I’ll admit it:
I’ve always been scared of eggplant.
With a reputation for bitterness and a required step of salting to ‘draw out the bitterness,’ globe eggplant didn’t really seem like anything I’d ever want to make. I never really enjoyed eating it, either: baba ghanoush makes my mouth feel weird. Eggplant parm? Just not into it.
Eggplant was never in my house. That is, until I discovered Japanese eggplant.
Japanese eggplant looks nothing like its globe cousin. Long and thin and purple, Japanese eggplant isn’t bitter at all, and doesn’t need salting. It roasts beautifully, and gets creamy, not slimy. It also doesn’t make my mouth feel funny, so, bonus!
There are a lot of recipes using miso on roasted Japanese eggplant, but I can’t stand using niche ingredients like miso. Some of you might find it hard to locate, and the last time I bought miso, I used a couple tablespoons. The rest of the container sat in my fridge for months, until I tossed it. No thanks.
Mediterranean flavors are my fave (along with Mexican), so I decided to do a really simple Japanese eggplant recipe incorporating tahini, lemon, and garlic on a simply roasted eggplant. My mom actually roasts Japanese eggplant with olive oil and salt. That’s it.
I wanted to give you something a bit more fancy than that, but still accessible. Hence, roasted Japanese eggplant with a tahini and lemon sauce. And it’s so delicious, my friend ate the entire recipe at once. She then had the nerve to tell me that the recipe had too much garlic. Ha ha!!
You can always use less garlic in this recipe (I give you the choice of 1 or 2 garlic cloves in the sauce), but I like my food with a punch!
Nutritionally, eggplant is a source of fibre. It’s a nightshade, which means that Tom Brady won’t eat them (read about his ridiculous TB12 diet here). That means more for us!
BTW – most of us can digest nightshades just fine, and suffer no ill effects from them. There’s a big anti-nightshade thing going on, but for the most part, it’s not relevant to the majority of people.
Garnish this eggplant recipe with zataar, parsley, pomegranate, or whatever else you love.
This Japanese eggplant recipe is like the eggplant gateway dish. Simple and delicious, it’s ready in minutes.
Appetizer, Side Dish
Japanese eggplants, trimmed and cut into thirds, then halved
cloves garlic, minced
Lemon Tahini Sauce
cloves garlic, finely minced
- Salt to taste
- Zaatar, pomegranate and parsley to garnish, if desired
Roast the eggplant
Lay eggplant pieces on a parchment-covered baking sheet
Mix olive oil and garlic, then brush generously on the cut side of the eggplant
Roast eggplant for 30-40 minutes, turning once, until the flesh is soft and creamy
Make the lemon tahini sauce
Combine all of the dressing ingredients except for the water
Adding around 1/4-1/3 cup water at a time, whisk the dressing until it reaches the consistency where it can be drizzled
Once eggplant is done, remove from oven and drizzle with tahini lemon sauce