Roasted Eggplant & Tahini Pitas

Who else struggles to come up with vegetarian meal options? I know I do!  I try to plan at least one vegetarian meal a week when I sit down and do our monthly meal plan up. I know hubby dreads these days as I struggle to get past the Quiches, Quinoa Patties and Quinoa Fried Rice. He's a meat guy and I try to make vegetarian night a bit interesting, flavoursome and rib sticking good. I have to say though I think 9 times out of 10 I fall flat on my face. Until the day I made these middle eastern pitas! Winner.

Two thing inspired me to make these pitas. The first was the Jerusalem Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. I had just finished reading this book and was truly inspired by the middle eastern flavours and textures this books holds. Every recipe made me want to go and cook it. You must get yourself a copy if you haven't already read it (or get it out at your local library like I did). The second thing was finding this stunning purple Thai eggplants at our local markets. I picked them up having no idea what I was going to make with me but I knew I had to buy some because they just look so spectacular. While I was picking some out to buy a couple walked passed and asked what I was going to make with them. They were intrigued with the jewel like colour and size of them as well. I had a few ideas in my mind and told them I might makes such things as a Eggplant & Vegetable Curry, Baba Ganoush (eggplant style dip) or an Eggplant Parmigana. They were most impressed and the hubby wanted to buy some right there and then, however the wife seemed a bit more hesitant at the prospect of trying to find something to make with these eggplants and talked her husband out it. I should of sent them to this here site and my Eggplant & Vegetable Curry. 

Are there ingredients that you avoid to cook with because you're not quite sure what to do with? I know there are a few exotic things that still intrigue but frighten me.. take okra for example. I have never cooked with it and not sure what it tastes like. However I will one day buy some to experiment with. It's all about expanding your horizons, experiences new flavours and textures - some good, some not so good. However these Eggplant & Tahini Pitas are not just good they'll hopefully blow your stinkin taste bud socks off. Wow I've really set myself up here with these promises. Let us hope they deliver for you. These pita breads are all about a few simple fresh ingredients. Fresh is truly best. You get the peak flavour of each ingredient melding together to create a truly unique and wonderful thing. You need fresh lettuce, not wilted sad and sorry leaves! Fresh tomato that is red, vibrant and fragrant. Leave your tomatoes out to get to room temperature, they will have a lot more flavour that way. I try and keep my tomatoes in a bowl on the bench to continue to ripen and to develop more flavour. I hate winter time because most tomatoes are sad and pale looking with no fragrance or flavour in sight. Bring on tomato season I say.

In summer we always grow our own tomatoes. As I mentioned in my weekly wrap up last week we have planted up our vegetable patch for spring and summer just recently. We always love to grow a few different varieties of tomatoes to enjoy. I love growing heirloom tomatoes for the different colours, flavours and shapes each one brings. You cannot beat a freshly picked, vine ripened tomato. Heaven. Anyway let's steer this ship back to the Pitas at hand. I tossed these little jewel coloured eggplants into a lovely mix of spices to create the middle eastern flavour profile inspired from the Jerusaleum cookbook.  It may seem strange that I have added in toasted pine nuts to a middle eastern sandwich but they add a beautiful crunch and creaminess which blends perfectly with the tangy and garlicky Tahini dressing that is lavishly drizzled on top. It is all finished off with some freshly picked mint leaves. Perfection.

Roasted Eggplant & Tahini Pita

by The Whimsical Wife
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 25-30 min
Keywords: bake appetizer main sandwich dairy free sugar-free vegetarian vegan eggplant nuts Middle Eastern fall spring summer
Ingredients (Serves 2)
    Roasted Eggplant
    • 16 x small thai eggplants (or 1 x large eggplant)
    • 1 - 2 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 2 teaspoon cumin
    Tahini Sauce
    • 1/4 cup unhulled tahini
    • 1/4 cup water
    • juni of 1 lemon
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 2 x small pita bread
    • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
    • 2 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
    • 1 tomato, sliced
    • 2 cups lettuce
    Roasted Eggplant
    Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (fan bake). Line a large roasting tray with baking paper.
    In a small screw top jar mix the spices together and shake to combine.
    Cut the eggplants into quarters, leaving the skin on (or 1 inch cubes if using a large eggplant) and place into the roasting tray. Drizzle over the olive oil and toss to cover the pieces.
    Sprinkle over the spice mixture and a good crack of salt and pepper to evenly coat the eggplant pieces. You may not need to use it all.
    Place the roasting tray into the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the eggplant is golden brown and tender to touch. If it is still firm cook for a further 10 minutes.
    Remove the eggplant from the oven and let it cool slightly.
    Tahini Sauce
    In a medium size screw top jar, place the tahini, water, lemon juice and minced garlic. Place the lid on and shake vigorously to combine the ingredients. If any sauce is left oven it can be kept in the fridge for up to 10 days and can be used on salads and meats.
    Slightly warm the pita bread in the micrwave for 10 seconds. Layer the sliced tomato, lettuce and roasted eggplant on one half of the pita. Sprinkle over a tablespoon of pinenuts, half of the mint and a good drizzle of the tahini sauce.
    Repeat for the other pita. Fold in half and enjoy!
    *Eggplant can be substituted for roasted zucchini, capsicum or even sweet potato!
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    I just couldn't wait to finish the shoot to eat my lunch.......

    If you are a meat lover at heart and need a bit of beefy goodness in your life why not try my Perfect Meat Pie or my Homestyle Beef Burger with Golden Crunchy Chips!

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