SUMAC AND ZA'ATAR BAKED EGGPLANT with mint lime coconut yogurt sauce | recipe

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Ever since my Dad came home one day with za'atar bread from an Armenian bakery, I've been pretty obsessed with the spice. It's difficult to explain the flavor to someone who hasn't tried it, it's both aromatic and tangy, kinda herby, a little musty almost. It seems the blend can vary based on region. Typically za'atar consists of sumac, toasted sesame seeds and green herbs which, here in the states, are often thyme, oregano and/or marjoram. It's a fantastic herb, and I'm incorporating it into my cooking more and more, as well as attempting to learn traditional applications that I can veganize. Stay tuned. 

This recipe, while herby and flavorsome, is all about simplicity. It's summer, it's hot and I want something light and cooling. I can't always eat smoothies and salads, I really am a warm-food-loving girl, but the mint and tang of the cool coconut yogurt have a chilling effect.

I eat this as a side dish, spooning out the juicy flesh right at the table to accompany some rice and lentils or a tabouli salad and pita bread. Or, I just eat it all on it's own like this, one whole eggplant to myself xx

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1 eggplant

3 cloves garlic

1 tsp sumac

1 tsp za'atar

4 tbs olive oil

tbs mint leaves, finely chopped

1 lime, juice and zest

1/2 cup coconut yogurt (I like this brand but you can also make your own)

parsley and radish rounds for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Slice the eggplant lengthwise, scoring each side in a lattice pattern makinyogurtg sure not to pierce the skin on the other side.
  2. Mix olive oil, garlic, sumac and za'atar. Spoon the mixture over each side of the eggplant, pulling the sides open to let oil get into the lattice incisions.
  3. Bake (or broil) covered with foil for 40 minutes, then uncovered for 10 minutes.
  4. In the meantime mix your yogurt, lime juice, lime zest and mint leaves.
  5. Allow the eggplant to cool, then assemble with whatever garnishes strike your fancy.

Servings: 2 Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 50 minutes