Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables, which I’m sure many of you are surprised to hear. The bitter outer skin combined with that unmistakeable spongy texture is enough to turn most people off of the purple plant for good. But I’m here to tell you I have a recipe that will knock your eggplant-hating socks off- just trust me. The key? Smother it with tahini sauce.
I should probably mention that I would eat a shoe if it were smothered with tahini sauce- but the eggplant underneath the velvety tahini blanket is absolutely delicious, too. The real key to delicious eggplant? Lots of olive oil, a bit of sea salt, and just the right amount of roasting. Roasting the eggplant brings out the sweetness and tones down the bitterness of the skin- of course, you can always peel the skin. But I love the extra nutrients the skin provides, and I don’t mind the flavour once it’s been roasted for long enough. It’s less bitter, and more tangy.
Perfectly roasted eggplant, in my humble opinon, is slightly golden and crispy on the outside with a soft, juicy interior. Ensuring your eggplant is just coated- but not drenched, in olive oil before cooking is key, and seasoning well always helps. Try this simple method with the bounty of these seasonal purple bulbs, and prepare to fall in love.
Roasted Eggplant with Garlic Tahini sauce
Serves 2-3 as a side
4 baby eggplants, or 1-2 regular-sized eggplants (about 2 cups uncooked); sliced into half-moons
extra virgin olive oil, as needed
garlic powder and freshly ground cumin
good quality sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss eggplant with olive oil (start with 1/2 tbsp) to coat. It will begin to absorb the oil- you want each piece slightly yellow, but not dripping with oil.
2. Lay eggplant on baking sheet and sprinkle with garlic, cumin and sea salt. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until golden on one side.
3. Flip and roast for another 10-15 minutes, until slighty golden with some texture on the outside and soft on the inside. Serve drizzled with tahini sauce and sprinkled with fresh chopped parsley.
Garlic tahini sauce:
1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 cloves garlic, minced–OR 6 cloves garlic, roasted (and minced or smashed)
1/2-3/4 tsp freshly ground cumin
sea salt to taste
1/4 cup water, or as needed
Chopped fresh curly parsley, as needed
1. Whisk together tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, cumin and a pinch of sea salt.
2. Add water as needed (start with 2 tbsp) to reach desired consistency.
3. Serve drizzled over favorite vegetable or meat entree (try the eggplant recipe– above!) with fresh chopped parsley to garnish.