Grilled Eggplant with Tahini Yogurt Sauce

The first time I grew the diminutive Fairy Tale eggplant, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. The plant made lots of beautiful little purple and white streaked eggplants, but they were so small! Their maximum size is about 1-3/4″ wide by 4″ long, but many are even smaller than that.

Fairy Tale eggplants in 5" diameter bowl

The eggplants were good stir fried, but it took a lot of them to make a meal. I dismissed this 2005 All American Selection as just another novelty vegetable: decorative and cute to look at, but not very useful in the kitchen. Boy was I ever wrong!

Fairy Tale plant grown in container

Fast forward a couple of years. My wife and I discovered the joys of grilling eggplant and peppers (we were blessed with lots of both of them). I even made a grilled eggplant parmesan, but mostly I just brushed the sliced eggplant with a little olive oil and grilled it for about 10 minutes or so. Eggplant is low in calories and high in fiber (20 calories and 3 grams of fiber per cup) and when grilled it makes for a mild-tasting side dish that complements a lot of our summertime meals.

Fairy Tale on the grill

But back to the Fairy Tale variety. Last year Master Gardeners grew it at our display gardens, and it produced a bumper crop. We were encouraged to take some home and try it. So I did, and this time I knew how to fix it: grilled!

Anxious to serve it as an appetizer with a light lunch, I searched the Web for a sauce to go with it. I found a recipe from Nigel Slater’s book “The Kitchen Diaries, A Year in the Kitchen with Nigel Slater” that sounded interesting. The recipe that follows has become a favorite here. This year I planted Fairy Tale in several large containers and it has been producing abundantly.

Grilled Eggplant with Tahini Yogurt Sauce

Grilled Eggplant with Tahini Yogurt Sauce

This recipe makes a great light appetizer or side dish whenever fresh eggplant is available. Avoid older eggplants with dull skin since they tend to be bitter tasting. This recipe is great for miniature eggplants like Fairy Tale, Hansel or Gretel – just slice them in half lengthwise. Larger oval eggplants can be sliced crosswise.

Grilled Eggplant with Tahini Yogurt Sauce Print This Recipe Print This Recipe
Inspired by a Nigel Slater recipe

2 tbsp tahini paste*
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 dash salt
1 ea medium eggplant (12 oz, or several small eggplants)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp ground cumin

1. Combine tahini paste, lemon juice, yogurt, garlic and salt to taste. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Slice eggplant into 1/4″ thick slices. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with cumin and salt.
3. Grill eggplant over high heat for 8-10 minutes, until soft and done.

Servings: 4

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 118 calories, 68 calories from fat, 8g total fat, 1.2mg cholesterol, 64.6mg sodium, 355.3mg potassium, 10.4g carbohydrates, 4.7g fiber, 4.3g sugar, 3.6g protein, 83.9mg calcium, 1.3g saturated fat.

*Tahini paste is made from ground roasted sesame seeds. It can usually be found in groceries or health food stores in the ethnic section or along with other nut butters.

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9 Responses to Grilled Eggplant with Tahini Yogurt Sauce

  1. meemsnyc says:

    I love grilled eggplant and this looks so tasty! Thanks for the recipe!

  2. debsgarden says:

    What a beautiful vegetable! I would be tempted to grow it just because of its appearance. I confess I have never eaten an eggplant! This post has inspired me. Your recipe looks delicious, and I love grilled veggies!

  3. Cheryl says:

    Hi, I blog hopped to your site because of the recipe…sounds delicious! I’m going to give it a try!

  4. Thomas says:

    I have to admit that eggplant isn’t on my list of favorite veggies. Hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised later this summer.

  5. Mike says:

    I love the looks of that eggplant, what a fun plant. I’m curious, because this variety produces such small fruits do they come on a bit earlier when compared to the larger fruited ones?

    • Villager says:

      It was early for us because I put it in containers in late April. That let us get a 2-3 week headstart on the other eggplants that were planted in the ground. Other than that, I am not sure it is much earlier than other large fruited hybrids.

  6. mac says:

    So pretty and cute, gotta try it next year. Is it bitter?

  7. Angela says:

    You are also focusing on eggplants for this harvest monday, how fun!

    This little eggplants look beautiful, and it seems a good size to me, good diameter, both for grilling and for stir-frying. If the plant is prolific and not bitter I should give it a try.

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