Nothing quite like marrying age-old African and Middle Eastern ingredients in one salad recipe. These dukkah eggplant baked slices are so well complemented by the hearty Israeli couscous and succulent pomegranate arils. A wonderful combination!
Why You’ll Love Dukkah Eggplant Baked Slices Salad
Baked eggplants are simply glorious as the flesh transforms from a spongy texture to melt in your mouth softness. Incredible to think that they are even the same vegetable after it goes through a cooking process.
Baking the eggplant slices in dukkah is simply delicious. The complex flavours of the dukkah spice mix encased around the very earthy eggplant is such a great combination.
The eggplant is then served on a bed of Israeli couscous that has been stirred through with fresh pomegranate arils. The pops of tartness helps to cut through the bold flavours and offers some freshness to the salad.
The yoghurt dressing with the pomegranate molasses is just yum! The thick sweetness of the pomegranate molasses mixed through the acidic yoghurt works like a charm. Drizzle it over the salad, dip the baked eggplant slices or eat it by the spoonful. Whichever way you choose, it helps to tie all the elements together.
What is Dukkah Spice?
Dukkah, or correctly named duqqa, is an Egyptian spice mix or condiment made from toasted nuts, typically hazelnuts, seeds and spices.
Dukkah is predominantly used to dip with bread. However, it is now extremely popular to coat all sorts of produce, including lamb, fish, and vegetables.
The etymology of the word duqqa is Arabic, which means “to pound”. Most of the ingredients are dry roasted, and when placed together, they are pounded to create the condiment. They are not crushed to a powder form, nor is it ground into a paste. Dukkah is coarse and is roughly crushed.
Much like the markets in Cairo, you can find pre-mixed dukkah easily in supermarkets nowadays. Like most food we eat, it has evolved over time. The different varieties you’re able to procure are only limited to one’s imagination.
My favourite mix is the pistachio dukkah. The distinct aroma of the pistachio makes such a difference in the overall flavour profile of the spice mix.
Dukkah Spice Ideas
Dukkah can be made at home quite easily. This way, you’re able to create a spice mix that suits your palate. Make a little extra as they keep well and also make for great gifts. Wouldn’t that be a nice little send off for your guests after a dinner party?
Essentially you are dry toasting seeds for a few seconds. Then you’re doing the same for the nuts. Then add everything together in a blender with powdered spices, and you’re pulsing it to create the mix. Easy!
The primary genetic makeup of a dukkah spice should include one nut (as mentioned, hazelnut is the traditional nut used), cumin, sesame and coriander seeds, plus sea salt and cracked pepper.
Here are some different ingredients you can add or used to replace the above recipe:
Other Nuts: Pistachio, almonds, macadamia nuts, peanuts, walnuts, pine nuts, cashews.
Other Seeds: Pumpkin seeds, fennel seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, caraway seeds, hemp seeds.
Other Spices: Ground cinnamon, saffron, turmeric, ground ginger, sumac, paprika, chilli flakes, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes
Dried Herbs: Thyme, oregano,
Other additions: Roasted chickpeas, shredded coconut
We would love to hear what your favourite combinations are and what you’ve created from this list!
Flavour/Texture: This recipe has quite a few textures going on in every mouthful. The baked eggplant slices will be soft, while the dukkah will be crunchy. The Israeli couscous offers chewy touches while the dressing with be creamy. Combine them all, and you can imagine how they will all work together.
The flavours are bold with the aromatic spices from the dukkah blend, the earthy notes from the eggplant and the sweet and tart additions from the dressing and the fresh pomegranate.
Ease: This recipe is of medium difficulty with a couple of components to work through. It will be much easier if you buy the dukkah spice blend rather than making your own but coating the eggplant slices shouldn’t be too difficult. Everything else is just boiled and cut.
Time: This recipe will take 45 minutes, with 30 minutes taken up in the baking process. You can prepare the rest of the ingredients while that is roasting away in the oven.
