Fall seems like it’s just around the corner but summer isn’t over yet! We still are looking for any reason to be outside! Why not make grilling that reason? Our friend, Hanan from @Ohmygoodiescc shared a version of her mom’s traditional Eggplant Fatteh recipe with us – with her own healthy, twist! This light & flavorful dish is the perfect meal to grill on those warm summer nights!
FUN IN THE SUN –
Summer always seems to pass by so quickly! Our family is taking full advantage of these long, warm days because we know fall is just around the corner! There are still so many things on our summer bucket list & that means that quick meals are a must. Outdoor cooking has been my holy grail all summer long. By grilling, not only do I get to spend time outside, but I cut down on clean up time afterwards. Taking advantage of the great weather, I love to use my barbecue to make my mom’s traditional meals, but often with a twist to make them my own. Though many people enjoy grilling year-round, using the barbeque in the winter is just not the same for me. So even with my busy life, I will find any excuse to make a quick meal in the sunshine!
In the summer, plant-based meals are the way to go for me; you don’t want to be weighed down by a heavy meal when you’ve got so much to do! If you take a peek under the hood of my grill, you’ll find it loaded with all sorts of veggies; it’s one of my favo
rite ways to prepare them. By grilling, instead of cooking on a stovetop, you can imbue almost any recipe with smokiness that you can’t otherwise produce. An added benefit is that you don’t have to turn on the oven when it’s hot out. This makes me rethink some of my mom’s delicious Middle Eastern dishes & make them into summer-style meals that still hold their own! One of my favorite meals to cook on the grill is a dish called Eggplant Fatteh. It’s normally made by deep frying eggplant & layering it with yogurt, tahini, pita chips, and chickpeas, but I like to enjoy it in a slightly different way.
BURSTING WITH FLAVOR –
As good as deep fried eggplant sounds, I opt for a healthier alternative by grilling the eggplant, making it a much lighter option. For this recipe, which I call Grilled Eggplant and Tomato Salad, I used Cloud 9® Bite-Sized Fruity Tomatoes, and let me tell you, they stand true to their name. They’re fruity, sweet, and have the perfect amount of acidity which really balances the strong flavors of this salad. Trust me when I tell you, this dish is definitely one you’ll want to try. It’s quite literally bursting with freshness & flavor! Typically topped with toasted pine nuts & fried pita chips, I substituted toasted pita chips and toasted sliced almonds, which taste even better. The crunch is next level!
You can use any eggplant you want, but I used Baby Eggplant as I find they are less bitter and don’t need as much prep as the larger variety. Plus, I love keeping the skin on, which is something that is difficult to do when they are more mature. I slice the eggplant into roughly 2-inch circles & sprinkle them with a little bit of salt. Then I let them sit for about 10 minutes and pat them dry with a paper towel. This will remove some of their water. It also help them absorb the flavors of the extra virgin olive oil that I brush them with before I place them on the grill. I like the sliced eggplant to be a little more al dente, so I grill them for 5 minutes on each side. If you prefer them to be a little more tender, add an additional minute or two to the grill time. That’s the great part about this recipe—you can alter it to your own liking!
GET READY, IT’S TIME TO ASSEMBLE –
Once the eggplant is ready, start by laying your eggplant on the bottom of your serving dish, and add your halved Cloud 9® Bite-Sized Fruity Tomatoes, followed by the chickpeas, sautéed red onions, pomegranate arils, toasted almonds, pita chips, fresh parsley, finish with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses, and tahini dressing.
For the tahini dressing, I elevated my mom’s tahini sauce that I normally use for falafel. I love using my mom’s old-school recipes in new ways. It’s made by blending tahini with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, water, pomegranate molasses, fresh parsley, plain yogurt, and a little bit of salt. How fresh does that sound?! It is such a simple but delicious dressing that keeps for about 2 weeks in the fridge & can easily be used on any sort of salad.
GRILL ALL YEAR THROUGH –
One of the best things about grilling with fresh, greenhouse grown vegetables is that I can create delicious masterpieces in any season – even though I love grilling outside in the summer sun the most! So, since it feels like summer is zooming by, why not take advantage of these last weeks & get outside and cook some delicious meals for family and friends? Take some of your favorite traditional recipes and find a way to add your own twist to them. This isn’t the first time I have used my mom’s traditional recipes in a new way, and it most definitely won’t be the last. I’m sure this quick & easy twist on my mom’s traditional Eggplant Fatteh will be a hit at your house too. Give it a try! I promise you won’t be disappointed.