I hope this post is going to find you, guys, healthy and happy. My days have been busy and loaded with writing, taking classes, tests prepping, picture taking, reading and, of course, cooking.
Even though today’s recipe calls for almost the same set of ingredients as the previous one, I decided to post them consecutively to show you how easily you can spoil your families with yummy dishes, having the same vegetables and spices in your fridge.
So our plan today is to make veggie towers with two different types of sauce: the cashew and the beetroot.
But first things first: let’s talk a little about some of the ingredients we need to make the towers.
Sweet potato it is. I can honestly admit that before moving to the States, I had no clue what sweet potato was and how to cook it even though I loved all the varieties of traditional potatoes. I baked, boiled, and mashed them on a regular basis. Nevertheless, despite my sincere affection to it, I knew that white potato affects weight loss process: one large potato baked in an oven with skin on contains around 250 – 300 calories. Adding butter or any other kind of oil to make it less dry, raises the number of calories significantly and makes it a very controversial type of dinner for the weight-conscious. It does not mean that I quit eating white potatoes, but I try to consume them rarely in the dishes where those cannot be avoided or just as a treat once in a couple of weeks. Sweet potato, on the other hand, has become a great alternative and has enriched my diet with so many dishes and health benefits. It can be baked, sautéed, and even freshly juiced! It adds some sweetness to vegetable juices and makes a great alternative to fruits that are high in sugar. Have you tried sweet potato fries yet? If not – just do me a favor: next time you are eating out – search for a place that serves sweet potato fries (just before I post the recipe here on the blog) and become addicted!
Sweet potato is an amazing source of beta-carotene that has the ability to raise a blood level of vitamin A (yes, yes! You can stop eating tons of carrots now). Instead of eliminating them completely, rather just consider alternatives: Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Biotin – your skin, nails and hair will appreciate those so much. Because of its mildly sweet taste, it can also lower blood sugar level. I hope you are convinced now and next time you order potatoes – they are going to be sweet!
Cashews cannot be avoided in this talk today simply because they are the type of nuts that will change your life. Blend them, grind them, and roast them… Garnish your morning oatmeal, make a cheesecake with them, a vegan cheese or any kind of sauce! The possibilities are endless! Again, nuts are important for heart health, so incorporate cashews in your diet in order to prevent cardiovascular diseases. Magnesium that is found in cashews, just like calcium, protects our bones and is able to support our nervous system. Cashews prevent the formation of gallstones and, just like walnuts, help us lose weight.
Tahini is a product I really regret I did not know about before. It is basically a ground raw sesame seed paste. It is an essential part of hummus spread and can be added to pretty much every filling, sauce and even a dessert. I always have it in my fridge (it can be safely stored there for a couple of months) and I never hesitate to use it here and there.
Now, as we are done with the description of benefits, let’s cook the Towers and treat our loved ones because they deserve it! Just as previously, I highlighted the main components of the recipe. Feel free to substitute or skip the others.
Eggplant and Sweet potato Towers with Cashew and Beetroot Sauces
2 medium eggplants
1 large sweet potato
1 cup of raw unsalted cashews
1 medium beetroot
2 tbsp of tahini
1 tbsp of sesame seeds
Himalayan salt to taste
garlic powder to taste
black pepper to taste
- Soak the cashews in warm water for at least 2 hours.
- Wash the beetroot and the eggplants, cut off the stems.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Oil a backing tray with avocado oil, place the whole beetroot on it and let it sit in the oven for 40-60 minutes until fully cooked.
- Cut eggplants into fairly even full-round slices, place in a bowl with cold water and add 2 tbsp of salt. Let them soak in water for 20-30 minutes to reduce bitterness. Then rinse thoroughly.
- Peel the sweet potato and cut into even full-round slices (same as the eggplants).
- Oil another baking tray with avocado oil, place sliced eggplants and the sweet potato on the tray and put it into the oven. Let it cook for 20-30 minutes until ready.
- Take out the beetroot from the oven and let it cool off. Peel the beetroot, cut it into pieces and place in food processor; add salt, black pepper, garlic powder and blend until smooth. If the mass is too dry, slowly add a little bit of water. Try the beet spread and adjust salt/pepper/garlic according to your taste.
- Drain the cashews and place them into the food processor that was rinsed after making the beet spread.
- Add tahini, salt and pepper to the cashews and blend until smooth. If the mass is too dry, slowly add a little bit of water.
- When the eggplants and the sweet potato are cooked, take them out of the oven. Here you can make your rounds even in size by using a glass rim of the desirable size as a round form and cut the edges of the veggie rounds.
- Time to assemble the towers. Place one eggplant round at the bottom and top it with a few tbsp of the beet spread.
- On top of the beet spread place a sweet potato round and top it with the cashew spread, then again put on top the eggplant round and top it with the beet spread. One of the towers is ready.
- Repeat the steps until all the towers are assembled.
- Garnish your presentation with sesame seeds.
- The spreads leftovers may be served on a slice of toast, as dipping sauces for vegetables or as a side dish.
Just a tip to make your cooking experience easy: you can make the sauces in advance so that the whole process is does not take that long. Also, if you try to find a sweet potato and the eggplants of fairly the same shape and size, you may definitely skip the step of perfectly rounding the towers’ rounds.
Remember: with each and every new recipe you try (not only with mine, obviously) try the substances before you are ready to put the pieces together and experiment with the tastes adding more spices, water, oil etc. You know your family’s preferences better than the author of the recipes. I like my dishes garlicky, little saltier and less sweet than my husband does. So keep in mind that the adjustment, if any, should be done at the stage of cooking, not serving. In this case, you can be sure that there is going to be no disappointment.
Garnish the Towers with your favorite fresh or dried herbs as an alternative, maybe even a grated carrot or the chopped scallions to make the presentation more colorful. And enjoy!