Eggplant: Get the large globe eggplant for this recipe. Ensure that it’s nice and fresh with a bright green stem, smooth skin and feels heavy when in the palm of your hand.
Olive oil: As always, use a good quality olive oil.
Dukkah: Any dukkah spice mix will work for this recipe, so if you have a favourite blend, by all means, you can use it. The rest of the ingredients will work well with the many varieties of blends out there.
Israeli couscous: Love these chewy balls of goodness. Just to be boiled in water instead of broth for this recipe as there are already a lot of flavours going on. You don’t want the Israeli couscous to dominate the dish. It is only there as an accompaniment to the eggplant.
Pomegranate: Just a small pomegranate will do for this recipe. Any leftovers can be eaten as a snack or perhaps added to a fruit salad for lunch the next day.
Chives: Finely chop the chives to give the salad those onion and garlicky notes.
Yoghurt: Use an unsweetened yoghurt for this recipe. Good Greek yoghurt would be perfect. Full cream would also be best as you want it to be nice and creamy just as we did in our Creamy Garlic Dressing and Honey Garlic Yoghurt Dressing.
Pomegranate molasses: Nectar of the Gods in my book! Sticky and sweet, it makes everything taste better! You’ll be able to find this in the sauce section of your supermarket.
Salt and pepper: To taste
How to Make Eggplant Baked Slices
Preheat oven to 180°C or 350°F.
Cut the eggplant lengthwise into quarters. Using a basting brush, coat each slice with 1 tsp of olive oil each. On a plate, spread out the dukkah spice.
On a plate, spread out the pre-bought or homemade dukkah spice. Place the eggplant on the dukkah spice and coat evenly.
Brush a sheet pan with 1 tsp of olive oil. Place the dukkah eggplant slices on the sheet pan and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
How to Cook Israeli Couscous
Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Add ½ cup of Israeli couscous and bring down to medium heat.
Boil for 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain in a colander, run under cold water briefly and set aside to cool and dry.
How to Make the Rest of the Salad
Cut the pomegranate in half. Using a wooden spoon and over a medium mixing bowl, tap the back of the pomegranate to remove the arils.
Chop the chives finely.
In a medium mixing bowl, add the Israeli couscous, chives and season with salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.
How to Make the Dressing
In a small mixing bowl, add the yoghurt, pomegranate molasses and olive oil.
Mix until well combined.
Place the dressing in a small serving bowl to serve on the side of the salad.
How to Assemble the Salad
Drain the pomegranate arils of any juices.
Add ½ the pomegranate arils to the couscous. Fold a couple of times but do not toss or stir as the pomegranate will stain the couscous.
Place the couscous mixture in a hep to one side of the plate.
Place the baked dukkah eggplant slices to the other side of the plate.
Sprinkle the salad with the remaining pomegranate arils.
Season with salt and pepper.
Variations and Substitutions
Globe eggplant substitute: If you can’t find the large globe eggplant, the longer skinny eggplant/brinjal variety will do just fine. Just cut it in half lengthwise.
Which dukkah: Any dukkah spice mix will work for this recipe. Pistachio dukkah, although not as popular, is a delicious seasoning. If you’re up for it, you can make your own dukkah spice mix. Go back to the post to see some various recipes for some inspiration.
Pomegranate molasses substitute: Pomegranate molasses substitute is hard to find. It truly is one of a kind. However, as we are already using fresh pomegranate, you can use lemon or lime juice or find pomegranate juice and add some sugar.
If you’re desperate, you can use balsamic glaze instead.
Chives substitute: If you think the flavours of the chives are too strong, you can replace chives with flat-leaf parsley or coriander.
Israeli couscous substitute: Normal couscous is not a suitable replacement for Israeli couscous. For the chewy texture that works for this recipe, pearl barley would be a better choice.
