The Best Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe (2024)

Published: · Modified: by Shadi HasanzadeNemati · This post may contain affiliate links .

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This is a great Middle Eastern eggplant recipe to always keep on hand. Perfectly roasted eggplant is served with a stunning tahini yogurt sauce and pomegranate arils. It's perfect as a side dish or an impressive appetizer!

The Best Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe (1)

Eggplant is a common vegetable to use in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. From baba ganosuh, moussaka and fried eggplant to melitzanosalata and kashke bademjan, this humble vegetable can be cooked in many different ways. Today's recipe is one of my all time favorites. This Middle Eastern eggplant dish is simple, and packed with so much flavor.

Table Of Contents:
  • Why This Recipe Works
  • Ingredients
  • Instructions
  • Serving Suggestions
  • Storage And Reheating
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • More Eggplant Recipes
  • Step-by-Step Recipe

Why This Recipe Works

This eggplant recipe is a year-round favorite, bursting with Middle Eastern flavors such as sumac, garlic and tahini. We love this dish because it's:

  • Easy: As easy as cut, slit, roast and serve! Simple, yet absolutely delicious.
  • Healthy:Eggplants are roasted and not fried in this recipe, which means very little oil is used. It's also vegetarian and gluten free.
  • Perfectly delicious:The combination of eggplants, sumac, yogurt and tahini is delightful. The flavors go so well together and no spice is overpowering the others.
The Best Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe (2)


  • Eggplants: Make sure your eggplants are fresh and firm. If the eggplants have brown spots on them or are too soft in some areas, they're not suitable for this recipe.The perfect eggplant is bright, firm and heavy for its size. For this recipe you can use Chinese or Italian eggplants.
  • Garlic: The more the merrier. The combination of garlic, olive oil and salt will give the eggplants a bold flavor.
  • Sumac: One of my favorite spices, sumac is has a tart flavor. It's made from sumac berries.

Once the eggplant is roasted, I top it with a delicious tahini yogurt sauce. To make the sauce you need the following ingredients:

  • Tahini: Good quality tahini is a must is Middle Eastern recipes. You can find quality tahini is Arab, Middle Eastern or Mediterranean stores.
  • Plain yogurt: You can use regular or Greek yogurt. Make sure it's plain and not flavored. I usually opt for whole milk yogurt but 2% or no fat yogurt works too.
  • Garlic: I usually use a lot of garlic in my sauces but you can reduce the amount of garlic depending on our preference. It's best to use garlic cloves and not garlic powder for deeper flavor.
  • Lemon juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds so much flavor to this sauce.
  • Sumac: If you've never tried sumac, now is the time. It's tangy and sour, and the color is deep maroon. You can find sumac in Middle Eastern or Mediterranean shops.
  • Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil is perfect for this recipe.

Also, I love topping mine with walnuts, pomegranate arils and parsley and I encourage you not to skip it. The pomegranate adds a lot of flavor and walnuts work so well with eggplants and yogurt.

The Best Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe (3)


  1. Start with choosing the right eggplant. The eggplants must be fresh and without brown seeds. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and cut diamonds into the flesh.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and top with sumac, garlic and salt.
  3. Bake in the oven at 400° for 30 minutes or until they're completely cooked and the flesh is soft and nice. (Please check out our tutorial on how to roast eggplant for some useful tips.)
  4. Meanwhile, make the tahini yogurt sauce by mixing all the ingredients in a jar or a bowl.
  5. Top the cooked eggplants with homemade tahini yogurt sauce, some pomegranate arils (if desired) and walnuts. You'll have the perfect texture and flavor combination in a very simple dish.
The Best Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe (4)

It's all about playing with flavors. Pomegranates and walnuts always go well together. So do lemon, garlic and tahini. As long as you're sure to test which flavors and spices work together, you're going to find yourself creating amazing dishes!

Serving Suggestions

I love serving this Middle Eastern eggplant dish with yogurt tahini sauce. However, you can also top it with other sauces such as Middle Eastern tahini sauce or tzatziki. You can serve this dish as a simple lunch or dinner.

It's also a nice addition to your Christmas appetizers or Holiday side dishes. Or, you can have it as a side dish to accompany mains like chicken shawarma, falafel or beef shish kabob.

Storage And Reheating

Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. It's best to store the eggplant and sauce separately. Reheat in the oven at 300 degrees F for 15 minutes or use the microwave.

I don't recommend freezing this eggplant dish because the texture of the eggplant could change and the sauce might separate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use any type of eggplant?

As a matter of fact, yes! You can use most types of eggplants for this Middle Eastern eggplant recipe including Japanese eggplants, Chinese eggplants, graffiti eggplants or Italian eggplants. For this recipe I used Chinese eggplants as they're the closest match to what I used to use back in Iran.

What can I use instead of yogurt to make the tahini sauce?

