Main Dishes Vegetarian + Vegan

Eggplant in garlic yogurt (vegetarian)


Perhaps it’s part of the pre-baby nesting, but ever since becoming pregnant, I’ve had an insatiable appetite for family stories. I’ve revisited the recordings that my maternal grandmother Jean sent from Tehran to her parents in Hawaii in the early ’60s. I’ve inhaled the archived articles that our dear friend François shares as part of a family tree gift he’s been working on for us.

Recipes, naturally, have played a large role in this quest for family connection. So, when my mom emailed me this eggplant dish – one that Teta, my paternal grandmother, used to make often – I knew I had to make it as soon as possible.

Middle Eastern grilled eggplant with garlic yogurt | Wandering Spice

It’s a simple dish of broiled eggplant topped with garlic yogurt, fried pine nuts and chopped parsley. It is healthy, simple and satisfying, and can be made without much of a recipe at all. Scaling is easy as well, considering each person will have roughly one small to medium-sized eggplant. Most importantly, it feels good to eat, especially tucked into a warm fold of Arabic bread, as my Teta did.


A tip for choosing the best eggplant: look for small to medium sized eggplants with firm, slick, dark skin free from blemishes. Larger eggplants tend to have more seeds and can be more bitter.

Eggplant in garlic yogurt (vegetarian)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 2


  • 2 medium-sized eggplants (firm, with dark, smooth skin)
  • 1 heaped cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, rinsed and chopped
  • Olive oil, for brushing and frying pine nuts
  • Salt
  • Sweet paprika and allspice, for garnish


Slice the eggplant into 1/2" rounds. Sprinkle both sides of each slice with salt and place on a baking sheet or in a colander for 30 minutes. Pat gently with paper towels to remove the bitter liquid.

Preheat oven to 200C / 375F on the broil setting (heat coming from the top).

Place the slices on a baking sheet and brush both sides generously with olive oil. Broil for 4-5 minutes on the first side, until browned, then flip and broil another 2-3 minutes. Keep an eye on them - don't walk away! They can burn quickly and you may need to adjust your oven. Arrange the cooked eggplant slices on a serving dish.

Mix the yogurt with 1/4tsp of garlic powder and salt to taste, adding more salt and garlic to your liking. Heat the yogurt on the stove (or microwave) until warm, or let it sit to reach room temperature on its own.

Over low heat, fry the pine nuts in 1-2 tbsp olive oil until golden brown. Keep an eye on these too, as they burn quickly. It'll only take 2-3 minutes.

Spoon the yogurt over the eggplant. Top with the chopped parsley, fried pine nuts (and oil), and a sprinkle of paprika and allspice for a bit of color.

Serve with salad, rice, or warm Arabic bread pockets.


This recipe is easily scalable. Assume 1 medium eggplant and half cup of garlic yogurt per person.

A tip for choosing the best eggplant: look for small to medium sized eggplants with firm, slick, dark skin free from blemishes. Larger eggplants tend to have more seeds and can be more bitter.

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  • Reply OurTunisianTable 03/01/2017 at 1:58 pm

    Looks delicious!

  • Reply viveka 25/11/2016 at 7:56 pm

    Hello Yasmeen. I just found your blog ,this simple tasty, eggplants which just love to soak up fats

  • Reply Anne Therese 07/10/2016 at 12:38 am

    Hello Yasmeen. I just found your blog, and I’m so happy I did. I cook a lot myself, and I am frequently reminded of the (personal) history of certain dishes – sometimes they are tied to family memories, and sometimes they are tied to one’s own progression through life. Food is there all the time, and it’s provides a special way to remember your past with your senses, I think. I look forward to reading more of your food and family stories.

  • Reply David 23/09/2016 at 12:56 am

    So simple and tasty! And no added oil to the eggplants which just love to soak up fats!

  • Reply Noor 22/09/2016 at 6:40 am

    What a beautiful story, those recipes are my favorite kinds, but I’m sure you’ve seen that about me too 🙂 I’ve been trying to dig into my family tree for Talal, since he’s so mixed up and have no idea where to start, I’m on, but so much is mixed up. This recipe looks so good btw 🙂 What camera do you use? I feel like no matter what I do, all my images look blurry lately.

    • Reply Yasmeen 22/09/2016 at 10:10 am

      Hey Noor! Thank you. I agree, family recipes are the best, especially recipes from our grandparents. Talal is lucky that you’re looking into your family history for him… it’ll be a lot of fun to uncover things together. (PS when we were having a hard time finding archived docs for the Palestinian side, my mom remembered that the local mosques are usually the record keepers, so that might be a good place to look as well).

      I have switched from a DSLR to a mirrorless camera… much lighter and more fun for me to travel with. I find that the more edited my photos are, the blurrier they get when uploaded to WP so now I barely edit them and make an effort to shoot next to my kitchen window when there is good natural light. Less work, too 🙂

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