This little side dish is one of those finds that I don’t know how I lived without. It’s so simple to prepare, and it’s become a “food hack” in my book – you know, one of those things that are insanely easy yet so delicious? (Why does it have to be a “but”? It looks like the most wonderful things out there are the straightforward ones.)
Traditionally, the eggplant is grilled directly over an open flame and then sliced open and covered with a delectable, lemony, garlicky tahini salad. In reality, I think the flavor of the eggplant is better when cooked conventionally.
Many people don’t have a stove-top with an open flame, and it makes such a huge mess that it’s not worth doing very often. For these reasons, I found you can get nearly the same result by dry-grilling in a pan on the stove top. If you don’t mind making a bit of a mess or if you have an outdoor grill, go ahead and roast the eggplant over the fire. Otherwise, stick with using a pan indoors.
Grilled Eggplant With Tahini
- 1 eggplant (Choose an eggplant that feels lighter than they appear.)
- 1/2 cup raw tahini
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- First, wash and dry the eggplant. Then, place it in a pan over medium-low heat until it is dry.
- Leave it be. After some time, you’ll observe that it will begin to appear “bruised”–it will turn a rusty brown color starting from the bottom and gradually making its way up.
- When the entire top of the eggplant (the side not touching the pan) has become brown (about 20 minutes), turn it over.
- Place the eggplant in a pan with enough water to cover it by about an inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Place the pan on a burner or directly over a high heat source and cook until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how thick they are.
- You can make the tahini salad while the eggplant cooks. For the salad, mix minced garlic, lemon juice, and pulp in a jar
- Add the tahini and shake well (with the lid tightly!) until thoroughly combined.
- Start by adding a little water and vigorously shaking until the desired consistency is obtained.
- It’s time to harvest your eggplant after it has completely deflated, burned, and shredded.
- Use a knife to cut along the stem of the eggplant, training halfway into the eggplant.
- After that, cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, creating two “boat”-shaped halves.
- Make a crisscross design on the fleshy surface of the bigger one (typically the one with the stem still attached).
- Take the “meat” of the other half, right on top of the half you just cut, and scoop it out. The skin can be composted or saved for vegetable stock.
- Pour the eggplant tahini salad into a slightly deep dish so the tahini doesn’t drip out. Sprinkle ground cumin on top.
- It’s all set! If you want to get fancy, grab some honey, date honey, or pomegranate syrup and use it to make a zigzag design on top of the tahini.
- Use the tip of a knife to lightly drag syrup in opposing directions, back and forth, to create a decorative pattern.
- If you use a thicker syrup, your end product will look better
- If you want to make this dish ahead of time, wait until right before serving to add the tahini, since it will dry out along the edges and won’t look very appealing
Tahini Sauce: Tips for Use
Ingredients for tahini sauce can be varied to fit the needs of any meal. To make tahini sauce, you will need:
- 1/2 cup of grapeseed oil
- Three cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- juice of 1 lemon (about two tablespoons)
- Two tablespoons white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
- One tablespoon honey
- Three tablespoons water
To make the tahini sauce, heat your oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and salt, and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the cumin seeds and continue to cook for another minute. Turn off the heat and strain the mixture into a small bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together lemon juice, vinegar or rice vinegar, honey, and water until combined. Pour this mixture into the skillet with the garlic mixture and cook for 2 minutes until heated through. Serve immediately on warm toast or use as is for a side dish.
Tahini sauce is a great way to add flavor and texture to your grilled eggplant dishes. By making it yourself, you can vary the recipe and make it as delicious as you want. Tahini sauce is also easy to use – just mix together some tahini sauce, water, and olive oil until desired consistency is reached. Whether you are using it on its own or with other dishes, tahini sauce will add a touch of luxury and flavor to any meal.
Aurelia is the Editor-in-Chief of The Graceful Kitchen, a vegan lifestyle blog that focuses on delicious, nutritious, and ethical eating. A lifelong vegan, Aurelia is passionate about sharing her love of plant-based cuisine with others. She is a regular contributor to several online and print publications, and has been interviewed by major news outlets about the benefits of a vegan diet. In her free time, Aurelia enjoys cooking, hiking, and spending time with her cats.