy on your temple AND you get to satisfy you sweet tooth cravings! Sounds like a win-win to me! No?

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Go ahead, go for it. And if you’ve got any questions ask me in the comment section below.

Oh, and why don’t you follow me on Instagram?

Candle holders made from banana leaves for a beach sunset candle-lit dinner for two. Have you ever seen anything cuter?

Oh sweet Thailand, cannot wait to see you again.

#thailand
#banana #travels #simple #happy #spottly #wanderlust #worldexplorer #worldexplorermag #explorer #travel #vacation #straightupbananas #beach #happy #love #sea (at Dream Sea Pool villas)

I’ll never get over how beautiful Morocco was. I realize I may be occasionally spamming your news feed with pictures of my trip, but #sorrynotsorry

The beautiful terrace at @DarZambra overlooking the Kif mountains in Chefchaoun. What a set up!

#travel #vacation #takemeback #love #trip #straightupbananas #morocco #beautiful #visiting #travels #simple #happy #spottly #wanderlust #worldexplorer #worldexplorermag #explorer (at Dar Zambra)