You can use sour cream, or any non dairy yogurt as long as it's not flavored, i.e., plain. This middle eastern eggplant recipe is a very forgiving one and you can modify it to your preferences.

Can I make this Middle Eastern roasted eggplant ahead of time?

Yes, you can roast the eggplant up to 6 hours in advance and make the sauce up to 2 days in advance. When ready to serve, heat the eggplant and top it with the sauce and the fixings.

Is this dish served warm or cold?

It's best served warm. You can make the tahini yogurt sauce a couple of days in advance and serve it on hot eggplants right out of the oven for a hot appetizer/side dish.

What can I do with the leftover tahini yogurt sauce?

A lot of things! First of all, don't throw it out. This sauce stays good for almost a week in the refrigerator and here are a couple of things you can do with it:
Salad dressing: Add a couple tablespoons of water to the sauce and mix so it reaches the consistency of salad dressing. You can use it on our Mediterranean salad.
Sandwiches: Use this tahini yogurt sauce as a spread instead of mayonnaise on different sandwiches. My favorite sandwich toppings to go with tahini sauce are grilled veggies and grilled chicken.
Dip: Grab a some pita chips or freshly baked pita bread and put the extra tahini yogurt sauce in a bowl. Place the bowl in the middle of the plate and place the pita chips around it. There you go. You now have a tahini dip for your party, too!

The Best Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe (5)

More Eggplant Recipes

  • Best Eggplant Parmesan Recipe (Video)
  • Persian Eggplant Soup - Ash-e Bademjan
  • Classic Eggplant Lasagna Recipe
  • Stuffed Eggplant with Lamb and Walnuts

Did you make this recipe? I'd love to hear about it! Please comment and leave a 5-star🌟 rating below. You can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or subscribe to our newsletter to get a free e-Cookbook!

Step-by-Step Recipe

The Best Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe (10)

Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe

Shadi HasanzadeNemati

This is a great Middle Eastern eggplant recipe to always keep on hand. Perfectly roasted eggplant is served with a stunning tahini yogurt sauce and pomegranate arils. It's perfect as a side dish or an impressive appetizer!

4.61 from 41 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes mins

Cook Time 30 minutes mins

Total Time 45 minutes mins

Course Appetizer, Side Dish

Cuisine Persian

Servings 6 servings

Calories 255 kcal


  • 4 Eggplants see notes
  • 4 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoon Sumac

Tahini Yogurt Sauce:

  • ¼ cup Tahini
  • ¼ cup Plain yogurt
  • 2 cloves Garlic Minced
  • 2 tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Sumac
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil


  • ½ cup Pomegranate Arils
  • ¼ cup Walnuts Chopped
  • ¼ cup Parsley Chopped


  • Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • Cut the eggplant into halves lengthwise and place them on the baking sheet. Using a knife, cut diamonds into the eggplants, make sure you're not piercing the skin.

  • Drizzle the eggplants with olive oil and rub the minced garlic on them. Sprinkle salt and sumac on the eggplants.

  • Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the flesh is soft and cooked completely.

    Meanwhile, make the tahini yogurt sauce:

Tahini Yogurt Sauce:

  • Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Taste and add more salt if needed.

  • Once the eggplants are cooked, top them with tahini yogurt sauce, pomegranate arils, walnuts and parsley.



  • For this recipe you can use Chinese or Italian eggplants for this recipe.
  • If you have extra tahini yogurt sauce, store it in a jar and use it as a dip or salad dressing.
  • You can use whole milk, 2% or non-fat yogurt to make the sauce. It's also possible to use sour cream. You can also use non-dairy yogurt as long as it's plain and not flavored.


Calories: 255kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 5gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 497mgPotassium: 478mgFiber: 6gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 245IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 50mgIron: 1mg

Did you make this recipe? Let us know how it was by leaving a comment and a 5-star review!

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Reader Interactions


  1. Oriana Galt

    The Best Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe (15)
    Absolutely love this recipe! The tahini yogurt sauce is excellent and very versatile. The pomegranate, walnut and parsley toppings are 'must have' add-ons . They add wonderful texture and unexpected bursts of flavour. Also, everything is easy to prepare and make ahead. I served them with a side of freekeh, very simply prepared. Delicious!


  2. Michelle

    The Best Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe (16)
    This was amazing! So easy to make and everyone in our house asked when I'm gonna make it again! Thank you!


  3. Elizabeth

    The Best Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe (17)
    I am a big fan of cooking with garlic, so this recipe is definitely a winner. I'm looking forward to eggplant being in season so that I can give this recipe a try!


  4. Nikki

    The Best Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe (18)
    We are big fans of eggplant, and this fantastic flavor packed, version is going on my dinner plan right now!


  5. Beth

    The Best Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe (19)
    Eggplant is already one of my favorite vegetables, and I love all the tasty ingredients you've layered on top of them. I can't wait to make this.


