Roasted Eggplant & Tahini Soup

Alternatively titled, “Will all the sexy women please stand up?”

If you were lucky enough to see me in person this week, you might notice a little extra swagger in my hips. A slight curl in my lips. A halo above my head (sorry, but is there another body part that rhymes with hips and lips?) Why is that? I’m having a pretty darn good week. Maybe it’s been the slew of relatively good hair days or my new purple boots. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been eating really well and working out really strong. Or maybe because I picked up a new book and already feel smarter, just a few pages in. Whatever it is, I feel good and I look good. And I’m not afraid to think that.

In fact, I’ve been thinking about that all morning (self-indulgent, much?) but didn’t actually want to say it. Because we all know it’s not nice to put ourselves above others. But really, I wouldn’t be doing that. I’d just be putting myself above, well, myself.

So isn’t it ironic that this afternoon I was pointed towards this blog post. In it, Single Dad Laughing shares the ridiculously long list of complaints that women often make about themselves. It saddens him that so many beautiful, real women are constantly putting themselves down. It makes me sad, and frustrated too. Why is it more common and acceptable to hear a woman making a negative comment about herself than it is to hear a positive one? Why does it feel so rare, even offensive and absurd, for a female to feel good about herself and want to share that? And he offers a solution to end the madness: he suggests that men need to stop looking at other women. Which women? The one on the cover of the latest Cosmopolitan, of course. The scantily-clad one on the poster hanging in Victoria’s Secret. And the one at the next table, with longer legs and bigger breasts than the man’s wife or girlfriend. Apparently if men stopped looking, us regular gals would no longer recognize those women as “ideal” and be able to accept (or better yet, love) ourselves.

I do think it’s pretty sweet of him to assume some of the blame for his gender, and to admit they might have done something wrong. That alone is a big step for mankind. But let’s face it – women are far more likely to dress, behave, and talk in a certain way out of concern for how other females might judge them, not men. Really, this article made me want to shout it from the mountaintops today: “Hey you! Look at me! I look good! I don’t hate myself!” Certainly, I’m not every man’s ideal woman. But I know I am to at least one, and that’s enough for me. Furthermore, I’m fitting very well into my own definition of gorgeous, smart, sexy and fun. And I’m not trying to brag. I’m just trying to share this idea with you: If you think it, you can be it. Try it.

And one more thing. If what he’s saying is true, if men should stop looking at other women and ignore what is a biological instinct, does this mean that I can never stare at another hot male? As if I am incapable of finding my husband hot and sexy, inside and out, even though he may not be every other woman’s ideal? Ladies, I certainly don’t want to give up my eye candy, so we need to stop setting this double standard that our guys shouldn’t be able to admire anyone else.

Anyway. You may have noticed that here we have a picture of Roasted Eggplant and Tahini Soup, not Alexander Skarsgård. I don’t know how this soup relates at all to what I said above except that it is one of the things that has contributed to my feeling good lately.

If you think it’s going to taste like baba ganoush in hot liquid form, you’re wrong. The roasted tomatoes and garlic give it a hint of sweetness that make it unique. If you taste it before it’s done and think I’ve made a big typo on the amount of spices, you’re wrong. The tahini is going to totally mellow it all out. If you think it’s totally wrong to make a bowl of soup where almost half the calories come from fat, well, you’re partially right. But only if that fat came from cream and butter. Tahini is the nut butter made from sesame seeds, and it’s full of those good fats you hear so much about and it has tons of good nutrients, even ones known to reduce cholesterol and prevent high blood pressure. I don’t think it’s on the list of “superfoods”, but maybe it should be considered. And if you think that just because you’ve never had either eggplant or tahini in a soup before that it can’t possibly work, just try it. Trust me, it works. Kinda like how envisioning yourself as one totally awesome and sexy being just works.

Roasted Eggplant and Tahini Soup
Adapted from Bon Appetit, via Smitten Kitchen
Printable Recipe

3 medium tomatoes, halved
1 large eggplant (about 1 1/4 pounds), halved lengthwise
1 medium or large onion, halved
1 head of garlic
4 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2-3 teaspoons ras al hanout*
1/4 cup tahini
juice from 1/2 of a lemon
4 tablespoons nonfat plain Greek yogurt (optional)
fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange tomatoes, eggplant, and onion on a baking sheet. Spray with nonstick cooking spray, and season with salt and pepper. Cut a small square of aluminum foil. Slice about a 1/4″ from the top of the garlic, to expose the cloves. Place it on the piece of foil, spray with nonstick spray, and wrap up tightly. Put this on the baking sheet with the vegetables.

Roast for 45 minutes, until vegetables are tender and brown in spots. Remove from oven and let cool until eggplant and garlic can be handled.

Scoop the eggplant out of its skin and into a large saucepan. Squeeze the cloves of roasted garlic out of the head and add to the pot, along with the tomatoes and onion. Add the broth and ras al hanout. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes, until onions are very tender.

