Roasted eggplant with tahini is a delicious appetizer or mezze dish that you’ll find in Israel and other parts of the region. It’s incredibly easy to make and full of fantastic flavor.
If you saw my Israeli salad recipe earlier in the week, you might have got the sense I am feeling slightly proud of myself sharing two recipes from our trip to Israel so soon after we are back. This roasted eggplant with tahini is a dish we actually had on our first night and was one I saw on the menu a few times. I could easily have eaten it almost every day, it’s so simple but delicious. That’s why it was perfect to share so soon.
I came to a couple of conclusions after our trip, neither of which were necessarily a surprise. The first was I could never cope with the climate in Israel, at least where we were. I’m sure to many the idea of hot and humid is not necessarily a bad thing, but as someone brought up in a distinctly cooler climate, it’s not for me. The other conclusion was I do love the food, and particularly appreciate their love of eggplant.
Eggplant seems like such an under-loved vegetable to me. I’m not sure if it’s the texture, color it goes when cooked or what it is, but only a few cultures seem to appreciate it. I’ve shared a few recipes like brinjal pickle (Indian eggplant relish), marinated eggplant, tomato and smoked mozzarella salad, caprese grilled eggplant roll ups and family favorite moussaka, but there’s definitely room for some more.
How it’s made
While I’ve called this roasted eggplant with tahini, traditionally it’s grilled on an open flame to give lots of wonderful charred flavor. The skin becomes crisp and charred (and in fairness, you might not want to eat it) and the inside is soft and tender. However it is certainly easier to roast in the oven.
See how easy it is to make in this short video:
The sauce has tahini as a base, which you then mix with lemon and garlic for an extra doze of flavor. You can whisk the ingredients by hand, but it’s probably easiest to just shake them in a small jar (as I have in the above video). You’ll need a little water to thin it down so it drizzles nicely on top. It’s typically topped with something sweet for a slight contrast – date syrup is most common (and delicious), but since that’s not as common here, honey or pomegranate molasses would also work.
This roasted eggplant with tahini is easy to prepare and full of soft, comforting deliciousness. It makes a great appetizer or serve it as part of a mezze meal. Or, do as I might have done and eat a whole eggplant for lunch. When you try it you’ll understand why.
Roasted eggplant with tahini
Easy to make, comforting and delicious, this roasted eggplant with tahini is perfect as an appetizer or part of a mezze.
- 1 eggplant
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp tahini
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp water approx
- 1 tbsp pine nuts
- 1/2 tsp date syrup or pomegranate molasses/honey
Preheat oven to 400F/200C.
Halve the eggplant lengthwise, then score each side without cutting through to the skin in a criss-cross pattern around 1in/2.5cm apart. Put on a baking sheet, cut side up.
Brush both cut sides generously with olive oil - use the full amount above - then sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake/roast. They should take around 40 minutes to become soft and tender inside and just starting to brown on top.
While the eggplant is roasting, mix together the dressing. Put the tahini, lemon juice and garlic in a small jar and shake together. Add some water and shake again, adding a little more if needed to get a good pourable consistency.
Gently toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet/frying pan or under the broiler/grill, watching them closely so they don't burn and set aside.
When the eggplant is ready, drizzle with the tahini dressing (shake it again before using if it was a little while before), drizzle over a little date syrup/honey and the toasted pine nuts. This is probably best served warm but also good at room temperature.
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