Vegan Roasted Lemon Eggplant Slices with Tahini Sauce Recipe

What is this? Snowflakes in July? Yes, I know. But when you are getting ready for a picnic/firework excursion and at the last minute realize that plates would be really, really handy, you may find that the only paper plates you in fact own have snowflakes. We are not exactly holiday themed or even particularly well organized here at the House of Yum. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone.

I had spent half of the day in a feverish whirlwind making 3 batches of brownies, 1 batch of sorghum flax onion rolls, seared crimini mushrooms and roasted eggplant slices with a tahini sauce. So, we dined on delightfully refreshing snowflake plates, and didn’t even notice because everything tasted so good, and we had such nice company. Friends, food, and fireworks, that’s all you need to celebrate the 4th of July. Being a food blogger, I had to take a photograph of the food, snowflake plates and all.

I hope you don’t mind. The combination of rubbing lemon olive oil onto the eggplant and drizzling it with a tahini sauce spiked with lemon zest brought unexpected new life to an old favorite method of preparing eggplant. Even the alleged eggplant-haters had to admit it was addictive and tasty. And for eggplant lovers… well, lets just say, eggplant proved itself once as a fitting ingredient for ye old Book of Yum. We went home without a single eggplant slice left- and I’d baked two whole ones up just for the occasion. Alas for no leftovers, but hurrah for a very delicious picnic, with just the right amount of food.

This makes me want to make this recipe all over again. The tahini sauce is terrific on salad, as a dip for red pepper and/or carrots… and even on sauteed mushrooms, as we found out. Enjoy!

Roasted Lemon Eggplant Slices
2 medium-sized American Eggplant (or one, if very large)

Lemon olive oil
Bouquet Garni (sold at Penzeys) or your favorite green herb mix

Preheat oven to 425F. Get out a baking sheet. Wash, dry and slice eggplant into generous 1/4 inch slices.

Pour about 1/8 cup lemon olive oil into a small bowl and add herbs, salt, and pepper to taste. Baste eggplant slices on both sides with oil-herb mixture and place on baking sheet. When sheet is full, place in oven and roast for 20-30 minutes or until one side is golden brown. Turn slices and brown the other side for at least 10 minutes until it is also browned and slices are soft and succulent. You may have to baby these a little- don’t let them burn! Remove any that cook faster than the others when they are done.

Some slices are less sturdy than others due to seed composition etc. If any fall apart- put them in a bowl and drizzle with tahini sauce for a chef’s snack or serve to family members to tempt their appetite.
Roasted Vegetable Tahini Sauce
Equal amounts pure tahini and water
1 tsp. agave nectar (or honey)
lemon zest, to taste (I used a meyer lemon but anything will work)
fresh squeezed lemon juice, to taste
generous sprinkle of salt
Blend tahini and water in a mini food processor. Add agave, lemon juice and salt and blend again. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add your lemon zest, stir, and serve.

Wonderful on roasted eggplant slices!

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15 Responses to “Vegan Roasted Lemon Eggplant Slices with Tahini Sauce Recipe”

  1. Do you salt your eggplant before baking? I made some eggplant a couple of weeks ago and it came out really tough. I was told by others that I needed to extract the water before baking in order to make it soft. I love eggplant when I eat it out but I have tried to make it 3 times now and it always comes out tough.

  2. Michelle,
    Good question! Salting is usually recommended to get rid of any bitter flavor, something that can be a problem with old eggplants or female eggplants.

    “Male eggplants tend to have fewer seeds, and are therefore less bitter than female eggplants. To sex an eggplant, look at the indentation at bottom. If it’s deep and shaped like a dash, it’s a female. If it’s shallow and round, it’s a male. Smaller eggplants also tend to be less bitter.”


    However, with this roasting method it doesn’t seem necessary with the American eggplants. I’ve never had them turn out anything but tender and flavorful.

    I don’t think the toughness is connected to not salting the eggplant, but rather cooking method. I’d want to hear more about your recipe to have a really informed opinion, though.

