As the culinary director for The Purple Carrot, a vegan meal delivery service, Chloe Lasseron spends her workdays crafting whole-food, plant-based recipes. In her free time, she trains—she’s run seven marathons (including a 3:20), and she’s gearing up for a race this weekend (with her sights set on a 3:15 finish).
One of the dishes she’s made several times this training cycle is this za’atar roasted eggplant with quinoa, hummus and fattoush salad. Sumac, she says, is a berry native to the Middle East that adds a tangy lemon quality. It’s often used in za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice mixture of thyme, oregano, and marjoram. Her recipe also incorporates sumac into the salad dressing. (If you can’t find it, try fresh lemon juice as a substitute.)
The dish is simple—it can be made in 30 minutes—and is packed with nutrient-dense foods that runners can appreciate. Eggplant, she says, is full of fibre and when roasted, it adds a smoky, hearty bite. Tomatoes and cucumbers are an easy way to sneak in extra fluids because both have a high water content. And the quinoa offers iron and adds protein to the meal.
“Protein is important to build muscle,” Lasseron says. “You don’t always need to get it from an animal source, though.”
Lasserson recommends eating the dish mid-week after a tempo run or speedwork, but not the night before a long run—it’s high in fibre, after all.
1 pita bread
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 English cucumber, sliced
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
½ head of romaine, chopped
½ teaspoon sumac
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius; cut eggplant into round slices. Lay each slice on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and sprinkle with Za’atar. Drizzle each slice with olive oil and roast for about 30 minutes or until eggplant is soft in the middle and brown and crispy on the outside.
Bring two cups of lightly salted water to a boil in a small pot. Add quinoa and lower heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Turn off heat and set aside covered for five minutes.
Cut or rip the pita bread into half inch pieces; add one tablespoon of olive oil to non-stick frying pan over medium heat and toast bread until golden brown. Sprinkle with salt and place on paper towel.
Mix vinaigrette in large bowl then toss with romaine, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions and pita.
Plate quinoa and top with roasted eggplant; serve alongside with hummus and fattoush salad.