After a lovely day in the garden, this smoky eggplant buckwheat bowl is a wonderfully flavoured, simple pleasures kind of meal. While I usually reserve warm bowls for the cooler months, this recipe creates such a light dish packed with smoky spiced flavours it can be enjoyed all year round. Paired with roasted carrots and a drizzle of tangy yoghurt I am officially crushing on this very simple but delicious dish.
The past few months my energy reserves have been waning. Our little house was floored by a nasty flu that swept through the Hills and I assumed my energy, or lack thereof, was simply my body taking its sweet time recovering. I still ran most days, although it was starting to resemble a shuffle, and I felt like I was keeping up with the Elf.
Looking in the rearview mirror now, I can see I wasn’t doing either terribly well.
And then my heart started skipping. A lot. On two occasions my heart flip-flopped a full twenty-four hours like a rollercoaster inside my chest leaving me too scared to run. With a family history of heart issues I was almost too scared to go to the doctors – I chose the ignorance is bliss path – but did get there eventually.
Thankfully, an ECG showed no real heart concerns however my bloods showed super low iron levels. So low they were impacting my heart. I didn’t know that could happen and most people I have spoken to since, didn’t know either.
“Since iron helps carry oxygen through the body, when iron is in low supply hemoglobin – which carries oxygen – is decreased in your blood. This causes your heart to have to work harder in order to provide the same amount of oxygen to your organs” (The Iron Maiden).
Like many women I have always had slightly low iron, even as a meat-eater, but I can see now that in recent years I haven’t paid enough attention to it. I was watching the Elf’s diet and not so much my own. So, the moral of this tale is…
In order for you to take care of others, you have to take care of yourself. Being a little selfish is the best thing you can do for those you love. That irony is a funny witch.
So I am on iron supplements with Vitamin C to aid absorption and eating iron rich foods like this most wonderful smoky eggplant buckwheat bowl. You know I love a good segue.
I adore this recipe. I cannot be any clearer. Flame roasted smoky eggplant (so simple to do over a stove top element), slightly sweet tomatoes and spicy harissa combine to create a completely intoxicating bite. While the flavours are full-bodied and rich, the buckwheat is light making it a perfect meal all year round. Sweet roasted carrots with drizzled natural yoghurt complete the bowl. This smoky eggplant buckwheat bowl is my new go-to meal.
While I am not an iron maiden just yet, I am on my way. I can feel the change in my body and in the way I interact with my family. If I had noticed these nuances in the first place I may not have had such a scare but a lesson learned is a lesson learned. Consider me schooled.
Recipe Note: Buckwheat is a good source of iron however it includes iron inhibitors such as physic acid, as do most grains, which actually reduces absorption of iron in the buckwheat. I soaked the buckwheat groats in room temperature water and a small amount of vinegar to activate them. Simples.
Smoky Eggplant Buckwheat Bowl
- 1 cup raw buckwheat groats
- 1 cup 250ml water to soak + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp 5ml smoked paprika
- 2 medum eggplants
- ½ can cherry tomatoes 200ml
- 1 tsp 5ml harissa
- 2 garlic gloves finely chopped
- 1 tbs 20ml olive oil
- pinch sea salt
- 2 cups 500ml vegetable stock
- 1 bunch small dutch carrots washed and trimmed
- sea salt to season
- 1 tsp 5ml maple syrup
- 2 tbs 40ml vegan (or regular) natural yoghurt
- black sesame seeds optional
- Place buckwheat in 1 cup water + apple cider vinegar to soak for 2 -3 hours.
- To make the smoky eggplant, wrap each eggplant in at least 2 layers of foil.
- Turn on the gas top flame to low-medium and place a wrapped eggplant directly on to the flame. Leave for 4 minutes before turning. Keep rotating the eggplant until each side has been exposed to the flame and the vegetable is soft. It will smell smoky. Remove the eggplant and repeat with the other.
- Leave each eggplant to cool within the foil - this will continue to create the smoky flavour.
- When cooled, remove from foil and slice open each eggplant and scoop out the flesh. Don't worry if you get some charred skin, it adds to the flavour.
- In a blender combine the eggplant flesh, cherry tomatoes and harissa and blend to combine. Set aside.
- Heat the even to 180 degrees C and place the carrots on a roast tray. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, season with salt and roast for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, drain and rinse the buckwheat.
- Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a large pan and sauté the garlic until fragrant. Add the smoked paprika.
- Add the buckwheat and cook, stirring for 3 minutes.
- Stir in the stock and cook, at low to medium heat, for around 10 minutes.
- Pour the eggplant mixture in to the buckwheat and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Test to ensure the buckwheat is al dente.
- Remove the carrots from the oven and drizzle with a small amount of maple syrup and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Place a ladle of the smoky buckwheat in a bowl and serve with the maple carrots and a drizzle of natural (vegan) yoghurt.