By Bridgette Ruge Barlow, MA CPT RHC
Grilled Eggplant with Probiotic Tahini Yogurt Sauce and Fresh Herbs
Did you know that 70% of your immune system lies in your gut? Could your gut use a reboot?
In these uncertain times, one thing you CAN control is the health of your gut bacteria. Even those who eat a generally healthy diet can still experience gut imbalance due to factors such as stress, antibiotic use, toxins in the environment, alcohol consumption, and inflammatory chemicals in our food. Most people benefit from the use of a daily probiotic, but you may need more.
Most cultures include fermented foods regularly which helps to keep their gut balanced. Unfortunately, American cuisine lacks in this department. BUT, you can find these types of foods at most grocery stores. Look for sauerkraut, Kimchi, and pickles that are in the refrigerated section and say “contains live active cultures” or learn to make your own! It’s pretty easy! See recipe below that uses one of my favorite fermented foods—Kashaya probiotic dairy-free yogurt available at SaJune.
This recipe is great for a summer side dish. The yogurt recipe makes extra so feel free to eat it as a sauce for just about anything! It is so delicious and goes wonderfully with Mediterranean-style food.
Ingredients: (Use organic whenever possible)
1 large or 2 medium eggplants sliced into ½- ¾ inch rounds
1/3 cup avocado oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Any fresh herbs you have on hand for topping (washed and chopped up)
*My favorites are mint, cilantro, basil, or dill*
For probiotic yogurt sauce:
1/3 cup Kashaya original probiotic yogurt
1 ½ tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste—buy or make your own by grinding sesame seeds in a coffee grinder)
½ tsp garlic powder
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt to taste
Water, if needed, to reach desired consistency since the consistency of the yogurt can vary. You want the consistency to be “drizzly”
Sprinkle both sides of eggplant with a little salt and lay in a colander over some paper towels for 20-30 minutes so the eggplant releases its water. While the eggplant is releasing, combine the first 6 ingredients into a small bowl. Wisk until combined.
After 20-30 minutes, there will be visible water releasing from the eggplant slices. Pat them dry and brush both sides with the oil mixture. Now they are ready for the grill!
Grill on a medium heat on both sides until softened and having nice grill marks. Can use an outdoor grill, or a panini press or griddle pan will work too. Can’t grill? Roast them in the oven at 400 for 10-15 minutes (flipping half-way)
While the eggplant is grilling, combine the ingredients for the yogurt sauce into a small bowl.
When eggplant is done, place on serving dish and drizzle with yogurt dressing. Top with chopped fresh herbs. Serve warm or at room temperature. ENJOY!