This Roasted Eggplant with Tahini Sauce is made with za'atar spice and served with lots of fresh herbs, chili flakes, and toasted pine nuts. It's so easy to make, yet restaurant worthy! You can serve it as a light main with a toasted baguette or as a vegan side with a choice of protein.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Roasted eggplant and tahini are an amazing match. The eggplant is crispy on the top but buttery soft on the inside and the creamy tahini sauce compliments that really well really.
- All the different textures and flavors really make this dish restaurant-worthy, while the simple prep keeps it approachable.
- So simple and easy - There are only about 10-15 minutes of active prep work and the rest is oven time (45 minutes). The eggplant cooks for a while so you'll have enough time to make any other dishes you're planning to make, tidy up the kitchen, or just relax (there's always something to do though, right?).
- You can serve it on its own, or as a side - I like serving it with slices of toasted baguette or bread that you can use to scoop out any of the delicious tahini sauce that gets left behind. It's the perfect lunch!
- Eggplant - Pick dark purple and firm eggplants with no visible scratches or marks. I usually go with small or medium ones and just use more of them. The bigger the eggplant, the more bitter it tends to be.
- Cooking oil - Quality pure avocado oil is what I recommend most often and that's the case in this recipe too. I also like using raw sesame oil in place of avocado oil here sometimes to give the eggplants a little more sesame flavor. Make sure it's extra virgin though. Toasted sesame oil has a very low smoke point and shouldn't be used for roasting.
- Za'atar - You can use store-bought or you can learn how to make za'atar at home in my blog post. If you've never made your own, definitely give it a try, it's super simple. Za'atar is made with toasted sesame seeds, oregano, thyme, marjoram, sumac, and flaky sea salt. There are many variations but this is the combo I enjoy the most.
- Tahini sauce - All you need is tahini paste, freshly squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, sea salt, and pepper. The tahini is the star of the show here so use a good quality one! I recommend roasted tahini sauce, not raw. It tends to be much creamier, has more flavor, and is less bitter.
- Raw pine nuts - These are optional but they add a nice layer of flavor and crunch. You'll just quickly toast them in a skillet and sprinkle them over the finished eggplant.
- Fresh herbs - Dill, mint, and/or flat-leaf parsley are all great options. I usually end up using a mix of all three. I like buying lots of different herbs at once, chopping them up, and storing them in the freezer. That way I always have some ready. The presentation won't be as pretty but they will be just as delicious as fresh.
Other recipes with Za'atar Spice
If you've never tried this spice blend, I highly recommend giving it a try! I highly recommend making your own Za'atar but you can also buy it at most grocery stores or online. Try this Bell Pepper and Zucchini Breakfast Skillet with Za'atar if you want a veggie-packed breakfast or this Smoky Za'atar Roasted Cauliflower with Yogurt Dip for another flavorful veggie side dish!
- First, start by making the tahini sauce. Simply add tahini, lemon zest, lemon juice, minced garlic, sea salt, and black pepper to a bowl and whisk together until combined.
- Taste and season with more salt, pepper, or lemon juice to taste. Cover and store in the fridge until ready to use.
- Preheat your oven to 400F (200C).
- Slice your eggplants in half lengthwise. Use a small knife or the tip of a bigger one (be careful) to make small incisions in a crosshatch pattern. Be careful not to cut through the skin, you only want to cut the eggplant's flesh so that the spices can get in and it's easier to eat. The sharper your knife is, the easier this is to do.
- Drizzle the eggplants evenly with avocado oil. Add more if needed, eggplants are very spongy and absorb liquid easily. You can also use avocado oil in a spray to do this more evenly but it's not necessary.
- Sprinkle on the za’atar spice and press it into all the little crevices you made earlier.
Add a splash of water to the bottom of the pan and roast the eggplants for 40-50 minutes. Add more water as needed. The water helps to steam the eggplant a little and to make sure they don't burn on the bottom. You can drizzle a little over the eggplants too if they look too dry.
The eggplants are ready when they’re very soft and brown on the edges.
Serving and Storing
Serve the eggplant with the tahini sauce you made earlier, chili flakes, toasted pine nuts, and fresh herbs like dill, parsley, and mint.
You can serve the eggplant as a light main with a toasted baguette or a side with a choice of protein. Lamb is most often served with an eggplant dish like this one but chicken, salmon, or tofu all work great.
