A Middle-Eastern combination of chickpeas, pomegranate, tahini and mint plays up the meatiness of eggplant in this super-simple and healthy sheet pan dinner.
Oh, dinner. I love to eat it, but sometimes the thought of figuring out what it will be, shopping for ingredients, and then putting it all together, all while attempting to accomplish the daily to-do list of work, family and life makes me want to weep. And I write about food for a living!
So, for the next few days, I am sharing some super-simple, satisfying, plant-based sheet pan dinner recipes that look and feel festive, taste incredible, and require little more effort than throwing the ingredients onto a pan and baking until done.
I need these recipes. You need these recipes. Let’s do this!
First up: Roasted Eggplant & Chickpeas with Middle Eastern Toppings.
Talk about easy. The eggplant (cut into thick slices) and chickpeas are arranged on a sheet pan, drizzled with oil, dusted with some aromatic spices, and then roasted to golden perfection in roughly 20 minutes.
While the combination roasts, gather your toppings: pomegranate arils (you can remove them from the pomegranate yourself, or buy them ready-to-go in the produce section), chopped pistachios (or the nuts or seeds you prefer or have on hand), chopped fresh mint, and lemon-tahini drizzle (tahini + lemon + garlic + cumin=easy and delicious).
I have waxed poetic(-ish) about chickpeas many times before–high protein & fiber, delicious, versatile, and more–but not eggplant, which is odd, since I love eggplant. Not only does it have a meaty quality that is appealing in plant-based entrees, it is also uber-healthy:
*low in calories
*high in fiber
*a very good source of vitamins B1 and B6
*a good source of folate, magnesium, copper, manganese and niacin
I would also like to urge you to be lazy and not peel your eggplant, at least some of the time. The reason is that researchers have discovered that eggplant skin contains a flavonoid called nasunin, which is a potent antioxidant. I always happen to think the skin is delicious-it becomes crispy when roasted and has a pleasant, subtle bitterness that contrasts with the sweeter flesh. Yum! I love it when laziness works to my benefit, don’t you?
So forget takeout tonight. This high-protein (over 17 grams per serving) happy meal is faster and so much better in almost every way. Happy eats, everyone!
- tahini, lemon juice, garlic powder, ga1 large eggplant, cut lengthwise into 6 slices
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Lemon Tahini Drizzle:
- 2 tablespoons tahini (well-stirred)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 tablespoons hot water
- sea salt & black pepper to taste
- ⅓ cup pomegranate arils
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped pistachios
- Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, cumin and salt.
- Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer on prepared sheet; spread chickpeas around eggplant slices.
- Spray the eggplant and chickpeas with cooking spray and sprinkle with the cinnamon mixture.
- Roast in the preheated oven for 18 to 23 minutes until eggplant is golden brown and tender and the chickpeas are browned and appear crispy.
- Lemon-Tahini Drizzle: While the eggplant and chickpeas roast, stir together the tahini, lemon juice, garlic powder, cumin and hot water until blended and smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve eggplant and chickpeas drizzled with the lemon-tahini drizzle and topped with pomegranate arils, mint and pistachios.
Note: I used low-sodium chickpeas; you can use regular chickpeas, but the sodium content reflects my use of the low sodium variety.