Puree the soup with an immersion blender, or in a food processor, working in batches and returning to the pot. Add the tahini and simmer for about 5 minutes more. Finish the soup by squeezing in the lemon juice, and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.

Garnish each bowl of soup with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of cilantro.

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 200.2
Total Fat: 8.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 614.1 mg
Total Carbs: 24.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.7 g
Protein: 9.6 g

* Ras al Hanout is a Moroccan spice blend. It’s available for purchase somewhere, but I like to make my own. Hint: store the extra in a small spice jar and sprinkle on salmon before broiling, make some spicy Moroccan meatballs, or my North African Chicken Spiced Chicken.

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon turmeic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

One last thing: The featured ingredient for October’s SOS (Sweet or Savory) Challenge hosted by Diet, Dessert and Dogs and Affairs of Living is sesame. I’m proud to share this healthy recipe with them, and hope you’ll head over to find many others. And while you’re at it, check out Michelle’s Wholesome Whole Foods Friday #22 – I’m featuring this recipe over there as well. 

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27 Responses to “Roasted Eggplant & Tahini Soup”

  1. 1

    Kira — October 29, 2010 @ 1:03 am Reply

    The soup looks good too, but work it! I love those days when I catch a glimpse of myself in a window and think "DAMN I look good!" I have to admit that it can be stressful being on a university campus with a lot of skinny, pretty, blonde sorority girls (especially when they call me ma'am!). But I'm so happy with my mental, spiritual, physical, and intellectual life, that I try not to let it get to me.

  2. 2

    Dawn — October 29, 2010 @ 1:04 am Reply

    What a very refreshing post Cara. I love your self confidence and completely agree. I'd love to try the soup too!

  3. 3

    dinnersanddreams.net — October 29, 2010 @ 1:33 am Reply

    Yum! I love roasted eggplants and can imagine how good they are in a soup. Bravo!

  4. 4

    carascravings — October 29, 2010 @ 5:50 am Reply

    I trust you!The flavor combinations sounds great.I couldn't agree with you more about our society's skewed perspectives and expressions on body image.I have, in the past, wanted to say to my friends how great I feel and how strong I feel, but I am held back with the fear that it may put them down or make them feel less about themselves. It's weird. Our focus definitely needs to change from the negative into positive…it could do the world some good.

  5. 5

    Burp and Slurp~! — October 29, 2010 @ 6:42 am Reply

    Dang, mama. I love your self love and confidence. I need more of that. I'm that skinny slouching Asian girl looking nerd and self-conscious sometimes. Honestly though, I think seeing someone so sure of herself is really impressive and admirable.

  6. 6

    Ashlee — October 29, 2010 @ 12:42 pm Reply

    This post is fantastic! With all of the drama going on on blogs and the web as of late, this is so refreshing. I have had a similar week, my workouts have been great, I've been eating healthy and feeling good spiritually. And I am proud of myself for that! And your boots are hot ;) I love your description of this soup because until you said so, I was thinking 'hot baba ghanoush, weird!' But it looks great!

  7. 7

    Katie @ Health for the Whole Self — October 29, 2010 @ 1:03 pm Reply

    Love your confidence and your attitude! Such a fresh perspective. We need more women to feel like you do, and not be afraid to say it! :)

  8. 8

    Bree — October 29, 2010 @ 1:34 pm Reply

    I love your take on that blog post. We can't place all the blame on men. I know my man doesn't fit into the stereotype presented by single dad and I am guilty of those things just as much as anyone else. I haven't seen True Blood yet (I know for shame!) but watching Alexander Skarsgard in Generation Kill was quite delightful. I am really into soup lately – this one looks amazing as always.

  9. 9

    Joslyn — October 29, 2010 @ 1:59 pm Reply

    That soup looks delicious Cara! I'm glad you wrote about how great you feel and look! It's important for us women to speak up about our high levels of self confidence! I'm feeling pretty hot stuff myself this fine morning;)

  10. 10

    Notes from the Fatty File — October 29, 2010 @ 3:51 pm Reply

    I've been feeling a little down on myself lately so I was really happy to read your post. PLEASE post photos of your awesome new purple boots, btw. I love shoe eye candy!

  11. 11

    Joanne — October 29, 2010 @ 5:48 pm Reply

    I definitely have days where I just feel down about myself but reading this post has definitely lifted my spirits! Deliciousness as always and I'm so glad to hear you're having such a rock star week!

  12. 12

    Gillian — October 29, 2010 @ 6:28 pm Reply

    I found your blog a few weeks ago, and have been lurking and drooling in the corners ever since. Zucchini oatmeal has become a staple in my life. Thanks. I started rock climbing several months ago, and along with training really hard for a half marathon and religious yoga practice, I have become a heavier, more-muscled, HARD version of my former self. I have gained almost 10 pounds of muscle, which is truly both a blessing and a curse. I am so proud of myself for my powerful physical accomplishments, and yet I yearn for the slim, lean look we all see on the covers of magazines these days. It's a battle I fight with myself on a daily basis: do I strut what I have, or do I work even harder to trim away my remaining "extra"?Thank you for giving women everywhere a moment to strut. Because what's sexy, more than anything, is the confidence to rock what you got.

