This roasted eggplant dish makes an incredibly tasty weeknight meatless dinner. If you haven’t had eggplant in a while or think you’re not a fan, I challenge you to give this one a try – it’s absolutely delicious and versatile enough to be a main dish (I love over steamed rice) or as a side dish (recently served with lamb and the family loved it!). Roasting the eggplant brings out those umami flavors, and the spiced filling can be adjusted to your liking.
Roasted Eggplant with Za’atar Spiced Tomato and Chickpeas
1 firm eggplant, cut in half lengthwise
1/3 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp. sea salt + additional sea salt
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
½ cup chickpeas, cooked
1 ½ – 2 tsp. Za’atar spices
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
Optional: top with toasted pinenut or fresh mint
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Halve each eggplant lengthwise and score the eggplant halves with cross-hatches (4 cuts diagonally each way), then place flesh side up on a lined baking sheet. Season with salt and brush very generously with olive oil. Turn eggplant over and roast, flesh side down, until very soft, about 40 minutes.
While eggplant roasts, prepare the ingredients for the filling. Heat deep sided saute pan over medium heat, then add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Saute the onions, adding a generous pinch of sea salt, until softened. Then add the garlic and tomatoes and chickpeas and continue to cook until tomatoes have softened and blistered. Turn heat off, fold in the Za’atar seasoning and fresh parsley. Adjust salt again at this point.
Remove roasted eggplant from oven and carefully flip over using a large spatula. Use a fork to gently mash the eggplant, then top with your tomato and chickpea filling, gently pushing into the eggplant. Option to top with a sprinkle of pinenuts or fresh mint.