Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes, Scallions, and Tahini
So, I've discovered that anything with a tahini dressing is addictive and my favorite.
But not regular tahini dressing, which is made with tahini, water, lemon juice, and spices. No, in order to be addictive, the tahini dressing must use olive oil in place of all the water. Makes all the difference. Oh, and a little vinegar.
But I digress. Let's talk about the rest of this dish. Creatively titled "roasted eggplant with tomatoes, scallions, and tahini."
Sorry, I had a really hard time naming this recipe. There were so many options. Do I go with roasted eggplant halves? Or whole roasted eggplants with salad? And why mention just the tomatoes and scallions and tahini? There's also pine nuts and parsley and feta cheese. But then the title would be way too long.
So you see, in the end, my title isn't so bad after all.
This roasted eggplant recipe makes not only a delicious, but also attractive, side dish. Or even main dish. Or lunch.
First, you slice your eggplants into halves lengthwise and score the flesh. Then, drizzle the halves generously with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic, and send them off to the oven to roast until soft and tender.
Once roasted, the eggplant halves are spread out on a serving plate (don't cut up the eggplants, just put a sharp knife on the serving dish and let the eaters do it themselves, it's part of the magic). Then, they're topped with a salad of diced tomatoes, sliced scallions, and chopped parsley (tossed in olive oil and spices).
The vegetables are then topped with toasted pine nuts, crumbled feta cheese, some more fresh parsley, and a generous drizzle of the tahini dressing.
Yay, I finally get to talk about the tahini dressing again.
This tahini dressing is easily my favorite salad dressing. It's almost the same one I used for this kale tahini salad. Olive oil, tahini, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. That's all it takes to make me a very happy camper. Oh, and then the charred, tender roasted eggplants with the diced veggies and the pine nuts and the feta cheese too. Those assist in making me joyous as well.
Cuz I mean, I can't exactly eat the tahini dressing plain.... Or can I?
This eggplant dish looks very impressive, but may also seems a little daunting to create yourself. But it's really not.
Yes, there's a few steps involved. But they're all quick and simple.
Cutting an eggplant and placing it into the oven is simple enough. Chopping up some tomatoes and scallions is pretty easy too. Putting pine nuts on a baking sheet and toasting them in the oven for 10 minutes doesn't take too much effort either. You can even toast them at the same time the eggplants are in the oven if you have the room. And whisking together a basic tahini dressing shouldn't take much time.
And then spooning the salad on top of the eggplants, garnishing them with the feta and parsley and pine nuts, and drizzling them with the tahini dressing is actually quite fun because it feels like an art project (the free-style, fun kind). And it's rewarding, because you get to see all your work coming together to form a beautiful, mouth-watering, nutritious dish.
You may find that you have no problem finishing two full eggplant halves with all the toppings and garnishes by yourself. I may or may not be speaking from experience.
roasted eggplant with tomatoes, scallions, and tahini
Yield: 4 eggplant halves (about 8-10 servings)
2 large tomatoes
1 bunch scallions
Salt, black pepper, and garlic powder to taste
Few sprigs fresh parsley
1/3 cup pine nuts
Feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tahini
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt + pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut eggplants in half lengthwise (keep stalk on). Score the flesh diagonally 5-6 times with the tip of a knife, cutting all the way down, up until the peel. Rotate eggplants and score diagonally again, forming a diamond criss-cross pattern on each eggplant half.
Place eggplant halves cut-side up onto baking sheet. Brush olive oil very generously onto the cut sides of the eggplants. Season generously with salt, and less generously with black pepper and garlic. Roast eggplants for 35-50 minutes, depending on size and thickness of eggplants, or until soft and tender.
Meanwhile, dice the tomatoes, slice the scallions finely, and chop up a few sprigs of parsley. Toss all three together in a bowl with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and cumin.
Spread pine nuts onto a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden (350 F) , about 8-10 minutes.
Whisk together all ingredients for tahini dressing.
Assembly: Spoon tomato mixture onto eggplant halves. Drizzle generously with the tahini dressing. Top with fresh parsley, crumbled feta, pine nuts, and a drizzle of olive oil.