Lebanese 7-Spice Noodle Bowl with Eggplant and Roasted Garlic

Sweet roasted garlic and a fragrant Lebanese 7-spice blend give the sauce for these noodle bowls a distinct, warmly spiced Eastern Mediterranean flavor. Each noodle bowl starts with a smear of oil-free hummus. Red lentil spaghetti and a mouthwatering mix of eggplant, onion, and red bell pepper get piled on top, along with watercress (or baby spinach). But it's the aromatic sauce spooned over the top that transforms this into something special. Serve cold or warm—these good-for-you noodle bowls are perfect year-round.

Tips

To make this gluten-free, be sure to use red lentil spaghetti or another gluten-free spaghetti.

To make ahead, prepare as directed through Step 6. Place noodles and sauce in separate airtight containers. Store vegetables, noodles, and sauce in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Continue as directed in Step 7.

For more inspiration, check out these tasty ideas:

By Laura Marzen, RD, LD,

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Ingredients

  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head garlic
  • 3 cups cubed eggplant (1-inch cubes)
  • 1 medium red or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 15-oz. can no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained (1½ cups)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 12 oz. dry red lentil spaghetti or whole grain spaghetti
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened, unflavored plant milk
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup oil-free hummus
  • 2 cups fresh watercress or baby spinach, stems removed

Instructions

  • To make Lebanese 7-spice blend, in a bowl whisk together the first six ingredients and ¼ teaspoon of the freshly ground black pepper.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut the top ¼ inch off garlic head so the tops of the cloves are exposed. Carefully remove two large cloves from garlic head; thinly slice cloves and set them aside. Wrap head in foil. Roast 40 to 50 minutes or until very soft. Let cool on a wire rack.
  • In an extra-large skillet cook eggplant, bell pepper, two-thirds of the onion wedges, the chickpeas, and sliced garlic over medium 6 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are just tender, stirring occasionally and adding water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed to prevent sticking. Remove from heat. Stir in ½ teaspoon of the salt and the remaining ½ teaspoon of the pepper. If making this as a chilled noodle bowl, transfer the mix to a large bowl; cover and chill at least 1 hour.
  • Line a shallow baking pan with parchment paper. Arrange remaining onion wedges in the prepared pan; cover loosely with foil. Roast 10 minutes; uncover and roast 5 to 10 minutes more or until tender and starting to brown. Let cool.
  • In a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot cook noodles according to package directions. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water, then drain noodles in a large colander; rinse with cold water to cool quickly. Drain again. Transfer to a large bowl; toss with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the reserved cooking water so they stay loose.
  • For sauce, squeeze roasted garlic cloves from papery skin into a blender or small food processor. Add roasted onion, milk, lemon juice, 7-spice blend, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Cover; blend until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
  • To serve, smear hummus in bowls. Top with noodles, eggplant mixture, and watercress. Spoon sauce over top.

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John

So strange and awkward ... cups of egg plant .... They don't come in cups, just say one big one or something from the real world .... two onions ... not so many cups .... strange

About the Author

Headshot of recipe developer and nutritionist Laura Marzen by Theresa Schumacher Photography

About the Author

Laura Marzen, RD, LD

Laura Marzen, RD, LD, is known for developing approachable recipes using her attention to detail and relying on two decades of experience creating and testing recipes. She created and tested recipes while working in the Better Homes & Gardens test kitchen for over seven years. Since then, she has gone on to develop more than 1,000 recipes for national magazines. In addition to her work developing recipes, Marzen uses her passion for healthy eating to coach women on improving their digestion and health in a way that's practical and sustainable. She has consulted for authors Rocco DiSpirito and Joy Bauer and has appeared on both local and national news and television programs on behalf of Better Homes & Gardens and Living the Country Life. With her work coaching women to improve their health, Marzen has extensive knowledge on the topics of digestion, metabolism, inflammation and IBS. Marzen earned a B.S. degree in dietetics from Iowa State University. She followed that with a dietetic internship and classes in public health at the University of Iowa through the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Learn more on her website. Photo by Theresa Schumacher Photography
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