Aubergine with yoghurt, pomegranate, dates and pine nuts

Silky roasted aubergines, sticky sweet dates, crunchy pomegranate seeds, creamy yoghurt and toasted nuts come together in this simple side dish. Try it as part of a spread with other salads, grains, flatbreads and dips, or as a side at your next BBQ.

Choose a yoghurt that is relatively thick or the sauce will be runny. The sauce benefits from being made ahead as the flavours develop if left to sit for a few hours or overnight. Let it come to room temperature before serving.

Aubergine with yoghurt sauce, pomegranate, dates and pine nuts 3

Aubergine with yoghurt, pomegranate, dates and pine nuts

SERVES

4-6, as a side

INGREDIENTS

For the sauce:

200g full fat, thick natural yoghurt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp tahini
1 small clove garlic, minced
½ tsp sumac
2 tsp runny honey
Juice of ¼ lemon
A generous pinch of salt

For the aubergines:

3 large aubergines
Approx. 80ml olive oil
2 tsp cumin
Salt & pepper, for seasoning
80g pomegranate seeds
6 large, sticky dates, pitted and chopped roughly (Medjool are best. If you only have small dates, soak them in hot water for 15 minutes to soften and use a few more)
3 handfuls of pine nuts, toasted
3 sprigs mint or basil, leaves only

METHOD

Mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce. Taste for salt. The sauce benefits from being made ahead as the flavours develop if left to sit for a few hours or overnight in the fridge. Let the sauce come to room temperature before serving.

Pre-heat the oven to 190oC (fan oven).

Slice the aubergines in half lengthways, keeping the stalks intact. Score the flesh of the aubergines into a diamond pattern with a sharp knife, being careful not to cut too deep through the skin.

Place the aubergines, cut side up, onto a baking tray then drizzle the olive oil over them. Sprinkle over the cumin and season well with salt and pepper. Put the aubergines in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until golden and completely soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Serve the aubergines slightly warm or at room temperature with the sauce spooned over the top and sprinkled with the pomegranate, dates, pine nuts and herbs.

This is a nice as part of a mezze with other salads or as a side to roast or barbecued chicken or lamb. If you are eating this as a light, vegetarian main course, serve two halves on top of a bed of herby bulgur wheat or couscous. Any leftover sauce is nice as a dressing for other roasted vegetables or grains.

Aubergine with yoghurt sauce, pomegranate, dates and pine nuts 4

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