DDD #141 – Vegan Spicy Thai Basil Noodles with Sesame & Garlic


All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2019

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.


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vromans back

Click the image above to watch the video.

This is yet another easy one.  It comes together in ten minutes & it is really flavorful.

I used jarred ginger & this chili oil below is available at Asian markets but also at most large supermarkets in the Asian food aisle.   Fresh ginger is available in most stores, too, if you can’t find this very convenient jarred stuff.  The real key here is the Thai basil as it packs a real flavor punch & tastes distinctly different from regular basil – but regular basil will do if it is all you have access to.

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Spicy Thai Basil Noodles with Sesame and Garlic

Serves 2


1 pound noodles (even spaghetti works)

2 TBS sesame oil

4 TBS ginger

8 garlic cloves – minced

4 TBS soy sauce or tamari

4 TBS balsamic vinegar

2 TBS agave nectar (or sugar)

1 TBS chili oil (or another TBS of sesame oil & 2 tsp crushed red pepper)

1 cup Thai basil – chopped

2 scallions – sliced

A handful of crushed nuts ( I used almonds – peanuts are more traditional) – optional

Vegetables are optional but I added 1 carrot cut into matchsticks & a dozen or so sugar snap peas.  Other options: broccoli, red bell pepper, zucchini, edamame, bok choy, or any veggies you fancy.

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Heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat & saute the ginger & garlic for one minute. BEWARE OF SPLATTERING OIL!   If you are using sesame oil & crushed red pepper rather than chili oil – add them to the pan, too.  Stir & whisk in the soy sauce, balsamic, agave, and chili oil.

If using regular pasta – add the vegetables you are using in the final 1-3 minutes of the noodle cooking time – depending on the density of the veggies.  Drain & toss with the sesame oil mixture.

You can let these sit for an hour & really soak up the flavors & serve at room temperature – or eat them warm.  When you are ready to eat – toss in the basil & scallions & stir well.  Add nuts & you are good to go!

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DDD #124 – Easy Vegan Garlic Sesame Chicken

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.


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Click the image above to watch the video.

There is nothing easier than putting raw ingredients into a crock pot & walking away – only to return in a few hours to a home that smells yummy & food that is delicious.  But this comes together on the stove top in about 5-10 minutes.

This is the easiest fucking dish ever.  I used Beyond Meat’s vegan chicken one & Morning Star Veggie Pulled Pork the next time.

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Easiest Ever Vegan Garlic Sesame Chicken (with or without Honey) for the Slow Cooker

Feeds 2 well with rice


9 oz vegan chicken or other vegan faux meat

6 cloves garlic – minced

1 small onion – diced

1/4 cup of some dark berry jam – I used blueberry but blackberry would be great

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

1 TBS agave nectar

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1 TBS sesame oil

1 – 2 TBS cornstarch (optional)

1 TBS dark (black) soy sauce (optional – for color)

For garnish:

Scallions, sesame seeds and/or Thai basil and cooked rice

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Cook some rice.


Heat the sesame oil & cook the onions until soft.  Add the garlic & after one minute – add the remaining ingredients (the corn starch is optional).  Heat through.  Add water if it gets too thick – cornstarch if it is too watery.  Add the dark soy sauce if you want a darker color.

Garnish as you desire & serve over rice.


Put everything EXCEPT THE CORNSTARCH the garnishes in your crock pot.  Stir it all up.  My crock pot has no settings so I assume it is just always on high.  Leave it alone for an hour or two – stirring it if you can or want to but it doesn’t need it.

Once it was all bubbly & hot, I used a slotted spoon & took the chicken out and used two forks to sorta shred it – like a pulled pork.  I whisked about 1-2 TBS cornstarch into the sauce to thicken it & then returned the shredded chick to the pot.  I let it sit a while longer but it didn’t need it.  It didn’t REALLY need the shredding or cornstarch, either, so if it looks good to you right outta the pot au naturale – go for it!

Then I garnished it & ate some over rice.  I enjoyed it.

True story.

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DDD #101 – Vegan Big Mac with Beyond Burgers & Copycat McDonald’s Special sauce



All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.


These came out UNBELIEVABLY well!  I was a lifetime Big Mac whore & no other fast food ever appealed to me.  My Big Mac pizza was pretty successful but this burger puts that to shame.

Above, beneath my Big Bam pizza, is a real Bic Mac – followed by my copycat & then a side by side.  Doesn’t the vegan one look BETTER?  This really is the closest I think you can come to the real thing.  Click the image below to watch the video.

