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Miso Aubergine Salad

Happy Chinese New Year of the Rooster for tomorrow! Sending out good wishes to all for the lunar year ahead!

Miso Aubergine Salad 

Yes, I am fully aware that miso is not considered 'paleo' but I'm Chinese and soy has featured fairly prevalently throughout my dietary lifetime - whether I consumed it a lot (while in Asia) or not at all (in my early Paleo days) has made little discernible difference to the way I feel. Some may argue the damage is stealthy and I will rue my indifference but I'll take my chances.

Miso is a traditional Japanese fermented seasoning, a good source of vitamins and probiotics. The fermenting process reduces the antinutrients as well as making them easier to digest. PLUS, it adds the most amazing umami flavour. Feel free to double the dressing recipe and store in a sealed jar in the fridge for perking up salads, meats or a heap of plain veg.

** I won't go into the details of why soy is frowned upon by Paleo perfectionists as there is plenty available already on Google but, in a nutshell, soy is argued to give rise to hormone imbalances (raises estrogen, lowers testosterone) and is high in antinutrients.

Miso Aubergine Salad
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free

Serves 2 as a starter

1 medium-large aubergine, washed, sliced lengthways into approx 1/2cm slices
1/2 tbsp EVOO (or olive oil/ avocado oil)
1 tbsp miso paste (I use this organic one)
1 tsp water
1 medium carrot, peeled, trimmed and finely sliced into discs
2 big handfuls of rocket leaves
1/2 pomegranate, arils only
handful (approx 1/2 c, 45g) raw unsalted cashew nuts

1 tbsp miso paste
1/2 tbsp coconut aminos or tamari
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp raw honey or maple syrup if vegan
1 tbsp lemon juice (1/4 lemon)
thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated

1. Toast cashew nuts in a heavy based frying pan over high heat for 5-10 minutes, tossing frequently, until golden. Remove from pan and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius, 355 degrees farenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment.
3. Whisk together 1 tbsp miso, EVOO and water in a small bowl and evenly coat aubergine slices with mixture before arranging in a single layer on prepared baking sheet, without overlapping.
4. Bake in oven for approx 25-30mins flipping the slices halfway, until lightly browned and slightly shrunken.
5. While aubergine is baking whisk together dressing ingredients or shake everything together in a lidded jar.
6. Arrange aubergine slices on serving plates alongside rocket leaves and carrot. Scatter over pomegranate and cashew nuts before drizzling over dressing. Serve extra dressing on the side if needed.