Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipes
Take a look at Middle Eastern cuisine; at least 100 dishes use eggplant in some way! And it’s not just the Middle East; all around the world, people are realizing that eggplants are an excellent addition to our diets! Its multiple uses and benefits make it a mighty ingredient in hundreds of dishes, whether it’s roasted, grilled or fried.
Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipes
Have you ever tasted a dish with eggplant that didn’t taste amazing? Probably not! That’s because its flavor is rich yet subtle at the same time. Let’s explore some of the best eggplant recipes from the heart of the Middle East!
Appetizers, Soups, and Salads
The most famous Middle Eastern recipe with eggplant is baba ghanouj. A delicious and light dip, it is beautifully garnished with pomegranate arils and topped with a drizzle of olive oil. You can make a similar dip by blending baked eggplant, tomatoes, basil, bread crumbs, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin.
But there are so many more appetizers that can be made with eggplant, such as grilled eggplant with feta mini toasts, raheb salad, fattet bathenjan, eggplant and almond salad, and the Moroccan eggplant salad. Of course, you can also simply serve grilled eggplant slices with olive oil and a pinch of salt.
And who could forget the most flavorful side to any Middle Eastern dish: bathenjan makdous or pickled eggplant stuffed with walnuts, pepper, garlic, olive oil, and salt.
Even though it’s an extremely light ingredient, eggplant can also be quite filling and is often used in main courses.
One of the best known eggplant dishes is makloubeh, which literally means “upside down”. It’s a mix of eggplant, cauliflower, rice, and chicken. First, cook the chicken in vegetable oil and let it simmer in water. While the chicken cooks, heat the eggplant and cauliflower in a frying pan. Then add them all in layers in a large pot and add rice; let it simmer until the rice is cooked, and then flip the pot onto a serving plate!
To make the delicious eggplant and tomato dish, cook eggplants, onions, garlic and bay leaves in heated oil in a pan for 30 minutes, then add chopped tomatoes. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, and season with salt and pepper according to your taste.
Another filling platter is stuffed eggplant, which is made similarly to stuffed zucchini or kousa mehchi, but with eggplants.
Eggplant is also often used to bring flavor to a rice and lentils dish, or is simply cooked in pomegranate sauce and served with lentils!
Musakkaaet bathenjan is another famous recipe. It is made with baked eggplants and Al Wadi Al Akhdar chickpeas cooked with diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and sautéed onion and garlic.
Munazzalet bathenjan is also a staple Middle Eastern dish of stuffed eggplant with minced meat and tomatoes, served with a side of rice.
Aside from the delicious taste, another reason why eggplant is so popular is its inarguable health benefits. It is a low calorie, fat-free and is a source of fiber, yet it’s often used as a substitute for meat because it is filling. So if you’re looking to make your platters vegetarian, consider using eggplant in your recipes.
What’s your favorite Middle Eastern eggplant recipe? Share your recipes in the comment section!