DDD #101 – Vegan Big Mac with Beyond Burgers & Copycat Special sauce

Makes 2 Big Macs


1 package Beyond Burgers (or 4 vegan burger patties)

3 sesame seed buns (or just two – if you are not interested in the center piece of bread)

4 slices vegan cheese

Iceberg lettuce – chopped

Onion – minced

Pickles – sliced

Copycat Special Sauce

1/4 cup vegan mayo

1 TBS vegan French dressing

1 TBS sweet relish

1 TBS minced onion

1 TBS yellow mustard

1/2 tsp white vinegar

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powdet

1/2 tsp smoked paprika


Whisk the sauce together.  et aside.

If using Beyond Burgers – make each patty into two thinner patties.

Cook the burgers & top with cheese & melt.

Assemble the Big Mac: smear two bottom buns with sauce & top with onions, pickles & lettuce.  Put a cheeseburger on each & stack them.  Top with the bun.


DDD Ep. #15 – Vegan Big Mac Pizza with Copycat Special Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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vromans back

DDD Ep. #15 is up! It is my Vegan Big Mac Pizza! Plus, some pop art & pop culture references for you! And the boobs in this episode are not mine.

Click the link for the video (or watch it here) & please subscribe!


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Ever since I was a child – I have been obsessed – addicted even – to McDonald’s.  McDonald’s – specifically.  No other fast food tempted me in the least.  Not Burger King or Taco Bell or any of the other burger chains.  Sure – I would sometimes eat a Fatburger – which inevitably – made me agonizingly ill and an occasional burger from the Tommy’s on Beverly at Rampart – mainly because that Tommy’s was so old school & cool.  But if there had been a McDonald’s next door – I probably would have gone there.  I have always been to insanely addicted to Big Macs that as a kid – I could eat 2.  And McDonald’s fries are the best on Earth.

Then I gave up meat, in the late eighties.  Fuck.  That meant Filet-O-Fish sandwiches for me – which I put up with for a while until I was struck my supreme inspiration.  I bought a Big Mac AND a Filet-O-Fish.  I took the patties out of the Big Mac & fed them to the dogs & put the fish patty in there, instead.  I dipped fries in the tartar sauce on the Filet-O-Fish bun & shoved that fishy Big Mac into my pie hole like I hadn’t eaten for days.  I began doing this regularly.  So many times – I would go spinning & then go the the McD’s drive-thru – still actively sweating from class & get this combo & pull over to a random curb & make my custom sandwich – like a junky cooking dope.  I even included this process in my novel – Bathing & the Single Girl.  Here is the excerpt:


I decided to make a trip to McDonald’s to take the edge off my panic and maybe finally end my waning hangover. There is nothing like McD’s. It is the only fast food chain I patronize. I’ve been a fish-eating vegetarian for over twenty years but McDonald’s remains my own personal crack. I have to pretend I do not know that there is beef tallow in the French fries and block out the fact that McD’s are a great supporter of the factory farming that spurred my vegetarianism to begin with, but when I am hung over, McDonald’s is my best friend.
I ordered a #1 Big Mac value meal with fries, a diet Coke (gotta save calories somewhere) and a Filet-O-Fish. Once out of the drive thru, I pulled over on a side street like a drug addict jonesing for a fix. I took several big gulps of the best fucking diet Coke I had ever tasted while throwing furtive glances around to make sure I was not being watched. I opened the fish sandwich and scooped all that tartar sauce up on the top bun. This would serve as a bowl and dip for the fries. I grabbed the golden goodness of the square fish stick looking back at me and threw the bottom bun of the fish sandwich in the bag. I took the top off of the Big Mac and threw it in the bag. I removed the burgers and put them aside for my dogs. I placed the fish patty on the middle bun piece and flipped it over onto the bottom bun and its remaining ingredients. Special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and a filet of fish on what was once a sesame seed bun. I rammed it into my mouth and nearly fainted with pleasure. Every cell in my body reacted negatively to the toxicity and I felt zits popping out on my face as I chewed. I didn’t give a fuck. I dipped a handful of fries in the fatty tartar sauce and forced them into my mouth before I swallowed my first bite of sandwich. I was disgusting. I felt the shame of a tweeker turning her first trick for drugs. My eyes flashed a scan of the horizon searching for the PETA police. My pants felt a size tighter. I finished that food in less than two minutes, literally drinking the last bit of fries from the cardboard container. It was glorious.
Slouched in the car, high from whatever it is in McDonald’s food that made Morgan Spurlock’s liver begin to shut down in Supersize Me, the plan to dine with The Albino seemed like it might actually be a fun adventure.


