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Aubergine-Walnut Middle Eastern Bowl

The oh-so-flexible middle eastern bowl is everything — it’s sweet, it’s chewy, it’s fragrant and always new and exciting.

The oh-so-flexible middle eastern bowl is everything — it’s sweet, it’s chewy, it’s fragrant and always new and exciting. The best part — it comes together in 30 minutes flat.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup bulgur*
  • 1 large or 2 small aubergines, cubed.
  • 1 cup walnuts, crumbled
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dried fruit of your choice: cranberry, apricot, raisins*
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth (substitute for water if needed)
  • 1 tbsp bulgur, shakshuka, or middle eastern spice mix*
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • (optional) 1 tsp sumac
  • (optional) 1/2 tsp fenugreek
  • (optional) pomegranate molasses, for serving
  • (optional) leftover beans or steamed veg, like zucchini, bell peppers, sweet potato, etc. I added leftover baked grapefruit.
  • (optional) cilantro, for serving
  • Salt and pepper

Method*

Preheat the oven to 180°.

Place the sliced onion with 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp sumac and a pinch of salt in a container with a tight-fitted lid (a jar or a Tupperware container). Shake to mix and put in a fridge.

Rinse the bulgur and place it in a pot with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Cover and bring to boil. Turn off the heat (but keep the pot on) and let stand until bulgur has absorbed all the liquid. When it does, add the spice mix and 1 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Mix and let stand while the rest is cooking.

While the bulgur is steaming, cube the aubergines. Place in a bowl. Mix 1 tbsp olive oil with a liberal pinch of salt and pepper. Pour over your hands. Massage the aubergines (without squishing!), so they are nice and oily throughout.

Place aubergines in the oven on a tray on a baking sheet—Cook for about 20 minutes.

Place the diced onion into a pan with 1 tbsp of oil. Cook on medium until somewhat translucent. Add walnuts and cranberries and 1/2 cup vegetable broth. Heat until the liquid evaporates and the fruit is soft—salt and pepper to taste. If used, add fenugreek, 1 clove of garlic, some cilantro, and 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses. Mix well.

Put everything together — 1/2 cup bulgur, 1/2 cup walnut salsa, 1/2 cup aubergines, top with pickled onions and Voila!

Goes great with a simple fresh salad, such as Greek, cucumber or arugula-tomato, tzatziki, grilled halloumi cheese or pita chips. It’s a bowl. It’s meant to be mixed. Have fun!

Notes

  • Substitute with couscous or brown rice instead
  • For the dried fruit, I prefer something fruity, sweet and sour, such as cranberries or apricots. But I think figs would work too. Experiment to find your own.
  • If you don’t have a pre-mixed spice mix, substitute 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp sweet or smoked paprika, and 1 tsp cumin.
  • The observant will notice that this recipe is basically oven-baked vegetables, walnut-cranberry salsa, quick-pickled onions, and basic bulgur. Yes, yes, it is.

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