Great Mains for This Salad
Lebanese Kibbeh: Kibbeh is a quintessential recipe from the Middle East. This version is a Lebanese Kibbeh, a vegetarian kibbeh, made with potato and bulgur on an aromatic bed of walnuts, onion and sultanas. The baked eggplant slices coated in dukkah apsices make for a great accompaniment.
Slow-Cooked Moroccan Lamb: This lamb is rubbed in a delicious Moroccan spiced butter and slowly cooked in the oven for 5-6 hours. Serve up this melt in your mouth main with some dukkah eggplant slices as let the Israeli couscous soak up all the flavours.
Combi Steamed Cauliflowers: This whole cauliflower is rubbed with spices and roasted in the combi steam oven, making the insides steamy and soft and the outside burnished and full of Moorish-inspired flavour. Perfect meat free dinner when accompanied with these delicious dukkah eggplant slices.
Frequently Asked Questions
Couscous is semolina that is rubbed between wet hands to form tiny little balls. They are then left to dry, and when it’s time to cook it, they are better steamed than boiled.
Israeli couscous is made from semolina and wheat flour. They are also rolled between your hands to much larger balls than regular couscous. The biggest difference between the 2 is that Israeli couscous is toasted rather than dried, giving it that chewy texture and nutty flavour. They are usually boiled when it’s time to eat.
Israel couscous forms the perfect base to house some seriously delicious salad ingredients. Here are some more recipes you may like to try:
Roasted Heirloom Carrots with Pearl Couscous
Blistered Tomato and Basil Salad with Israeli Couscous
Roast Pumpkin Salad with Israeli Couscous and Apple
When dukkah became more than a condiment eaten with bread, it opened up a plethora of possibilities. Being able to roast it with vegetables and proteins changed the way dukkah was viewed.
We love these tasty eggplant baked slices. They are mouthfuls of pure joy! We hope you’ll enjoy this salad as much as we do!
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Dukkah Eggplant Baked Slices Salad
- 3 tbsp Greek yoghurt
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1 tsp olive oil
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- Preheat oven to 180°C or 350°F.
- Cut the eggplant lengthwise into quarters. Using a basting brush, coat each slice with 1 tsp of olive oil each. On a plate, spread out the dukkah spice. Place the coated eggplant on the dukkah spice and coat evenly. Brush a sheet pan with 1 tsp of olive oil. Place the dukkah eggplant slices on the sheet pan and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Add ½ cup of Israeli couscous and bring down to medium heat. Boil for 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain in a colander, run under cold water briefly and set aside to cool and dry.
- Cut the pomegranate in half. Using a wooden spoon and over a medium mixing bowl, tap the back of the pomegranate to remove the arils.
- Chop the chives finely.
- In a medium mixing bowl, add the Israeli couscous, chives and season with salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.
- In a small mixing bowl, add the yoghurt, pomegranate molasses and olive oil.
- Mix until well combined.
- Place the dressing in a small serving bowl to serve on the side of the salad.
- Drain the pomegranate arils of any juices.
- Add ½ the pomegranate arils to the couscous. Fold a couple of times but do not toss or stir as the pomegranate will stain the couscous.
- Place the couscous mixture in a heap to one side of the plate.
- Place the baked dukkah eggplant slices to the other side of the plate.
- Sprinkle the salad with the remaining pomegranate arils.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- If you can’t find the large eggplant, the longer skinny eggplant/brinjal variety will do just fine. Just cut it in half lengthwise.
- Any dukkah spice mix will work for this recipe. Pistachio dukkah, although not as popular, is a delicious seasoning. If you’re up for it, you can make your own dukkah spice mix. Go back to the post to see some various recipes for some inspiration.
- Pomegranate molasses substitute is hard to find. It truly is one of a kind. However, as we are already using fresh pomegranate, you can use lemon or lime juice or find pomegranate juice and add some sugar.
- You can replace chives with flat-leaf parsley or coriander.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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