Whole Roasted Eggplant with Tahini sauce

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I first had whole roasted eggplant when my husband, stepson and I were in Israel.  It was a truly amazing trip and the quality and freshness of the food really made a big impression on me.  After I tasted eggplant cooked this way I decided I had to make my own (similar) version because I couldn’t live without it in my life!  Roasting the eggplant in its skin creates a silky texture, echoed in the smooth tahini sauce and the tomatoes, lemon juice and cumin add a fresh bite and citrus note that bring it all together.

First I put the eggplant over foil on a baking tray and pierce it all over with a sharp knife.  Then I pour olive oil over it, and season it with salt, pepper, and ground garlic.  I rub the eggplant around in the mix and seal the foil into a packet and roast it in the oven for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the eggplant.

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While it’s cooking I make the sauce.  I whisk together equal parts tahini, light mayonnaise and lowfat greek yogurt with fresh garlic, a little toasted cumin and the juice of a fresh lemon, plus salt and pepper.  It will be pretty thick so whisk hot water into it a tablespoon at a time until the texture is smooth and about the consistency of thickened cream.

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While the eggplant is cooking in the oven I turn it a couple of times so that it cooks evenly and doesn’t flatten out.  Open the foil (carefully, lots of steam!), split in half and season lightly with some salt and pepper.  Spoon sauce over the eggplant, add chopped tomatoes, minced fresh Italian parsley, a sprinkle of toasted cumin and a quick squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

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Whole Roasted Eggplant with Tahini Sauce

2 small Japanese eggplants (easy to double or triple this recipe)

1/4 cup Tahini

1/4 cup light Mayo

1/4 cup lowfat Greek yogurt

1/2 cup diced tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

1-3 cloves garlic, minced

Juice of one lemon

1/4 cup of hot water (use one TBS at a time)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons toasted cumin

1-2 teaspoons granulated garlic

salt and pepper

Score the eggplants with a sharp knife and place on foil on a baking tray.  Season with olive oil, salt, pepper, and ground garlic, and fold the foil into a sealed packet.  Roast in a 425 F oven for about an hour, turning twice at intervals.

For the sauce:  In a bowl whisk together the tahini, mayo, yogurt, 1/2 of the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of cumin, the fresh garlic and salt and pepper.  Slowly add hot water, whisking the whole time, until the sauce is creamy and thick but you can pour it from a spoon.

When the eggplants are done slice them in half and lightly season the flesh with salt and pepper.  Pour sauce over top, add chopped tomatoes, parsley, a sprinkle of cumin and a squeeze of lemon juice.  This dish can be a beautiful side dish or a main vegetarian dish.

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