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So – maybe now you understand the extent of my problem.  That problem got even worse when I gave up eating fish, too, a couple of years ago.  Now – there is no excuse to go into a McDonald’s – because the fries really do have beef tallow in them – so there is literally nothing in there for me to eat – especially as I am inching my way to veganism.

Still – my Big Mac addiction festers without relief.   The smell of McDonald’s still makes my hands want to turn into those drive-thrus – but I can’t.  I won’t.  I shan’t!  And – yeah – I guess I could make a faux Big Mac with a veggie burger (Beyond Meat makes GREAT ones) – but the shitty bun is part of the charm & the special sauce isn’t just Thousand Island – no matter what detractors try to tell you.  It is more magical than that.  My fake Big Mac would be off just enough to leave me feeling cheated.

And then it came to me!  Big Mac PIZZA!  That way – the differences would be more forgivable – because it wasn’t a lame Big Mac – it was a glorious Big Mac pizza!!!!!  And so – I did it.  I did it last night.  After taking two heated spinning classes in 14 hours – I undid all that good – all that blood, sweat & those tears.  Undid it and gave zero fucks.  This fucking pizza is the best Goddamn thing on Earth.  It will be difficult not to eat these every night this week – after all – I have like an infinity of my copycat special sauce.  I can’t wash that gold down the drain – when my gullet is right here craving it – wanting to drink it – inhale it.  So – sure – I have a birthday coming up & it might be nice to NOT be at my absolute FATTEST on that day – but shit happens.  Sometimes things are out of your hands.  Sometimes life presents tough choices.  But – enough about that.  Let me present – my Big Mac pizza!

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Vegan Big Mac Pizza with Copycat McDonald’s Special Sauce


for the special sauce

3/4 cup vegan mayo

2 TBS sweet relish

2 TBS yellow mustard

2 TBS French dressing

1 tsp (or more) each: onion powder, garlic powder, paprika


for the Big Mac Pizza

Pizza dough (I used this HERE)

Vegan ground beef (I used Beyond Meat beefy crumbles)

Shredded lettuce

Vegan cheese (I used some Parmela Creamery sharp cheddar, Chao original & some of my own homemade mozzarella)

Sandwich pickle slices

Onion – diced

Sesame seeds

Jalapeno – sliced (not in a real Big Mac but fuck it)

Semolina flour (optional) for rolling out the dough

Parchment paper (optional)

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for the special sauce

Whisk the ingredients together & add a bit of water to thin it.  Taste it & adjust at will.  I added 2 more tsp of onion powder to mine.

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for the Big Mac Pizza

Heat the oven to 450-500 degrees.

Roll out the dough (I do this in semolina flour because I find it adds to the crispiness of the crust – but regular flour is fine).  Put the dough on a greased cooking sheet (I just use parchment paper – and I recommend it highly).

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Top with cheeses & ground beef.  Cook for about 10-12 minutes or until your crust is done.  I added grated mozzarella at this point & cooked it another minute but only because the pizza looked a bit barren.  You can just dump the meat & cheese on there – cheese under & over the beef.

Once the crust is done – top with the remaining toppings & get your fucking eat on!

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DDD Ep. #8 – 5-minute Sticky, Spicy, Korean BBQ Chicken with Sesame Hibachi Noodles (Vegan)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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BathingandthesinglegirlCover vromans back

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I am reposting this recipe from August 27, 2015 because it is episode #8 on my cooking show – Delightful Delicious Delovely & Video Vegan.  Go there for all my long & short format cooking videos & please subscribe.

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Holy fucking shit!  This 5-minute Sticky, Spicy, Korean BBQ Chicken is AWESOME!  Honestly, the sauce on them takes 5 minutes & will blow your socks off!  The noodles are more delicate in flavor & accompany the chicken well – and will take as long to cook as the package directs but this whole thing can be don in under 20 minutes.  These noodles are probably more authentically prepared with soba noodles but I just used this spaghetti here.

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I used the best faux chicken on the market – Beyond Meat.  Click that link to find a store locator & maybe grab a coupon!  I used vegan butter & I am pretty sure that vegetarian hoisin in vegan (I am not yet 100% vegan).  If you fear it is not – substitute with a vegan teriyaki sauce.

