Baba ghanouj wraps with marinated tomatoes on Meatless Monday

This traditional eggplant spread is a savory filling for romaine lettuce leaves; paired with fresh, marinated tomatoes, it's a delicious light lunch with plenty of flavor. You can use ground cumin instead of toasting and grinding your own, but it's well worth the tradeoff in time if you want to take that step. This recipe was adapted from Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook. See also: - Mediterranean pasta salad for a lighter meal on Meatless Monday - Falafel with tahini sauce for a Mid-East treat on Meatless Monday - Artichoke and green-olive tapenade for a snack on Meatless Monday You will need:

1 head romaine lettuce 2 small eggpants 6-7 cloves garlic 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted and finely ground (or 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin) 1/2 tablespoon tahini 1 lemon 10-12 cherry tomatoes 2 tablespoons minced basil 2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar Salt to taste Freshly ground black pepper Cayenne pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

1. Rinse the eggplants, cut off the tops and prick them all over with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes, until eggplants are shriveled and tender.

While the eggplants are baking, prepare the marinated tomatoes.

2. Rinse the tomatoes and chop them up; place in a bowl. Peel two cloves of the garlic and press them into the bowl with the tomatoes. Chop the basil. Add the basil, balsamic vinegar, freshly ground black pepper to the tomatoes; salt to taste. Toss to combine, then cover and refrigerate until ready to eat. 3. Heat a small skillet over high heat and add the cumin seeds. Toast until fragrant and golden-brown. Put the toasted cumin seeds in a mortar and use a pestle to grind until they're fine powder. Good enough! 4. Zest the lemon. Squeeze the juice from the lemon. 5. Peel the rest of the garlic and chop it coarsely. By now, the eggplant should be baked. Take it out of the oven and let it cool. 6. When the eggplant is cool, scrape the flesh out of the skin and put it in a food processor. Add the cumin seeds, tahini, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Puree until smooth. To serve, spread baba ghanouj on the lettuce leaves. Top with tomatoes and enjoy!

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Amber Taufen has been writing about people, places and things in Denver since 2005. She works as an editor, writer, and production and process guru out of her home office in the foothills.
Contact: Amber Taufen