Italian Eggplant Marinara

Eggplant Marinara

This recipe has become one of my absolute favourites to have in the fridge. Not only does it go so well on top of pasta, but it makes an incredible side dish for meat, fish, tofu and legumes.If you are not a fan of eggplant, it is still worth it to make this marinara sauce! It is my go to homemade pasta sauce. A good tomato sauce isn’t really about the quantity of ingredients but more about the quality. From my travels throughout Italy, I realized how SIMPLE every dish was. When you have great quality fruit, veggies, oils and so on, your meal will be amazing without having to do much to it. So for a healthy and truly delicious meal, spend a little extra money on your ingredients and you will notice a huge difference in flavour. Hope you love this recipe as much as I do. It will keep you nice and toasty as we head into fall.
Eggplant MarinaraEggplant Marinara

Ingredients

• 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 shallot (chopped)
• 2 tbsp garlic (minced)
• 1 cup red wine (I like any Chianti)
• 2 cans San Marzano tomatoes in puree
• 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
• 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil + more for garnish
• 2 tbsp salt (or to taste)
• 1 tsp freshly ground pepper (or to taste)
• 4 italian eggplants (diced)

Directions for sauce

1.In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until translucent, then add garlic.
2.Stir in the wine and cook over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes. Add your tomatoes, chilli flakes, basil, salt and pepper. Using the back of your spoon, break apart the tomatoes until desired texture is achieved. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.For a smoother sauce, transfer to a blender.

Directions for eggplant

1. While the tomato sauce is simmering, clean and cube eggplant. Steam the eggplant for 8-10 minutes. This ensures a really tender eggplant without having to fry it in loads of oil.
2. Once the eggplant is tender, transfer into tomato sauce and serve! Garnish with fresh basil, salt, pepper and tasty extra virgin olive oil.

Eggplant Marinara

Avocado Chipotle Brownies

IMG_0634Happy Cinco de Mayo! Avocado, chocolate, cayenne… sounds a lot like Mexico doesn’t it? Believe it or not, this combination also makes the perfect clean brownie. No refined sugar. No gluten. No grain. No dairy. No added oil. I swear they were more moist than any other brownie I’ve had! They are so delicious and rich they would fool any adult and child alike. These brownies are packed with antioxidants, fibre, protein and good-for-you fats… oh and they taste like heaven. Its all thanks to their secret ingredient… avocado. Yes I said it, avocado in brownies. Avocado gives these brownies a fudgy texture that makes your tastebuds very happy, while keeping you glowing. With the addition of cacao, dark chocolate and vanilla, you would never know avo was in there.

In light of Cinco de Mayo I had to add a little spice (my favourite). But… no Franks Red Hot this time (sigh). Cayenne or chipotle pepper are what you want to add here. Chipotle and/or cayenne adds a perfect back note of heat that comes on slowly. After you take your first bite and swallow… thats when it will hit you. Much like coffee, spice really helps to bring out the flavour of chocolate. Feel free to leave this ingredient out, but for Cinco de Mayo… I think you need to have a little in there.

I know you guys are all going to fall in love these brownies. Whether you make them for Cinco de Mayo or just for a special chocolatey treat, you really don’t need to feel any guilt here. After you have this once, you will feel no need to ever eat those boring ol’ refined filled brownies AGAIN! Magnesium, fiber, protein and essentials vitamins make these brownies superfood powerhouses! Wooohoo! Hope you all have a wonderful holiday!
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ps. Giving advance warning that the batter is beyond addictive. There is raw egg in it so don’t eat a lot. (Even though I did.. whoops)

Ingredients:

• 2 very ripe avocados
• 1/2 cup cacao
• 1/2 cup mexican chocolate or 70% chocolate (I like Purelife allergy friendly variety)
• 1/2 cup almond flour
• 1 cup pure maple syrup
• 3 eggs
• 1 tbsp flax
• 3 tbsp almond milk
• 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 tsp sea or himalayan salt
• 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
• 1/2 tsp chipotle or cayenne pepper (or to taste)
• 1/2 tsp paprika (for garnish,can omit)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Using an electric mixer (I did it by hand, but if you don’t want to get too tired use a mixer), whip the eggs, flax, almond milk and the maple syrup until fluffy.

2. Melt the chocolate chips using a double boiler or in a microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between (chocolate can burn easily).

3. With the mixer on low, add the melted chocolate and cacao.

4. Using a spatula, mix in the almond meal, baking powder, salt, cayenne and vanilla extract.

5. Using a blender or food processor, mix avocado until very smooth.

6. Fold the avocado into the batter.

7. Pour into an 8×8 parchment lined baking pan for 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

8. Sprinkle paprika for garnish (can omit this step).

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