This stuffed eggplant is built upon layers of Middle Eastern flavours: smoky freekeh, tender chickpeas, and a herbal tahini sauce. The quick-pickled raisins add a sweet vinegary pop.
Salting eggplant before cooking enhances the flavour by allowing eggplant to sweat out its bitterness and breaking its spongy texture.
In small bowl, combine raisins with red wine vinegar, 2 Tbsp (30 mL) warm water, and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt. Set aside for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain.
Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Season flesh with salt and set aside for 20 to 30 minutes to allow eggplant to “sweat.” Pat dry with paper towel.
Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C), and line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Place eggplant halves, flesh side up, onto baking sheet, and brush with 2 tsp (10 mL) oil. Roast until tender and the browned flesh is easily pierced with paring knife, about 35 minutes. You want the flesh to be silky and not spongy.
In medium-sized saucepan over medium, heat 2 tsp (10 mL) oil. Add onion and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt; heat until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add two-thirds of the garlic and heat for 1 minute. Place broth or water and freekeh in pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, covered, until freekeh is tender and broth has been absorbed, about 20 minutes. Set aside, covered, for 5 minutes and then fluff with fork. Add chickpeas, drained pickled raisins, carrot, and pistachios to pot and stir everything together.
In small bowl, whisk together tahini, lemon juice, remaining minced garlic, and za’atar. Whisk in water, 1 Tbsp (15 mL) at a time, until thin consistency is reached.
Arrange roasted eggplant on serving platter, flesh side up. With the back of a spoon, push the flesh down to create a cavity. Spoon in freekeh filling. Drizzle on tahini dressing and scatter on parsley.
Pears and chocolate make for a very natural friendship and play together beautifully in this plant-based, dairy-free cake. This cake is dense and rich, with a medley of spices, and enhanced by just a hint of espresso powder, which allows that chocolate flavour to shine through. In addition to slices of pears being laid on top, this cake employs some pear purée to add moisture and sweetness to the slightly nutty texture provided by the whole wheat flour. Pear primer A firm pear such as Bosc, recognizable by its distinctive dusty brown skin, is perfect for this dish. When eaten raw, Bosc pears are crisp and not too sweet. When baked, this variety softens up and its flavours are enhanced, but it maintains its characteristic long-necked, graceful shape. Unlike a Bartlett pear, which turns from green to bright yellow when ripe, Bosc pears don’t change much in colour when ripe. Give it a little nudge with your thumb near the neck of the pear and it will give slightly—that’s how you know you’ve got a ripe one. Compared to other pears, Bosc will still be quite firm.
Many flavours that complement pears—sage, ginger, maple syrup—also go well with butternut squash, so it makes sense to bring the two together. For this autumn salad, mixed greens are tossed with marinated squash ribbons that serve to dress the salad with spicy, gingery brightness. A juicy yet firm medium-sweet pear, such as red Anjou, works well here, and its vibrant red skin makes a pretty plate alongside butternut squash. The finishing touch is a sprinkling of crispy sage and maple syrup-toasted hazelnuts. Refrigerator tip Treat butternut squash ribbons as you would a dressing, keeping them in the refrigerator until ready to use. They will last a few days in the refrigerator, and you can have them on hand to dress small amounts of lettuce. If, rather than making one large salad, you want to serve individual amounts of this salad, just dress a few leaves with some ribbons; cut up pear and fry sage leaves as you serve.
Luscious figs loaded onto hearty flatbread make a satisfying breakfast or brunch. They’re sweet and delicious when paired with savoury cinnamon-flavoured crunchy pumpkin seeds and tart goat cheese. And, with a dough enriched with whole wheat flour, hempseeds, and nigella, these flatbreads are sure to be satisfying. They’re also chock full of fibre and protein, and with 6 mg of iron, you’ll be on your way to 31 percent of the recommended daily value. A freezer favourite By making dough in advance and freezing, you can make these individual flatbreads part of your routine for days when you don’t have much time. Simply portion dough individually right after mixing, allow it to rise in the fridge for 8 to 10 hours, and then freeze in individual containers. To thaw an individual ball of dough, 24 hours before you wish to use it, remove the container from the freezer and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator. At least an hour before baking, allow dough to come up to room temperature outside of the fridge.