EGGPLANT WITH TAHINI SAUCE, POMEGRANATE AND TOMATO SALSA AND TOASTED ALMONDS


Vegan, gluten free, leftovers friendly

Serves 10-15 as a side, or 8 as a meal

I’ve been making variations of this dish for years now. It always seems to end up on the table at Christmas and is often a go to ‘bring a dish’ meal. It’s simple, but looks incredible, tastes even better can be eaten at room temp. If you think you’re going to eat some now and some in the days to come, I’d recommend just dressing and topping as you go. Everything keeps really well, but hot pomegranate isn’t really my cup of tea (though I am willing to be persuaded!)

 In the recipe here I have roasted the eggplant in a grill pan, but if you have one, a grill sandwich press does the job wonderfully well, or if you have neither, roasting the slices in the oven until golden and soft will also work. The main aim is to ensure the eggplant is completely soft and golden brown, this is essential for this dish.

Note: everyone seems to have different methods of deseeding a pomegranate. Personally, I quarter mine and then submerge it in a bowl of water and pull out the seeds. The pith will float to the top, the seeds will sink and you’ll be able to just drain the bowl and have all the lovely little jewels ready to go.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggplants, sliced into 1 cm thick slices

  • Olive oil, for drizzling

  • 4 tbsp tahini

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

  • ⅓ cup warm water

  • 1 tsp cumin powder

Salsa:

  • 1 pomegranate, deseeded

  • 3 ripe tomatoes, diced into 1cm chunks

  • 1 small red onion, diced

  • Half a bunch mint, finely chopped

  • Half a bunch coriander, finely chopped

  • Big drizzle olive oil

  • Juice of half a lemon

Almonds:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 100g slivered almonds

  • ½ teaspoon salt

 

 
 
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Method:

  1. Heat a grill frying pan with a good drizzle of olive oil. Add eggplant slices and cook on each side for about 5 minutes, or until coloured and softening. Sprinkle each lot with a little salt. Repeat until you have cooked all slices well. Arrange the cooked eggplant on a big platter or wide bowl.

  2. To make the dressing, whiz all ingredients in a food processor, or you can whisk by hand until combined. It should be thick, but just drizzle-able. Test the seasoning and add more salt, and pepper if desired.

  3. Assemble the salsa by combining everything together in a separate bowl. Season well with salt and pepper.

  4. Toast the almonds with olive oil and salt in a small fry pan, stirring often for 3-5 minutes until they’re golden brown.

  5. Top the eggplant with the tahini sauce, spoon over the salsa and finish with the toasted almonds. Garnish with extra herbs, if you like.