Middle Eastern Pomegranate & Eggplant Melange

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Middle Eastern Pomegranate & Eggplant Melange

This is a guest post by Betsy DiJulio, author of The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes.

“Middle Eastern Pomegranate & Eggplant Melange”

This versatile Middle Eastern-inspired mash-up is equally addicting as a creamy dip, stuffed in a pita or baked pepper, or piled atop a grilled flatbread.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion (or 1/2 of a medium), diced
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 medium eggplant, stemmed and diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine (a Merlot is nice)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Optional: 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses or tamarind syrup (available at Middle Eastern/Mediterranean markets)
4 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
1/4 cup Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
Optional: 1 tablespoon tahini (sesame paste; available on the international aisle of grocery stores)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon mild curry powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Zest of 1 large lemon

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high. Add onion and a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring frequently, until onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Add eggplant, garlic, and another pinch of salt plus a pinch of pepper, and sauté, still stirring frequently, until some color develops, about 3 minutes.

Add wine, balsamic vinegar, and optional molasses or syrup, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes or until eggplant is fairly soft. Mash firmly with a potato masher. Stir in tomatoes and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes. Mash the mixture again.

Add Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream, and optional tahini, and cook, stirring, until melted and completely combined. Stir in all remaining ingredients until heated through and flavors are well-combined. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve as a dip, stuffed in a pita or baked pepper, or piled atop a grilled flatbread. Garnish, if desired, with olives, fruit (fresh or dried), fresh herbs, nuts, etc.

Optional garnish: olives, fruit (fresh or dried), fresh herbs, nuts, etc.

Yields 6 servings.

Visit Betsy at www.TheBloomingPlatter.com.

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