  6. Ned

    The Best Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe (20)
    So fantastic! I hardly ever cook with eggplant, but this completely changed the game for me. Thank you!


  7. wilhelmina

    The Best Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe (21)
    This was such a great way to eat eggplant! I enjoyed it so much!


  8. Taryn

    The Best Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe (22)
    That tahini yogurt sauce is top notch. Such a great recipe. Thank you.


  9. Monica Jain

    Awesome recipie. Easy and delicious!


  10. Beth

    The Best Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe (23)
    This recipe is amazing and turned out fantastic! Such a huge hit and very flavorful! Making this again very soon!


  11. Anjali

    The Best Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe (24)
    I'm not usually a fan of eggplant because too often it turns out to be squishy - but your recipe has made me an eggplant fan! These had great texture and flavor and my whole family enjoyed them!


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The Best Middle Eastern Eggplant Recipe (2024)


What is the best preparation for eggplant? ›

Here's how to prepare eggplant for cooking: Cut off the top and blossom ends, then cut the eggplant into ½-inch slices or ¾-inch cubes, unless your recipe states otherwise. A 1-pound eggplant equals 5 cups cubed. Some chefs recommend salting eggplants before using.

What is the name of a Middle Eastern dip made from roasted eggplants? ›

Classic baba ganoush is made by roasting eggplants until soft, scooping out the insides, and mashing with tahini, garlic, and spices. Served with pita or cracker, this eggplant dip is a great snack or party appetizer.

What is the secret to tender eggplant? ›

The other trick for perfect roasted eggplant? Cooking it at a high temperature (425 F / 218 C) for enough time (25-30 minutes) to give it a browned exterior and tender interior.

Should you soak eggplant in milk or salt water? ›

Soak eggplant slices or cubes in milk for about 30 minutes before cooking. The milk not only tempers the bitterness, but it actually makes for eggplant that is extra creamy, since the vegetable acts like a sponge and soaks up a good amount of milk in its flesh.

Do you rinse salt off eggplant before cooking? ›

Conventional wisdom has you salt the slices to draw bitter liquid out of the eggplant. Once the slices have sat for about a hour, you're suppose to rinse them under cool water to remove any excess salt and then proceed with your recipe.

What makes eggplant taste good? ›

The oil still left in the eggplant tissues contributes to the soft, buttery texture that's so appealing. Oil also carries the essence of added herbs and spices, so that eggplant dishes can become rich with the aromas and heady flavors of onions, peppers, anchovies, parsley, garlic, and lemon juice.

Why do you soak eggplant in vinegar? ›

Why do you soak eggplant in water and vinegar? Soaking eggplant in water and vinegar helps remove some of the vegetable's natural bitterness. This step also helps preserve some of the skin's color so it stays a vibrant purple even after cooking.

Why is baba ganoush so good? ›

Rich, smoky flavor: The unique, smoky taste of Baba Ghanoush comes from roasting the eggplant, which gives it a deep, earthy flavor that people can't get enough of. Creamy texture: Baba Ghanoush has a smooth and velvety texture, making it a perfect dip for pita chips, vegetables, or as a spread in sandwiches and wraps.

Why is baba ganoush bitter? ›

The way you prepare baba ganoush, in fact, solves all three things I hate about eggplant. The bitterness: apparently, much of the bitterness is in the moisture of the eggplant, which is why some people swear by salting it beforehand, which draws out liquid.

What's the difference between Moutabel and baba ganoush? ›

The principle difference is the tahini – the sesame purée, but there are others. In Moutabbal, tahini is mixed with the smoked aubergine to create a paste-like dip served with warmed or crispy bread. In Baba Ghanoush, no tahini is used and the smoked aubergine is mixed with onions, tomatoes and other vegetables.

How do you roast eggplant so it's not bitter? ›

Cut off the stem and nearby areas before cooking. The stem and area near the stem tend to be where bitter compounds collect. Slice or chop the eggplant and sprinkle the pieces with salt. Allow them to sit for about 30 minutes, then pat dry before cooking.

Does eggplant need to be soaked before frying? ›

Typically eggplant behaves like a sponge, soaking up heroic amounts of oil when fried. The Terzo Piano chefs use this trick to prevent heavy aubergines: Before frying, soak the strips of eggplant in an ice water bath. They will absorb water and drop in temperature.

How long should you soak eggplant? ›

Cut off and discard the stem of the eggplants, then slice them into 1-inch thick slices, lengthwise. Put the slices in the salt water, and weigh them down with a plate so they are under the brine. Let soak for 30-60 minutes.

When should I soak my eggplant? ›

Brining adds flavor and texture to eggplants. "Mix spices and salt with water, then soak sliced eggplant in the brine for 30 minutes before cooking.


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