    If I had to salt my eggplant for 30 min prior to preparation, I’d never make the stuff! lol. But I’m lazy like that. ;)

    Hope this helps,

  3. Haha, I LOVE the snowflake plates! Anything to trick our brains into thinking its really not as hot as it is :)

    I love roasted eggplant but have always shied away from using tahini sauce. I never thought to make it myself though, I think I would like it (just from looking at the ingredient list anyway :))

    ~Aubree Cherie

  4. I love the idea of using the lemon oil, it sounds so fresh and lovely. I’m going to try that this weekend, even though I don’t have any snowflake plates.

  5. I’ve only just started easing myself into the world of eggplant, having hated it as a child. I just blogged my tahini eggplant soup experiment, so I feel confidant giving this recipe a go! Hurrah!

    P.S. It’s winter here in Australia, so I say the snowflake paltes are very appropriate! :)

  6. This was completely delicious, and it may be the case that I sometimes fall into the category of eggplant hater, and nearly always fall into the category of too-lazy-to-deal-with-it eggplant ignorer.

    My tahini is not as fabulous as your tahini, maybe my tahini base was more bitter to start with as we’re now at the bottom of the can? It was much more earthy. Hm.

  7. Hey JM,
    Fancy seeing you here! :D

    The DH was the other eggplant hater at the party. When I first met him eggplant was right up there with spinach in his book. I have been gradually winning him over with sneaky wife prep methods and flavors (sesame oil, vinaigrettes etc) and I don’t think he’d say he hates the poor defenseless veggie any more.

    Hmmm… tahini. Well, first off- I too was scraping the bottom of the barrel of my tahini can. I used the kind pictured under shopping list (love that widget, so handy). Since you said can… i bet you used the same kind! Earthy flavor makes me suspect you used honey and not agave? I used agave. Lately I’ve been in a snit with honey because it seems to give a lot of flavor to recipes that aren’t always desirable. But, some people don’t like agave, feel it is too processed etc. and so I like to give options. Anyways, I would try it maybe with more water, maybe with more agave… Hope this helps!

    -”Sea” – wink wink

  8. Valerie (m.) Says:

    This looks fantastic!!! You are making me hungry!!!

    I read the part about eggplant genders out loud to my partner, and that sparked a conversation about whether it’s possible for a fruit to have a gender, because all fruits grow from the ovule of a flower, so we can’t figure how male and female eggplants could be different from each other. Interesting question….

  9. Valerie (m.) Says:

    By the way, I am curious what brand of tahini you use. I’ve had lots of problems with bitter tahini from jars, and I’m leery of cans because the contents get contaminated with BPA from the can liners. So I’m on a quest for a good non-bitter brand of tahini — though preferably in a jar.

  10. What beautiful picnic food! You can’t beat tahini sauce on practically everything :)

  11. Ha! You are right, I used honey. And the same tahini. :) Now that I taste the honey alone, I may agree that that was a big part of the difference. Next time I’ll try dissolving some of my superfine baking sugar and use that instead, I’m way too cheap to buy agave when I’ve got the awesome sugar! (And I do love that sugar, so must find non-whipped cream ways to use it.)

  12. I don’t know why I seem to have such an aversion to eggplant. I just never seem to like it no matter how I make it! Yours looks so good though and I LOVE tahini!!

  13. Valerie-
    All the tahini I’ve ever had has a bitter note to it. I’ve tried arrowhead mills (i think that was the brand) in a jar. But, actually, I usually use the brand pictured above in the shopping widget in a can. It is reasonably priced and tastes good (although it still is bitter). Adding sweetener and an acidic note to balance it out helps. I think it is just the nature of the seed. You can also grind your own, which I have been known to do. This nicely evades the BPA issue.

    Hope this helps!

  14. [...] gluten-free birthday menu included: Pickled asparagus Grilled asparagus and mushrooms Roasted lemon eggplant slices with tahini sauce gluten-free vegan onion rolls non-veg barbecue Indian Veg Rajma Chili Rice Vegan Meyer Lemon [...]

  15. Valerie (m.) Says:

    I finally found a tahini that I am happy with! At Nuts Online, there is this tahini:
    – it is organic and gluten-free, and comes in a glass jar not a can. But best of all, it lacks the rancid taste that most tahini has. Yum! I just wish it wasn’t so expensive.

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