Grilled eggplant with tahini sauce is a wonderful option for meatless meals. This post is brought to you thanks to OXO and Melissa’s Produce.
We’ve been partaking in a CSA in various forms for many years now, starting when my older son was only a baby. The weekly selection of produce has allowed us to try all sorts of things, learning what we like and don’t like along the way. It also has created somewhat of a problem in our refrigerator.
As omnivores, the CSA only provides us a fraction of our weekly groceries, and so we still need to find space for dairy, eggs, meats, coffee, other fruits and veggies my kids can’t live without, and of course have room for leftovers. Don’t forget about our copious collection of condiments, jams, and pickled things. And the box of wine.
As you can see, our refrigerator is full to bursting. I wish I could say that it was only because I had recently received a case of products to try, but in reality our fridge looks like this most weeks. The produce bins fill up quickly and always need extra space to store my veggies long enough that they don’t go bad before we get around to eating them. Plastic bags aren’t always the best solution, but short of front-loading the vegetables into our meal plan, it’s been the best solution.
Happily I’ve been able to try another solution: the OXO GreenSaver. These nifty containers are specially designed to keep all many of produce fresh for much longer than in a plastic bag or just shoved into the crisper drawer. The basket inside allows for air flow (and goes right to the sink to be used as a colander), while the carbon filter in the lid absorbs ethylene gas, which is what vegetables give off and speeds up ripening. Plus there is a vent at the top to control humidity depending on what kind of produce you have. You can even store like items together to maximize space in the fridge.
I was skeptical about the system when I put my Chinese eggplant from Melissa’s Produce in the bin, but I peeked at it periodically to see that it was OK. Sure enough, when I was finally ready to cook the eggplant nearly two weeks later, it was still nicely firm and plump. No food waste here!
Grilled eggplant is incredibly easy and can be prepared on a grill or stovetop grill pan. While I used Chinese eggplant for this dish, any eggplant will do. If using a more bulbous variety, cut it into thick slices instead of in half, to ensure even cooking.
Topped with a simple sauce made of tahini, plus red onions and cilantro, this meatless option brings Mediterranean flavors to the table without fuss. Serve it as a main dish alongside some tabbouleh, or as a side for your next big cookout.
If you don’t have za’atar spice in your pantry, I highly recommend trying it out, especially if you can purchase a small amount from your grocery store or spice shop. Za’atar blends vary, but is mainly composed of thyme, sumac, and sesame.
- 4 Chinese eggplant
- 1/2 teaspoon salt , divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic , chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon za'atar spice
- 1/4 cup sliced red onion
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Slice eggplant vertically and set cut-side up on a baking sheet. Score eggplant in a criss-cross pattern, then sprinkle cut side with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Let rest while you prepare the sauce, and preheat the grill for medium heat.
- Whisk together tahini, water, lemon juice, garlic, za'atar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Taste and adjust spices as needed.
- When the grill is ready, brush cut side of eggplant lightly with olive oil (too much will cause it to drip and your grill will flare up). Grill cut-side down for about 5 minutes, then turn over and grill on the skin side for about 2 minutes more.
- Serve with the prepared sauce, red onion, and cilantro scattered on top.
Disclaimer: I was provided with the OXO GreenSaver and produce from Melissa’s Produce for the purpose of review.
For more meatless inspiration, check out my Vegetarian board on Pinterest!