This eggplant dish is a perfect, extremely savory, veggie side that tastes healthy and satisfies cravings.
This eggplant dish has everything you’d want in a recipe. Caramelization. Freshness. Creaminess. Acid. Crunch. A nice pop of green color. Also – it’s pretty damn easy and there aren’t too many ingredients. Win. Win.
I’ve been eating pan-fried eggplant since I was little. My grandma always made them when she came over to our house and they were always devoured that day. Often we would grab them with our hands off the grease-soaked, paper towel-lined plate, and eat them standing next to the stove in the kitchen.
Pan-fried eggplant are very versatile – you can eat them plain, in a pita pocket (which we often did), chop ’em up and put them in pasta, or drizzle them with tahini as I do here.
In this dish I pan fry the eggplant in a decent amount of oil until really nice and golden and cooked through, to the point where they melt in your mouth. I drizzle them with tahini sauce, toasted pine nuts, and fresh herbs. You can use an assortment of herbs or only one type. I recommend, dill, mint, or parsley.
What Should You Serve This With?
Almost anything, honestly! A basic grilled steak, chicken, or fish would be amazing. But I can recommend some excellent pairings – This eggplant dish would be wonderful with The Best Spiced Chicken Skewers or Wild Rice Salmon Bowls.
- Eggplant – I used a very large eggplant here, which made 4 servings. If you can only find small eggplants, buy and use two.
- Pine Nuts – Pine nuts are my absolute favorite and personally, I think work best with this dish. However, if you can’t get them, slivered almonds would be a good substitute. You can also sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs for some crunch, if allergic to nuts.
- Tahini – The paste falls to the bottom of the jar and a thinner liquid stays on top. Make sure to shake the jar well or mix it up before making the tahini sauce. You want that thicker paste at the bottom and if you only use the thin liquid on top, you may need to adjust the recipe and add more tahini.
Eggplant with Tahini, Pine Nuts and Fresh Herbs
- 1 Sheet Pan
- 1 Large Pan
- Paper Towels
- 1 Medium Bowl
For the Eggplant:
For the Eggplant:
- Spread a thin layer of Kosher salt onto a large sheet pan. Place as many eggplant slices as you can fit on top of the salt in a single layer and sprinkle them with a thin layer of Kosher salt. Layer with any remaining eggplant and sprinkle those pieces with Kosher salt. Let sit for 30 minutes.
- While the eggplant sits, toast pine nuts. Heat a large dry pan over medium heat. Add pine nuts and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer to a small bowl or plate and set aside.
- After 30 minutes, lightly rinse the salt off each slice of eggplant under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
- Heat a large drizzle of avocado oil in the same pan used for the pine nuts over medium-high heat, making sure to completely coat the bottom of the pan. Add eggplant in a single layer (you’ll need to work in batches or can use two pans simultaneously) and cook until golden brown on each side; 3-4 minutes on the first side, 2-3 minutes on the second side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Shingle eggplant on a serving platter. Drizzle with tahini sauce, to taste, and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and as many fresh herbs as you'd like. Serve warm or at room temperature.
For the Tahini Sauce:
- Place the tahini paste, lemon juice, water, and honey into a medium-sized mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add olive oil in a slow steady stream while whisking, until combined. If the mixture is too thick or pasty, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until mixture reaches desired consistency. If the mixture is too thin, add a bit more tahini paste (consistency will depend on the brand of tahini used and how thin or thick it is). Season with Kosher salt, to taste.