  13. 13

    Tasha — October 30, 2010 @ 12:49 pm Reply

    Thank you for posting this postive message, Cara. While I think we may all have down days from time to time, I agree it is important we, as women, find that self confidence to be happy and proud of who we are and to recognize our own sexiness (even if we don't look just like a VS model). And I also believe so much of that comes from taking care of our bodies and eating well. Your soup looks like a great way to do that and absolutely delicious.

  14. 14

    Taste of Beirut — October 30, 2010 @ 2:49 pm Reply

    That soup looks delicious love that dollop of yogurt on top and the idea of adding ras el hannout spices; I have used tahini in soup before.

  15. 15

    delishliving.com — October 30, 2010 @ 5:49 pm Reply

    SUCH an inspirational post, thank you for writing it and reminding women to be confident in their own beauty! On top of that, this soup looks lovely, and I have a jar of tahini paste that I haven't touched! Yippee!

  16. 16

    grace — November 1, 2010 @ 6:05 am Reply

    that fella's post was an interesting read–thanks for pointing it out. your comments on the matter are appreciated!also appreciated is this recipe–i KNEW tahini had to be good for something other than hummus! :)

  17. 17

    Erin @ EKat's Kitchen — November 3, 2010 @ 7:02 am Reply

    Yum! This sounds amazing — I love eggplant… and though, to my knowledge, I've never had tahini, I'm totally game. If it wasn't for a fab week (and good hair AND purple boots), this soup might do it for me! Hope you have an awesome REST of your week… and I can't wait to try tahini!

  18. 18

    Jaya — November 3, 2010 @ 1:30 pm Reply

    In my exprience, nothing builds your gym cred faster than knocking out a few chin ups. Suddenly there's always room at the power racks for you :)

  19. 19

    camelia — November 5, 2010 @ 11:28 pm Reply

    Hello,We bumped into your blog and we really liked it – great recipes YUM YUM.We would like to add it to the Petitchef.com. We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,enjoy your recipes. Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already membersand benefit from their exposure on Petitchef.com. To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use http://en.petitchef.com/?obj=front&action=site_ajout_form or just go to Petitchef.com and click on "Add your site" Best regards, Vincentpetitchef.com

  20. 20

    Cara — March 27, 2011 @ 3:07 am Reply

    Rebecca, these are some of the nicest words I have ever read – thank you so much for your support! Hope I can continue to help you find healthy and delicious food.

  21. 21

    Rebecca — March 27, 2011 @ 3:07 am Reply

    Glad to read Caras Cravings- great timing to have stumbled upon it. This dish is a prime example of why I read this blog. Desperately trying to eat healthy but detested all the bland stuff I had come up with. Love the spices- love the Indian influence and use of veggies. This certainly hits a foodies heart who wants a creative, interesting, healthy dish. Love Moroccan spice blend- now I can make my own.

  22. 22

    Rebecca — April 5, 2011 @ 1:18 am Reply

    Glad to read Caras Cravings- great timing to have stumbled upon it. This dish is a prime example of why I read this blog. Desperately trying to eat healthy but detested all the bland stuff I had come up with. Love the spices- love the Indian influence and use of veggies. This certainly hits a foodies heart who wants a creative, interesting, healthy dish. Love Moroccan spice blend- now I can make my own.

  23. 23

    Jaya — April 5, 2011 @ 1:18 am Reply

    In my exprience, nothing builds your gym cred faster than knocking out a few chin ups. Suddenly there's always room at the power racks for you :)

  24. 24

    Gillian — April 5, 2011 @ 1:18 am Reply

    I found your blog a few weeks ago, and have been lurking and drooling in the corners ever since. Zucchini oatmeal has become a staple in my life. Thanks. I started rock climbing several months ago, and along with training really hard for a half marathon and religious yoga practice, I have become a heavier, more-muscled, HARD version of my former self. I have gained almost 10 pounds of muscle, which is truly both a blessing and a curse. I am so proud of myself for my powerful physical accomplishments, and yet I yearn for the slim, lean look we all see on the covers of magazines these days. It's a battle I fight with myself on a daily basis: do I strut what I have, or do I work even harder to trim away my remaining "extra"?Thank you for giving women everywhere a moment to strut. Because what's sexy, more than anything, is the confidence to rock what you got.

  25. Pingback: Babaganoush Soup | Sprint 2 the Table

  26. 25

    Gnoe (@graasland) — February 29, 2012 @ 4:04 am Reply

    Fingertips! (Lips, hips, .. ;))
    Thanks for the recipe, I’ll be trying it today!

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