Roast Aubergine with Tahini

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This post for Roast Aubergine with Tahini may sound dull but there is also harissa, red pepper, feta cheese and pomegranate piled on there. It is one that I have had in my drafts folder for quite some time. A discussion with my friend Fionnula recently about vegetarian meals prompted me to make it again and get some proper photos. I think it is so tasty and meat lovers would like it as much as the veggies in your life.

Aubergines are one of those vegetables I hated when I was growing up. My memory of it was a veg that was bland and rubbery. Now it is one of my favourite veggies. Have a look at Frances’ post on The Honest Project championing this veg.

And yes, I am breaking out the harissa again. I love this spice paste and I have already used it in many recipes here already. Feel free to buy it, I particularly like the Tesco one, but it is very easy to make.

 

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Useful tips & links:

  • This is great veggie main or side dish, however if you are making it for vegetarians make sure the cheese you use is suitable. Look at halloumi or a vegetarian goats’ cheese as an alternative if you can’t get vegetarian feta.
  • To make this dish vegan, leave out the cheese and the yogurt from the tahini sauce. You can use tofu in place of the cheese though it is not strictly necessary and use more water as a substitute for the yogurt in the sauce.
  • I have used pine nuts for crunch here but pistachios or almonds would also work.
  • If you want to make this ahead of time it does keep well. I have made it and taken the leftovers for lunch the next day. However to have it at its best I would go to the stage of roasting the aubergine and allowing it to cool before keeping in the fridge. You can do the onions and the tahini sauce and then store them in the fridge for a day. When you are ready to serve it is just a matter of reheating the aubergine with the peppers and feta and the rest is an assembly job. Just make sure everything is at room temperature.
  • Another idea for using aubergines are my Stuffed Aubergine Rolls or I particularly like this recipe from Everyday Cooking with Mira.
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The aubergines with harissa, before and after roasting

 

 

Roast Aubergine with Tahini

Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 aubergines
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of harissa paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses
  • 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 roasted red peppers
  • 100g feta
  • 2 tablespoons of tahini
  • 2 tablespoons of plain natural yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1/2 a clove of garlic crushed
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • Pine nuts
  • Fresh coriander or parsley
  • Pomegranate seeds

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Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 200c/180c fan/gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with some parchment or greaseproof paper. To prep your aubergines, cut them in half lengthways and cut into the flesh in a criss-cross action, but make sure not to cut through the skin. The will allow the flavour of the harissa paste to get into the flesh of the veg.
  • Mix together the harissa and the olive oil and brush it over the cut flesh of the aubergines. Season with some salt and plenty of pepper. Roast the aubergine until the flesh is soft but still holding its shape, approximately 30 minutes.
  • While the veg is roasting prepare the onions and the tahini sauce. Peel and thinly slice the onion. In a bowl mix together the pomegranate molasses, olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and taste to make sure you are happy with it. Add the sliced onions and mix well together. Set it aside until you are ready to use it. The onions will soften slightly and also lose their harsh raw taste.
  • To make the tahini sauce mix together the tahini, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and water until well combined. Again set it aside until ready to use.
  • Once the aubergine is cooked, slice up the roasted red pepper and layer this on top of the aubergine. Crumble over the feta and then pop them back into the oven just for a couple of minutes to soften and warm through the cheese and peppers.
  • Toast a handful of pine nuts in a small dry non stick pan over a medium heat until they have turned golden brown, which will only take a couple of minutes.
  • When everything is ready, spoon over the onions and drizzle some of the pomegranate dressing too. Next pour over a little of the tahini sauce, sprinkle on some pine nuts and garnish with freshly chopped coriander or parsley. I usually sprinkle on some pomegranate seeds too but on this day the one pomegranate I had was disappointingly anaemic looking when I cut it open. C’est la vie!

 

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