Melitzanosalata (Roasted Eggplant Dip)

Maybe I am alone in this, but I still have the munchies. But maybe you, too, have a hard time cutting out all snacks entirely, simply because we have crossed the threshold into 2012…maybe your holiday munching mode can’t be switched on and off that easily.

Never fear…I bring you good news of great, healthy snackage: eggplant dip. Now I know that description may have just freaked you out, but I’ve brought it to many a football party and had people go, “Hey, this is great! What is this, guacamole?” (It doesn’t really bear any resemblance to guac, but hopefully you get the point that eggplant dip is super tasty and not at all weird.)

This dip is, as you may have guessed from the name, Greek. I first sampled it when my Greek neighbor brought it to a potluck, and I was immediately in love! I asked her for the recipe, but as with many traditional dishes that are passed down through families, her list of ingredients went something like: “and squeeze a lemon or two, and add some parsley, and you can put in a spoonful of yogurt or sour cream if you want to…” Being a bit anal retentive, myself, I tried to probe further about the specific ingredients and amounts she actually used the time I got to taste the dip, but to no avail. She was, however, very specific about using Japanese eggplants, which are much thinner and have fewer bitter seeds than Italian or American eggplants.

Ultimately, I took her sketchy list of ingredients and combed through recipes online to come up with my own version of roasted eggplant dip. My favorite part about this dip, aside from how simple it is to make, is that it’s very allergy-friendly: no wheat, no dairy, no nuts, and no eggs. Hooray!

Melitzanosalata will curb your snack cravings without completely breaking your shiny new diet plan.

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Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Happy New Year!

What is it about fresh starts that is so exciting, so full of promise? I made like 10 resolutions this year (of course, about 5 of them are already shot…oops).

Like…well, every American after the holiday season is over (ahem), several of my resolutions centered around eating well and getting back in shape. If you are anything like me, you might also be looking to detox a little from all the cookies and appetizers and late night slices of pie. So…let’s roast some squashes and fill them with quinoa!

This meal is is the perfect answer to any New Year’s resolution. It’s filling and tasty, and so healthy! It’s vegan and gluten free, low-fat, high awesomeness. And the best part? Quinoa is a super grain: both whole grain and protein! (Though, of course, if you don’t have quinoa, you could also use brown rice or even couscous.)

Stuffed squash is so simple to make (er, if you don’t count how much chopping is involved), and you could serve this for a sophisticated lunch, a main course at dinner, or even a side. It is a little sweet, a little spicy, a little tart, a little crunchy, and full of my favorite veggies.

By the way, I made this meal for the first time with my friend Sarah. You can read about her take on the recipe, and maybe even about what a scatterbrained cook I am (she’s fantastic, though…when I got to her house, she had already chopped up her ingredients and put them in cute little bowls! I was amazed), at her blog, Well Dined!

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