Eggplants Make Great Mediterranean Vegan Food and They Aren't Only For The Rich

Armen Hareyan's picture
Mediterranean Vegan Eggplants Grilled

The benefits of the Mediterranean diet aren't only for the rich and affluent as the recent study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, says. Take for example eggplants, which are big part of the Mediterranean diet and make great recipes on a budget.

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People love the Mediterranean lifestyle. It reminds them the life in Italy, Greece the Middle Eastern coast and the rich culture that comes with it. But a recent study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology concludes that the cardiovascular benefits of the Mediterranean diet are "uncertain" because "high adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with cardiovascular protection in higher but not in lower socioeconomic groups." So how can one eat Mediterranean diet on a budget?

In 2012 eMaxHealth reporter and dietitian Denise Reynolds published a story discussing the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet and introducing 7 ways people on a budget can afford eating Mediterranean food. Ignore the fish section please if you follow a vegan diet. Then eMaxHealth wasn't covering only vegan stories, which has changed recently. Olive oil, beans, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts and other vegan foods can easily be added to your diet without breaking your budget.

In that story Reynolds concludes "Remember that the Mediterranean “diet” isn’t only food based – it is a lifestyle. Other healthful habits of the Mediterranean people are family meals (sit down with your family, without the television on, and discuss your day while enjoying a home-cooked meal) and daily exercise. Tackling stress and getting adequate sleep is another component of good health – and these do not have to cost a thing."

Take for example eggplants. You can make number of wonderful Mediterranean vegan foods eggplants. They are healthy and delicious.

My family and i make eggplant together all the time. You can layer it with vegan breadcrumbs and a slice of tomato then bake it. Or, alternatively, you can stir-fry eggplants Thai curry style, or even just steam it and top it with whatever seasonings you like and serve with rice.

Grilled eggplants are another delicious way to eat them. But make sure you grill them on a hardwood, not on charcoal. Hardwood grilling gives a nice smoky flavor to eggplants or any vegetables you use, which charcoal doesn't have.

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Alternatively, you can slice a bunch of veg (asparagus, portobello mushroom, onion, zucchini, eggplant), grill them as is, then serve them in a wrap with hummus, tomatoes and lettuce. They are so good and inexpensive. Use any seasoning you prefer.

Here is yet another way of grilling eggplants. Cut into half inch slices, put some salt on them and cover with paper towels. After 5 minutes remove paper towels and pat dry (salt will drain excess water from eggplant). Mix olive oil, fresh herbs (I prefer rosemary and thyme) salt pepper fresh garlic- squash- and I add chili flakes. Marinate the eggplant in it for min 30 minutes. Then put them on the BBQ and grill. They are lovable and you can vary the marinade to liking.

Or, use staffed eggplants. Here is how to cook Armenian staffed eggplants. The ingredients are all vegan.

  • 1 c Rice
  • 1 md Eggplant
  • 1/4c Olive Oil
  • 1 Tomato,diced
  • 1 Green pepper,diced
  • 1sm Onion,minced
  • 1 Garlic clove,minced
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 t Basil

Here is another way. Light oil, cut eggplant, tomatoes, onions, garlic, tofu, red peppers, any seasoning you want. Medium heat, keep stirring, add water as needed. It's very versatile. Children love the eggplants prepared this way too.

This is a nice Mediterranean vegan eggplant Parmesan. "It requires just 10 ingredients, employs easy methods, and takes a little more than 1 hour from start to finish. It is a little bit more involved than some savory meals I’ve cooked, but it’s one that John and I both love and crave, so it’s worth the extra time and effort," writes the author.

Here is yet another good eggplant recipe, which I like a lot too because of the marinara. Sautée the eggplants up and add it to marinara and pasta. My cooks in the Mediterranean part of the world used to just throw them in some flour and fry them up. Just make sure to slice very thin so they'll get crispy. Another note, after slicing, salt the slices and allow to drain for 15 minutes, blot off extra water that comes out to prevent sogginess (especially if you're baking them)

Mediterranean diet, which promotes mostly plant-based foods doesn't have to be only for the rich and affluent. It's a good lifestyle in the part of the world where there are many people who barely make the ends meet. If you would like to use the cardiovascular benefits of the Mediterranean diet it just requires little extra creativity and love and you can have it meeting your budgetary needs.

Also see: The One Reason Black Beans Are The Healthiest Vegan Food On Earth.

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