This Purim I decided to scrap the junk and make real food for shelach manos. I made a fat-free eggplant salad with a side of rice or pasta. One of my friends asked for the recipe and I promised I would post it, so here it is!
My family really appreciates getting real food. We have a little tradition of breaking out the yummy dishes we get for shelach manos around lunchtime and digging in. I don’t think we are alone here. Based on the feedback my husband and I got this year, I believe more and more people are happy to exchange junk for quality food. I’d be curious to know what kind of shelach manos you usually get and your feelings towards them.
Just a word about the preparation. Since I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes about a year and a half ago, I have focused on developing more recipes with that are fat-free or low fat. I was told by a diabetic nutritionist at one of the diabetic centers affiliated with a local hospital that, contrary to popular belief, research shows it’s more effective to cut down on fat, NOT carbs for pre-diabetics. Since then, I have developed some techniques for cutting down–or even out–the fat without sacrificing taste. You can see them in practice below:
First, I sauteed onions in water . Basically, I cooked the onions until they browned and caramelized. You do need to be mindful of the fact that the water cooks down, so if you don’t want the onions to burn, you will probably need to add more water from time to time.
Next, I added chopped tomatoes. The onions and tomatoes make a savory relish. This combination is a great replacement for the oil, as these two veggies together add a lot of flavor and moisture.
Finally, for the eggplant, I added some marinara sauce. Eggplant on its own is not great without some sort of added flavorful moisture, usually oil. However, if you are cutting out the oil, sauce is an excellent substitute. It adds just that extra bit of tang that blends the eggplant very well with the tomatoes and onions.
What I have described is a template that I often use for fat free cooking. I have done this with many vegetables, not just eggplant. This is especially delicious, by the way, with green beans. More ideas to come in future posts. In the meantime, I would really love to hear your methods for reduced fat/fat free cooking and, of course, your feedback if you try the recipe! Enjoy!
Fat-Free Eggplant Salad
4 large Japanese or Chinese Eggplants (the oblong, thinner ones)
2 medium onions, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup marinara sauce
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
- Place onions in a large frying pan and turn on medium high heat. Add enough water to cover the onions. Cook until onions are brown and caramelized. Make sure you keep an eye on the pan, as the water tends to cook down. If you need to, add more water so the onions don’t burn.
- Once onions are caramelized, add tomatoes. Cook for several minutes until they start getting tender. If necessary, add water to avoid burning. Remove onions and tomatoes and set aside.
- Add eggplant and marinara sauce. Add water, as well, to cover eggplant. Cook until tender. This will take several minutes. When the eggplant seems almost done, add the onions and tomatoes. Sprinkle with seasonings and let simmer for about 5 or 10 minutes.
- Serve hot or at room temperature. Keeps for about a week.