These roasted eggplants with a green chili sauce and summer vegetables were nominated by the James Beard Foundation for their summer contest, and I am so excited to finally share the recipe with you all. This dish is perfect for bringing some freshness into the last days of summer. Satisfying, vibrant, and loaded with character, this is what I call comfort food. And for the nostalgic, it provides for a rich Mediterranean experience in every bite.
The highlight of this recipe is the green chili sauce as it adds a punch of tanginess and spiciness to the eggplant. I like to mellow down the heat with a bit of avocado, which also makes for a wonderfully creamy sauce. If you’re aiming for a mild level of heat, be sure to remove the seeds and membranes of the chili, as those are its spiciest parts.
This recipe serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a side for a meal. It pairs well with a Middle Eastern salad or grilled lamb.
INGREDIENTS/ SERVES 2-4
For the Eggplants
2 long eggplants, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt, to taste
For the Green Chili Sauce
handful cilantro, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 green chilis, seeds and inner membranes removed
1/2 a ripe avocado
salt, to taste
For the Tomatoes
16 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 tablespoon lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper
tahini-yogurt and garlic sauce*
Preheat oven to 220C/425F. Place the halved eggplants on a baking pan and poke them with a fork to make several holes . Brush each eggplant with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and season with salt. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until deep golden in color.
Prepare the green chili sauce at least 10 minutes before serving to mellow the flavors. To make, blitz together all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Check for salt and add extra seasoning to your taste. In a small bowl, toss together the tomatoes, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Set aside. Prepare a tahini sauce if using.
Spoon the green chili sauce onto the roasted eggplants, pile the tomatoes and micro greens over the top, and drizzle with tahini-yogurt sauce, if using. Serve right away or enjoyed chilled later in the day.
*To make a tahini-yogurt sauce, mix together 2 tablespoons tahini and 4 tablespoons plain yogurt until thick and smooth. Stream in some lemon juice until you get a creamy consistency. Add 1 small clove crushed garlic, if you like, and lightly season with salt if necessary.