***NOTES – I used gochujang – a Korean spicy paste.  I see it at my local grocery store in the Asian section but you might have to go to a Korean market or buy it online.  It is like a thick & spicy ketchup.  One suggestion to substitute it is:

“Per tablespoon – Make a paste of 1 tablespoon red chilli pepper flakes moistened with soy sauce and add a little sugar. This will not replicate the complexity but a similar flavor profile.

HERE is another option to substitute using sambal oelek.

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Sesame Hibachi Noodles

Serves 4 (cut this recipe in half to match the chicken quantity – or just treat yourself to leftover yummy noodles)


1 lb noodles (your choice of spaghetti or soba or linguine etc) – cooked & drained

2 TBS vegan butter

2 TBS brown sugar

2 garlic cloves – minced

4 TBS low sodium soy sauce (or tamari)

1 TBS hoisin sauce (or teriyaki sauce)

1 tsp to 2 TBS crushed red pepper (I like shit hot – you might not – so adjust to suite your taste)

1 TBS sesame oil

Sesame seeds

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Cook the noodles.

Meanwhile – heat the butter in a saute pan.  Add the garlic for one minute & then add sugar, hoisin (or teriyaki) and the crushed red pepper.  Bring to a boil & let it thicken a bit.  Add the sesame oil & then immediately toss with the drained, warm noodles

Sprinkle with sesame seeds & maybe extra crushed red pepper.

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5-minute Sticky, Spicy, Korean BBQ Chicken

Serves 2 (double this recipe to match the noodle quantity)


9 oz vegan Beyond chicken – cubed

3 TBS agave nectar (or honey – if you are not vegan)

2 garlic cloves – minced

1 tsp to 2 TBS crushed red pepper (Again – I like shit hot – you might not – so adjust to suite your taste)

1 TBS gochujang (see notes above)

1 TBS low sodium soy sauce (or tamari)

Juice of 1/2 lime

2 tsp sesame oil

Scallions – sliced – as garnish

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Thaw & cube the chicken.

Put the rest of the ingredients (not the chicken) into a sauce pan & bring to a boil  Simmer a few minutes until it thickens – less than 5 minutes.  Add the chicken & cook until the sauce is thick & clinging to the chicken – maybe even letting a few bits brown or char.  Be careful not to burn it.

Garnish with scallions & serve with the noodles.  YUM!

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Vegan Vegetable Pasta Salad with Spicy Asian Sesame Peanut Dressing

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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vromans back

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Pasta salads.  Who doesn’t like them?  I guess – people who don’t like pasta but do such people exist?  Pasta is a universal thing – like bread.  Is there anyone that doesn’t like bread?  Anyway – lots of pasta salads are drenched in mayo-based sauces & there is no shortage of those that object to mayo.   Even those of us that love mayo are hesitant to eat a pasta salad with mayo that has been sitting out in the backyard BBQ too long.  So – why not eliminate two major objections & make a vegan pasta salad?  Nothing in it quick to spoil & nothing white & creamy to freak out the mayo-haters.

I used ingredients I happened to have so – this is a very flexible salad.  I wanted to use edamame but only had Lima beans – so fuck it.  I used Lima beans.   I had those gorgeous watermelon radishes but they were used primarily for their looks.  You could eliminate any ingredient – or add some – with no negative impact.   This is a light & clean alternative to accompany the entrees at BBQ’s which – let’s face it – tend to be meaty & heavy.

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Vegan Vegetable Pasta Salad with Spicy Asian Sesame Peanut Dressing


1 lb of pasta

6 oz edamame (or Lima beans)

1 small head of broccoli – cut into small florets

4 carrots – grated

2 bell peppers (red, yellow or orange are prettiest) – grated or diced

1 (15 oz) can chickpeas – drained & rinsed

1-4 jalapenos – seeded & either grated or minced

4 radishes – grated or chopped

3 scallions – sliced

1/4 cup cilantro – chopped

1/2 cup slivered almonds

3/4 cup roasted peanuts

GARNISH – extra radish slices. cilantro, extra peanuts

for the dressing

1/2 cup peanut butter (I used chunky)

4 TBS hoisin sauce

4 TBS liquid amino acids (or low sodium soy sauce or tamari)

4 TBS rice vinegar

4 TBS agave nectar

4 TBS sriracha

1 tsp chili oil

2 TBS sesame oil

1-4 garlic cloves – minced

S&P to taste

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Whisk together the dressing & set aside.

