This dish, like many I create, came about to use up ingredients I have and prevent food waste. Aubergines are not to everyone’s taste but baked and crisped up slightly before baking again in a sauce means the texture is more appealing (I speak from experience of having a daughter with sensory food issues). A common theme in the work we do at Little Chefs Big Chefs is dealing with a mass of surplus bread so I will always try to find some way to include this! This recipe works best with stale bread as it will then absorb more of the flavours – win win!
I have given a few options to tweak this to ‘eat around the world’ too. I hope you enjoy.
Aubergines, with their wonderful deep purple hue contain phytonutrients which help to keep our bodies healthy. They are an excellent source of dietary fibre and also a good source of vitamins B1 and B6 and potassium. In addition it is high in the minerals copper, magnesium and manganese.
They are rich in antioxidants, specifically nasunin found in aubergine skin. This antioxidant is a free radical scavenger (if free radicals overwhelm the body’s ability to regulate them, a condition known as oxidative stress ensues and can trigger a number of human diseases) and has been found to protect the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes which are essential for healthy brain function. Studies indicate that phenolic-enriched extracts of aubergine may help in controlling glucose absorption, beneficial for managing type 2 diabetes and reducing associated high blood pressure (hypertension). Aubergines may also help to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Tomatoes contain vitamins C and E, anticancer properties and may ease symptoms of asthma. Adding fat (as in olive or vegetable oil) boosts the absorption of the valuable antioxidant lycopene and vitamins further.
Butter beans like all pulses offer both soluble fibre and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre helps to lower bad LDL cholesterol , prevent blood sugars from rising rapidly and prevent heart disease. Both fibres are essential for good digestive health. They are also a source of B vitamins, protein, iron and calcium.
Onions have been valued the world over for centuries for their anti-inflammatory and healing properties. The sulphur compounds in onions (as well as in their ‘relatives’ leeks, garlic, shallots etc.) have been shown to help lower blood pressure and discourage the growth of tumours. They are also high in vitamins C, B6, calcium, potassium and phosphorous. Phosphorous draws calcium into bones to keep them strong but other nutrients in onions have been shown to destroy osteoclasts which are cells that break down bone leading to osteoporosis.
The sulphur compounds in garlic which create its odour also offer many health benefits from minimising the risk of heart disease, certain cancers (colon, stomach and prostrate), can help to prevent stomach ulcers and is a natural antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal food.
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