This is a Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe to always have close at hand. It’s served with a stunning tahini yogurt sauce and pomegranate arils, perfect as a side dish or an impressive appetizer!
This is the last but definitely not least of my Yalda Night recipe series for 2017!! This Middle Eastern roasted eggplant with tahini yogurt sauce is a year-round favorite! Manakish Zaatar is my favorite Middle Eastern Zaatar Bread.
Yalda night is just 3 days away and we’re super excited for it! We’re going to make a lot of good food so be ready to see a lot of Insta stories soon!
In a nutshell, Yalda Night (Shab-e Yalda) is an Iranian winter solstice celebration. It’s common to stay awake past midnight, read poems aloud, spend time with family and loved ones, and eat nuts, dried fruit, pomegranates and watermelon. In my family, we always have fish for Yalda night dinner. In north western part of Iran (Tabriz and the surrounding cities), if a couple if newly married, families take decorated fruit and nuts and some gifts to the bride.
Looking for more Yalda Night Recipes?
- Walnut Pomegranate Cheese Ball
- 4-Ingredient Pomegranate Parfait
- Pomegranate Guacamole
- Stuffed Fish With Pomegranates and Walnuts
- Coconut Pomegranate Cupcakes
- Persian Eggplant Soup
- Stuffed Eggplant with Lamb and Walnuts
- Marinated Olives with Walnuts (Zeytoon Parvardeh)
- Kashke Bademjan (Persian Eggplant Dip)
This middle eastern eggplant recipe is one of my favorite Yalda night recipes. This is a dish that’s bursting with Middle Eastern flavors such as sumac, garlic and tahini. This is not an authentic Persian recipe but it indeed has the same flavor profile: subtle, earthy and not overly powerful.
How to make a Middle Eastern eggplant dish?
Start with choosing the right eggplant. The eggplants must be fresh and without brown seeds. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and cut diamonds into the flesh. Drizzle with olive oil, sumac, garlic and salt and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until they’re completely cooked and the flesh is soft and nice. Then top the cooked eggplants with homemade tahini yogurt sauce, some pomegranate arils and walnuts. You’ll have the perfect texture and flavor combination in a very simple dish.
It’s all about playing with flavors. Pomegranates and walnuts always go well together. So do lemon, garlic and tahini. As long as you know test and try to see how flavors and spices work together, you’re going to find yourself creating amazing dishes with so much flavor!
Tips, tricks and FAQs for this Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe:
Q: Can I use any type of eggplant?
A: As a matter of fact, yes! You can use most types of eggplants for this recipe including Japanese eggplants, Chinese eggplants, graffiti eggplants, Italian eggplants or the regular globe eggplants you can find in any grocery store. for this recipe I used Chinese eggplants as they’re the closest to what I used to use back in Iran, but I’ve made the same recipe using globe eggplants and the only change I had to make was to roast it for about 10 to 15 minutes longer.
Q: What can I use instead of yogurt to make the tahini sauce?
A: You can use sour cream, or any non dairy yogurt as long as it’s not flavored and is plain. This middle eastern eggplant recipe is a very forgiving one and you can modify it to your preference.
Q: Is this Middle Eastern dish served warm or cold?
A: Both! You can make the tahini yogurt sauce a couple of days in advance and serve it on hot eggplants right out of the oven for a hot appetizer/side dish. Or you can make everything before hand and top the eggplants with the sauce right before serving as a cold middle eastern eggplant salad. I personally prefer it served warm.
Q: I made too much tahini yogurt sauce, what should I do?
A: A lot of things! First of all, don’t throw it out. This sauce stays good for almost a week in the refrigerator and here are a couple of things you can do with it:
- Salad dressing: Add a couple tablespoons of water to the sauce and mix so it reaches the consistency of salad dressing. Use it on any type of salad.
- Sandwiches: Use this tahini yogurt sauce as a spread instead of mayonnaise on different sandwiches. My favorites are grilled veggies and grilled chicken sandwich.
- Dip: Grab a bag of pita chips and put the extra tahini yogurt sauce in a bowl. Place the bowl in the middle of the plate and place the pita chips around it. There. You now have a tahini dip for your party, too!
Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe
This is a Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe to always have close at hand. It's served with a stunning tahini yogurt sauce and pomegranate arils, perfect as a side dish or an impressive appetizer!
- 4 Chinese Eggplants
- 4 tbsp Olive Oil
- 4 cloves Garlic Minced
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Sumac
Tahini Yogurt Sauce:
- 1/4 cup Tahini
- 1/4 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
- 2 cloves Garlic Minced
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Sumac
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 cup Pomegranate Arils
- 1/4 cup Walnuts Chopped
- 1/4 cup Parsley Chopped
Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the eggplant into halves lengthwise and place them on the baking sheet. Using a knife, cut diamonds into the eggplants, make sure you're not piercing the skin.
Drizzle the eggplants with olive oil and rub the minced garlic on them. Sprinkle salt and sumac on the eggplants.
Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the flesh is soft and cooked completely.
Meanwhile, make the tahini yogurt sauce:
Tahini Yogurt Sauce:
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Once the eggplants are cooked, top them with tahini yogurt sauce, pomegranate arils, walnuts and parsley.
If planning to serve this middle eastern eggplant dish as a cold eggplant salad, then top the cold cooked eggplants with tahini yogurt sauce and toppings right before serving.