Middle Eastern Mixed Salad

Middle Eastern Mixed Salad

Last week I watched Michael Mosley program on PBS . The host, who is both a physician and journalist, set out to find a way to lose weight, have a healthier life and live longer with as little change to his life as possible.  In the episode of  Eat, Fast and Live Longer, Dr. Mosley went on a search to find out whether ancient idea of fasting holds the keys to good health and longevity.  Friends, the answer is YES!  (Just in case you want to know if there is a book.  It’s called The Fast Diet)  The basic idea here is intermittent fasting where you have 5 regular days meal and 2 fasting days because calories do matters.   I hate  the idea that calories count (hahaha), but it does so I have to face it.  I also hate counting calorie numbers for every thing I eat (like those well-known programs) even though it works for some of my friends.  But this idea of 5 days of 2,000 calories and fast (around 500 calories/day) for two days is doable for me too-  loose weight and have great health benefits (like reduce risk of  chronic diseases and cancers).  I am inspired  to achieve a healthier life and live longer with little changes to my current life (Ok, may a little change at a time).  My first mission is to find 5oo calories or less whole food recipes. His website has some recipes.  EatingWell  has a great collection of 500 calorie meal recipes. Middle Eastern Chickpeas Platter is the first recipe that caught my attention. It is a very flexible recipe;  add more or reduce ingredients to your liking.  So here is my tweak to it.

Middle Eastern Mixed Salad


  • 30 milliliters (2 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil (plus a dash to mix into the tahini)
  • 1 medium eggplant, cleaned and cubed
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1.42 grams  (1/4 teaspoon)  sea salt ( and 2 more pinches)
  • 1.15 grams  (1/4 teaspoon)  Lebanese 7 spices (optional)
  • 42 grams  (3 tablespoons)  tahini
  • 45 milliliters  (3 tablespoons)  lemon juice (plus 15milliliters or 1 tablespoon more if desired)
  • 15 milliliter  (1 tablespoon) water
  • 1 can chickpeas  (garbanzo beans)
  • 1/2 a bunch  fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, cleaned and chopped
  • 38 grams  (1/4 cup) feta cheese
  • Pita bread, quartered and light toast


  1. Place a large skillet or work over a medium-high fire. Let the temperature rise a little.
  2. Add in 2 tablespoons olive oil and warm it up a little.
  3.  Add in the cubed eggplants and stir for several minutes.
  4. Add in the minced garlic, 1/8 teaspoons sea salt, and 7 spices.  Stir the eggplants several time, and let it cook until eggplants soften and starting to brown.
  5. Remove from heat and let it cool.
  6. Whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, water, a dash of olive oil, and 2 pinches of sea salt in a large glass bowl.  Whisks well until blend  (should look like runny mayo.  If thick, add in some water or lemon juice.
  7. Mix in the can of chickpeas first, then add in the  cooked eggplant.
  8. Stir in Feta cheese, and parsley. Gently mix everything together, and plate.

Serve it with lightly toasted pita bread.

Great taste and low calories.  How awesome is that ?  Stay tune for the next 500 calories recipe.

Here’s to eating light!

11 comments on “Middle Eastern Mixed Salad

  1. I think the key to eating only 500 calories a day is great dishes like this that pack in a lot of gorgeous flavours. I’ve finally figured out that it’s the taste and aroma of a beautiful plate food that I crave on fast days – not volume.

  2. Well this looks delicious. It’s just a matter of eating that portion and not one about 5x bigger!
    I am not enjoying the part of mid life where our bodies actually require less food. I’m struggling getting on board with that and have kept on a new 10# for refusing to conform.
    Anyhoo… keep on with the healthy meals. They are inspiring.

  3. If only I could just keep my sweet tooth in check! I havent heard of that book, but I’ve read some articles from Dr. Mercola on fasting combined with HIIT (high intensity interval training). I don’t know if I could survive on 500 calories a day, even for a few days, but by adding chickpeas and sesame, I bet your salad was filling. That sauce sounds yummy!

    • lol me too. Not sure if I can survive either. That is why I am collecting 500 calorie dinner recipes and other low calories but healthy choices that would help me stay long term with this new way of eating. 🙂 I saw someone’s food picture diary. Her 500 calories plate is a lot of food: legumes, vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. Even sweets can be under 500s! hahaha. I am loving this new dressing.

  4. Looks wonderful Tina! I’ll have to try that salad this summer when eggplant comes in season. Although I haven’t read that book, I’ve heard good things about intermittent fasting. The kind of intermittent fasting I usually do is limiting the hours in a day that I eat, like eating only between 11 am-7 pm or 10 am-6 pm. I don’t try to reduce the number of calories I eat, though I do limit/exclude junk food.

    • Hi Laura! I love this new dressing- tahini, lemon juice, water and a pinch of salt. Taste good and not much calories there right? 🙂 I tried setting a time when I can eat, I ended up thinking about food all the time after the hour. lol What I saw that night (I haven’t read it either) I like. So if cutting down calories will improve quality of life, I am in. 🙂 Cutting down junk food…hmm…is home-baked goods considered junk foods? 🙂

      • I don’t see it as limiting or depriving myself, more like setting myself free from a conventional set mealtime schedule that doesn’t work for me. Eating in the morning makes me nauseous most of the time, so if I wait to eat until I feel actual hunger in the morning, I feel better all day. That usually turns out to be between 10 and 11 am. When I go against this, don’t listen to my body and eat when it’s not ready, I pay the price.

        I don’t consider home-baked goods junk food because I know and approve of exactly what goes into them. When you bake your own you can choose fresh, healthy and delicious ingredients that will support health, not tear it down and you can limit the amount of carbs and added sugars as needed or desired. 🙂

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