Anastasia Zolotarev's Baked Eggplant With Chickpea Puree, Tomato Salad and Herb Dressing

Welcome to Put on a Spreada recipe series that takes you inside the kitchens – and dining rooms – of some of our favourite home cooks. For this instalment, food writer, recipe developer and Masterchef Australia contestant Anastasia Zolotarev, shares the recipe for her baked eggplant with chickpea puree, fresh tomato salad and herb dressing.

From dumplings filled with mushrooms and carrots to creamy fettuccine stirred through juicy tomatoes, eggplant and burrata, we’ve proven time and time again that you only need vegetables to make a flavoursome and satisfying dish that’ll impress any dinner guests. 

But if you’re still not entirely convinced, Anastasia Zolotarev’s whole roasted eggplant will do the trick. 

This show-stopping dish (that’s also vegan) is a celebration of fresh produce. In addition to the eggplant, there’s juicy tomatoes, fresh herbs, zesty lemon and crunchy walnuts, so each mouthful provides a burst of different flavours and textures. 

You only need 15 minutes to prep this dish, and then the eggplant needs just 30 minutes in the oven for it to get nice and charred. In the meantime, sit down and enjoy a well-deserved glass of wine with your dinner guests.

Serves: 2 as a main or 4 as a side dish

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant

For the chickpea puree:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½-¾ cup boiling water (adjust as needed)
  • ½ lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

For the tomato salad:

  • 3-4 tomatoes (red or use a variety of heirloom tomatoes)
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • A drizzle of olive oil

For the herb dressing:

  • A handful each of fresh dill, parsley and mint (stems removed from the mint and dill)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (add and adjust more if needed)
  • 3 tbsp water (add and adjust more if needed)
  • 1 heaped tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove (optional)

To serve:

  • Handful of walnuts

Method

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees.

Place the whole eggplant on an oven tray lined with baking paper, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil. Place into the oven for 30 minutes or until the eggplant is completely cooked through with the centre soft (you can test this with a fork).

Meanwhile, to make the dressing, blend together the herbs along with the olive oil, water, mustard, garlic and a pinch of salt in a food processor. Taste and adjust the water, olive oil and seasoning as needed, then set aside.

To make the chickpea puree, place the chickpeas, ¾ cup boiling water, olive oil, lemon juice and a good pinch of salt in a food processor. Blend until smooth, then taste and adjust the seasoning (add more water if you like the puree to have more liquid). Set aside.

Slice the tomatoes into wedges and finely slice the red onion into fine strips lengthways. Add the vinegar, a pinch of salt and pepper and the olive oil, and coat well.

To serve, spread the chickpea puree on the base of a serving plate, place the eggplant in the centre, spread the tomato salad around, drizzle the herb dressing over the top and top with walnuts. Or alternatively, halve the eggplant and serve every element divided evenly amongst plates.

Shop Anastasia's look with our Mineral tableclothLavender placemats and White napkins

For more from Anastasia, follow her at @anastasiazolotarev.

Hungry for more? Explore more recipes from our favourite home cooks here.

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