Roasted, Spiced Eggplant with Bulgur Salad

This is one of those recipes that turns out so much better than you’d thought – especially if you’re not into eggplant – you’ll wonder why you didn’t try it sooner.

I find eggplant often surprises me, which of course is a bonus – any way you think of it. It makes me want to experiment more and more, trying new recipe ideas as I find them. Also have to admit, any recent eggplant recipe I’ve made and fed to anyone has always been enjoyed. Very much so.

This Ottolenghi recipe has been slightly modified, mostly due to the fact that I didn’t want to hunt down preserved lemon peel. Perhaps when I make it again, which I will… but for now I just wanted to try the recipe. Isn’t that part of the joy of cooking…? When YOU make it, you can make it your own. Just like I keep telling people, unless you’re baking and substitutions are NOT always advised – despite what some people say – when cooking, it’s a whole other thing.

I thought I had pistachios and walnuts, but only had pine nuts. Toasted in a dry sauté pan, they were an excellent addition. Not a currant fan, I would use raisins (if I’d had any…!) and of course if you’re in the cilantro hater camp… use something else. While I do like it, I used some thinly sliced scallions for the onion & the green. Double whammy! Olives… I had nice black ones. Not wanting to give a weird colour to the salad, I simply served them on the side.

So, what are you waiting for…?

Get in the kitchen and try something! Then tell us~

ps It was suggested by the last person I fed this to: make extra for a very tasty baba ganoush!!


Roasted, Spiced Eggplant with Bulgur Salad

Eggplant and bulgur go very well together – and you could always use quinoa or rice, if you’re not eating wheat. When this first starts to roast, you’ll smell the cinnamon – but don’t be alarmed. It dissipates leaving a fragrant & wonderful spice aroma that will have you drooling.

Ingredients for the eggplant:
1/2 cup olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon peel (I did add some lemon zest!)
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
2 medium eggplants (9–10 ounces each), halved lengthwise

Ingredients for the bulgur salad:
1 cup quick-cooking bulgur
1/2 cup pitted green olives, quartered lengthwise
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1/3 cup currants
1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup pistachios, toasted and lightly crushed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°

Stir 1/4 cup oil, the next 7 ingredients & 1/2 tsp. salt in a small bowl for spice mix. Score flesh of each eggplant half with 1/2″ deep diagonal crisscrossing lines, spacing 1″ apart (do not cut through skin). Drizzle 1 Tbsp. oil over cut side of each half, allowing it to soak in. Season lightly with salt. Brush or spoon spice mix over, dividing evenly. Place eggplants, cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet or pan. Roast until soft and very tender in center, 50–60 minutes.

Meanwhile, place bulgur in a large bowl and cover with 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Let soak for 45 minutes to soften and absorb water. Stir in olives, onion, currants, parsley, 1/3 cup cilantro, pistachios, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand for at least 30 minutes for flavours to meld.

*DO AHEAD: Eggplant and bulgur salad can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Serve eggplant warm or at room temperature. Place an eggplant half on each plate. Spoon some bulgur salad and a dollop of yogurt alongside. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro and drizzle with oil.