Toasted pine nuts - It's a really easy task and you can do it while the eggplant is roasting. Add raw pine nuts to a skillet and set over high medium-high heat. Toast for 5-10 minutes tossing the pine nuts often to make sure they don't burn. The cooking time varies based on how many nuts you're toasting and the pan you use. They should be golden brown but not burnt. Pine nuts release their natural oils when you cook them so there's no need to add any oil to the pan.
You can make your own za'atar spice and just leave out the sesame seeds! Or simply sprinkle the herbs, sumac, and sea salt on the eggplants one by one.
A mix of zucchini, bell peppers, and red onion would work great. Cauliflower would also be delicious. Try these Za'atar Roasted Cauliflower Steaks if you prefer cauliflower. The cooking time will vary based on the vegetable you use.
More Eggplant Recipes
If you're looking for more eggplant recipes, definitely give the three below a try!
- Za'atar Roasted Eggplant Lentil Salad with Sundried Tomatoes (you could also leave out the eggplant and serve the salad with this recipe instead)
- Roasted Eggplant Dip (a personal favorite!)
- Spicy Garlic Miso Roasted Eggplant (miso and eggplant are soo good together)
Roasted Eggplant with Tahini Sauce
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 2-4 1x
- Category: Side
- Method: oven
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
- Diet: Vegan
This Roasted Eggplant with Tahini Sauce is made with za'atar spice and served with lots of fresh herbs, chili flakes, and toasted pine nuts. The eggplant is crispy on top and buttery soft on the inside. Serve as a light main or as a side.
- ⅓ cup tahini
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 lemon juiced (2-3 tbsp)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼-½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- ⅛-¼ cup water (start with ⅛ cup and add more to reach desired consistency)
- 2-3 globe eggplants
- 2 tbsp avocado oil or raw sesame oil (not toasted sesame oil)
- 2 tbsp za’atar spice
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- A handful of fresh herbs (mint, flat leaf parsley, and/or dill)
- 2-3 tablespoon toasted pine nuts (see notes)
- 1 tsp chili flakes
- Toasted baguette
Preheat your oven to 400F (200C) and prepare a large baking sheet.
- Add all ingredients except water into a medium bowl or a jar. Whisk together until well combined. Add water slowly until reached desired consistency. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Slice your eggplants in half lengthwise. Using a small knife or the tip of a bigger one, make small incisions in a crosshatch pattern, careful not to cut through the skin. The sharper your knife the easier this is to do.
- Drizzle the eggplants evenly with avocado oil. Add more if needed, eggplants are very spongy and absorb liquid easily.
- Sprinkle on the za’atar spice and press it into all the little crevices you made earlier.
- Add a splash of water to the bottom of the pan and roast 40-50 minutes. Add more water as needed. The water helps to steam the eggplant a little and to make sure it doesn’t burn. You can drizzle a little over the eggplants too if they look too dry.
- The eggplants are ready when they’re very soft and brown on the edges.
- Arrange the eggplants on a serving plate, and drizzle with tahini sauce and a little bit of olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, toasted pine nuts, and chili flakes. Serve with a toasted baguette or a choice of protein.
Toasted pine nuts: Add pine nuts to a large skillet and toast over medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes stirring often to make sure the pine nuts don't burn. They release oil when they get warmed up so there's no need to add any. They're ready when they're even golden brown.
Leftovers: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It's best to keep the eggplant separate from the tahini sauce so that you can warm up the eggplant first and drizzle after. You can eat the leftovers chilled or warm them up in the oven at 350F for 10 minutes.
Keywords: roasted eggplant, tahini sauce
What a great way to serve eggplant. Love the seasonings. Presentation perfect for entertaining too.
This is such a delicious way to serve eggplant and the tahini sauce is my favorite! Thanks for the recipe idea. :)
Amy Liu Dong
This recipe is giving me another way of cooking my eggplant.
It looks so delicious!
Journa Liz Ramirez
Wow! This recipe is a must-try. It's easy to make and so delicious. Highly recommended!
We really enjoyed the toasted seed and the thyme and oregano flavors in this recipe. A real winner for sure.
Delicious and simple go well together. Roasted eggplant with Tahini sauce is an excellent way to elevate our beloved eggplant. Well done!
Fabulous eggplant recipe - one of the best ones I have seen to date. Definitely a keeper for me!
I love roasted eggplant and the spices added make this so good! Delicious!
We made the eggplants exactly as described, very surprised at how simple and delicious it is. I wasn't t a fan of eggplant but now I'm converted!
My mum always enjoy this recipe! Such a great flavours, easy to prepare. This recipe is a keeper.