What to do when energy is waning and the change of seasons has you feeling less than vibrant? Mix up the flavors frequenting your palate and feel rejuvenation flood in to transcend your mealtime doldrums.
One of the most powerful palatal tools to instigate change is spice—heat energizes internal systems, stimulates metabolism, and recharges even the most sluggish of eating patterns. This week’s Intuitive Eating with Kale & Caramel brings you a spicy mix of Asian flavors that’s sassy enough to fit inside a wildly delicious taco.
We start with a miso eggplant that’s one of my all-time favorite recipes—rich and earthy with the umami of fermentation, and as tender as you can imagine. Paired with a whipped cilantro kabocha squash (a Japanese squash that’s sweeter than pumpkin) that carries the kick of cayenne, we’re well on our way to a mega-yum Asian taco fiesta.
Enjoy the rejuvenation of flavors and spirits, and the zesty spice of a new season.
By Lily Diamond
- 2 cups thickly sliced Japanese eggplant
- 2 tablespoons miso
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Cilantro Kabocha Squash
- 2 cups steamed kabocha squash chunks (from a 1 1/2 pound squash)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon miso
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ume plum vinegar
- 2 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or more for stronger spice)
- handful fresh cilantro leaves
Sriracha Sour Cream
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons sriracha hot sauce
- 6 small flour tortillas
- 2 cups fresh tatsoi leaves (or other dark baby greens, like bok choi, chard, spinach, etc.)
- 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas), lightly toasted
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 425ºF.
Slice Japanese eggplant in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
In a small bowl, mix miso, coconut oil, and toasted sesame oil. Place eggplant slices in a medium bowl and massage with the miso mixture. Place on a baking sheet and roast in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, checking at 10 to see how they’re doing. When they’re bubbling and browned, and can be easily pierced with a fork, they’re done. Remove from the oven and set aside in a bowl.
While the eggplant is roasting, Fill a large pot with an inch of water and place a metal steamer inside. Turn heat to high and cover with a lid. Halve your kabocha squash and deseed it, then cut into thick slices for steaming. Remove lid and put squash in the steamer, distributing evenly. Toss in one peeled clove of garlic. Replace lid and let steam 15-20 minutes, until squash is tender. Then remove from heat.
Once squash is done, remove the metal steam using tongs and run cold water over the squash. Drain water, and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh into a blender. Add the clove of garlic, miso, coconut oil, ume vinegar, soy sauce, and cayenne. Blend until smooth, then turn off blender. Add cilantro and blend again for another 20 seconds or so—don’t over-blend the cilantro! Empty into a bowl.
In a separate bowl, mix the sour cream and sriracha, and set aside for plating your tacos. Place toasted sesame and pumpkin seeds in another bowl. In a third bowl, set out your washed tatsoi or other greens.
Gently warm tortillas as you like, either on a cast iron griddle, or in foil in an oven (or toaster oven).
When you’re ready to assemble your tacos, start with a shmear of cilantro kabocha, top with miso roasted eggplant, and then add your greens, seeds, and sriracha sour cream. Enjoy!
- Total Fat
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- Dietary Fiber