Food The Bite:

Charred Eggplant with Za’atar and Yogurt-Tahini

Charred Eggplant with Za’atar and Yogurt-Tahini

Eggplant on the grill is a favorite in our household. Its firm skin protects its creamy interior but practically melts away in the heat of the fire. These veggies absorb just about anything they come in contact with, making them a great vehicle for a variety of favors. Here za’atar, a thyme- and sesame-based Middle Eastern spice blend, lends the vegetable both tangy and aromatic notes. The yogurt-tahini sauce, meanwhile, provides deeply nutty and cooling accents. Finally, sumac, a lemony herb that’s also a mainstay of Middle Eastern cuisine, brightens the dish with a hit of acid. And if you feel like switching things up—or have a glut of squash in your garden—this recipe can also be prepared with zucchini in place of eggplant.


Photo by Johnny Miller

Charred Eggplant with Za'atar and Yogurt-Tahini

Athena Calderone, Cook Beautiful


For the Eggplant:

3 Italian eggplants (about 1 ¾ pounds/800 g total), quartered lengthwise
⅓ cup (75 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon za’atar, plus more for sprinkling
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Yogurt-Tahini Sauce, for serving
1 handful torn fresh herbs such as parsley, mint, and dill, for serving
Ground sumac, for garnish
Warm flatbread, for serving

For the Yogurt-Tahini:

¾ cup (180 ml) plain full-fat Greek yogurt
½ cup (120 ml) tahini
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt


For the Eggplant:

Preheat the grill over medium-high heat to about 400ºF (205ºC).
Drizzle the oil evenly over the eggplant and toss to coat. Sprinkle it with za’atar and season with salt and pepper. Rub the seasonings into the eggplant, being careful to coat the pieces evenly.
Grill the eggplant on each cut side for 5 to 7 minutes. Turn it skin-side down and grill for 2 minutes more, or until the eggplant has nice grill marks and is tender throughout.
Transfer the eggplant to a platter and drizzle it with the lemon juice, zest, and some of the tahini sauce. Scatter with the fresh herbs and sprinkle with sumac and more za’atar. Serve with warm flatbread and extra tahini sauce on the side

For the Yogurt-Tahini:

In a medium bowl, whisk together ⅓ cup (75 ml) water, the yogurt, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and oil until smooth. Season with salt. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Share this Swoon   –  


Subscribe to our newsletter

Get exclusive access to recipes, promotions, videos, and original content.
We'll never share your information.