Cook the pasta & add the broccoli for the last minute or two that it cooks.  Drain & rinse pasta & broccoli under cold water.

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Toss the salad ingredients together.

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Add some dressing & toss.  Add as much as you like – which might be less than you made.  Overdressed salads get icky so add dressing incrementally until it is where you like it.

Garnish & serve.

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Burnt Eggplant with Pomegranate Seeds & Cucumber – or Really Fancy Baba Ganoush

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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vromans back

31 years ago today – I moved to Los Angeles intending to establish residency & go to a state school (UCLA) for film – hoping to one day direct. I was 19 & did not know anyone else in LA – and – I had never driven a car (and lived here for 2 1/2 years without car or even a driver’s license) and lived for the first week in a creepy, rent-by-the-week motel on Whitley just north of Hollywood Blvd – until I found an apartment at Sunset & Normandie – where I lived for the next 4+ years. 19 and alone – very far from anything familiar and, apparently iron-clad balls because I can’t imagine being that brave now.  And to be honest – I cried almost every day for the first year & had to deflect my mother’s repeated offers to fly out here, pack me up & move me back home.  Honest to God – I have no fucking idea what I was thinking or how my mother let me go in the first place. I look at my friends’ kids who are at or near that age & cannot imagine sending them off to a seedy big city (which Hollywood really was in 1984) – 3000 miles away. I am very, very proud of my 19-year-old self & what that kid pulled off – through sheer willpower. I wish I had the nerve & gumption now that I had then. I am very grateful to live in LA. It is a great town – despite what the haters will tell you. So, anyway – happy anniversary to me & my youthful courage.

See Los Angeles in all its coolness!

Below are some images of me from that general era.  Notice the shaved sides in the top picture that I tried to mask with bangs in my first ever headshot – just below it.  Little did I know that the edgier me was going to be the key to my ever working as an actress.  Conformity – or my attempts at it – fooled nobody.

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So – onto this gorgeous recipe!  I saw it on The Iron You (seen in their photo above) and could not resist the chance to photograph something so gorgeous.  I made a few minor tweaks – in the interest of it being vegan & a little less caloric – but it is really their recipe – and is is CRAZY delicious!   As The Iron You states – “The end result is an addictive, creamy, smoky, tart, sweet, salty, and aromatic dip/spread/salad.  It can stand on its own as a dip or condiment or as a side to meat or fish or it can be served as a refreshing Middle Eastern inspired salad.”

Funny that I often co-opt Iron You recipes because their primary focus is a Paleo diet which – in reality – is almost the opposite of my focus – a vegan diet.  But they use lots of veggies & their photographs (like that one just above) are so inspiring – I am a big fan!

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This is easy & requires no special tools.  I used a food processor but out of laziness – not need.  Chopping the mushy eggplant would be almost as easy by hand.   It is basically a fancified hummus – but using eggplant rather than chick peas.  I think it is virtually guiltless – as far as calories & it really does have a complexity of flavors that is delightful!  And just LOOK at it!  Can you imagine a pretty holiday appetizer?

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Burnt Eggplant with Pomegranate Seeds & Cucumber – or Really Fancy Baba Ganoush

Serves several as an appetizer served with pita wedges


1 large eggplant

1/3 cup tahini

1 TBS plus 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp agave nectar

1 garlic clove – minced

3 TBS chopped parsley

1/2 large pomegranate

1/2 cucumber – peeled, seeded & diced

Sesame seeds


More parsley & maybe olive oil for garnish

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Roast the eggplant by placing it directly on a burner over a high flame.  You might want to protect your stove with foil – but I didn’t.  Turn frequently – and don’t walk away from it – lest it catch fire.  This should take 10-15 minutes & the skin should be charred almost all the way off & the flesh of the eggplant should be soft.  Allow to cool & then rub off the burned skin & stem top under cold, running water.  Allow to drain in a colander for 30 minutes.

Get the seeds out of half the pomegranate.  HERE are some tutorials showing how to do that.

If you do not have a food processor – chop the eggplant as finely as possible.

If you do have a food processor – pulse the eggplant a few times.

In either scenario – then mix/pulse in the tahini, lemon, agave, garlic & parsley.  Then fold in the cucumber & 3/4 of the pomegranate seeds.  Season with S&P.  Salt adds depth to this so definitely use some.

Garnish with the remaining pomegranate seeds, some chopped parsley & some sesame seeds.  Traditionally – olive oil is drizzled on top but I see no need to add those calories.  Knock yourself out if calories are of no concern to you.

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