Autumn is my favorite time of the year – golden leaves, cozy days under the blanket, a good book and the warm light of candles. Moreover, I’m always looking forward to the seasonal fruits and veggies such as pumpkin, quince, eggplant and grapes. I love to cook seasonally, probably because that’s how I was raised. Where I come from, we always cook seasonally. You just can’t get strawberries or tomatoes during winter, or rather say, you can’t afford them. You always buy fruits and veggies that are in season and I think there’s the certain something to it – you always look forward to the one month when you’ll get your favorite fruits.
Cooking seasonally and regionally is also a trend that is coming up and I think it is really great that people are getting more aware of what they are eating. That’s also why I’ve decided not only to share my favorite recipes with you, but my favorite SEASONAL recipes that are easy to prepare and quick. Today I’ll start with my favorite warm fall salad: a sweet potato, eggplant, chickpea salad with a sesame dressing. (*vegan substitutes are also included in the recipe)
The Eternal Problem: No Time for Cooking
You probably know the following situation: It is evening. Probably already 8 p.m. You come home after a long day at work or at the university. You’re hungry. You need to eat something, but you have no idea what to cook. You spend the next half-hour thinking what to cook, just to decide to make a sandwich or to order something. That was my everyday routine until I decided to start making a weekly meal plan. Ever since then, I haven’t had the problem of not knowing what to cook and guys, it is such a great feeling when you come home and know what you’re going to eat :D.
A thing that I always consider while making this plan is that the meals mustn’t take longer than an hour altogether to be ready. That’s why I love this salad. You need less than 10 minutes to prepare it and it takes 20 minutes until it’s ready.
Speaking of having no time for cooking and preparing meals fast, I have to share my love for the De’Longhi Multifry Extra Chef Plus. I got it as a gift from De’Longhi as I moved into my new apartment :). If you follow us on Instagram, then you may have seen my reaction as I received it. Gosh, I was over the moon and couldn’t wait to test it. Honestly guys, if I’d known how amazing this tool is, I would have bought it earlier. It is a multicooker, that means it is a pan, a grill, an oven and an airfryer all in one. Ever since I’ve got this, I no longer use my oven, because I don’t have to preheat it. That means, I save extra time. Another great tool is a pan with a mixing paddle. That means, I even don’t have to stir the ingredients any longer (super handy when preparing a risotto, which you need to stir all the time). Also thanks to the timer, I don’t have to worry that the meal will burn.
While preparing this salat, I used the oven-option and I love the result. The sweet potatoes are tender inside and really crisp outside.
Ingredients (for 2 servings)
1 package mixed salad greens
1 sweet potato
1 cup chickpeas
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup of yoghurt (I used sheep milk yoghurt)*
1 tsp lime juice
1 Tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
Salt to taste
*Vegan option: coconut or soy yoghurt
- Cut the sweet potato and the eggplant into cubes (about 1 cm)
- In a bowl mix together oil, salt, smoked paprika, dried thyme, curry powder and garlic powder. Take one tbsp and put into another small bowl
- Add the sweet potato and eggplant to the bigger part of the seasoning mix and stir well.
- Put the mixture into the MultiFry (use the pan with the mixing paddle). Use the “oven option”, level 3, 10 minutes
* If you don’t have a Multifry, then preheat the oven on 180°C air circulation and bake on a baking sheet for 10 minutes.
- Drain and wash the chickpeas, add them to the smaller bowl with the seasoning mix. Stir well
- After 10 minutes, add the chickpeas to the sweet potato and eggplant. Bake for another 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix together the yoghurt, lime juice, tahini and salt in a small bowl.
- When the vegetables are ready, serve them on a plate with mixed salad greens and top them with the yoghurt dressing.
*The De’Longhi MultiFry was provided to me for free