Eggplant freekeh with tarator sauce and toasted walnuts


     I loooove this recipe! It involves one of my favourite sauces ever - tarator, a delicious combination of sesame paste, lemon and garlic. I could eat tarator all day every day and not get bored of it! Add it to boiled and cubed potatoes, sprinkle on some cilantro and yumminess follows. Or to steamed cauliflower and broccoli. Or just spread it on your favourite bread. You can't go wrong with tarator! Let's get to the recipe already!

 For the freekeh:
 - 1 cup freekeh
 - 2 1/2 cups water
 - 1 large onion, minced
 - cooking oil (I used canola)
 - salt and pepper

 For the broiled eggplant:

 - 1 eggplant
 - extra virgin olive oil
 - salt and pepper

  For the tarator (tahini) sauce:

 - about 1/2 cup tahini (ground sesame paste)
 - 1 lemon, juiced 
 - 3 garlic cloves (or less if very pungent)
 - a few tablespoons of water
 - a handful of freshly chopped parsley or 1 Tablespoon of dried parsley)                               

 For the walnuts:
 - 1 handful of walnuts previously soaked in water for at least one hour (best if overnight) then dried and toasted in the pan or in the oven.

     Start by washing and cutting the eggplant into bite-size cubes, place them in a large bowl and drizzle on a generous amount of e.v.o.o., then stir gently to coat each piece of eggplant. Transfer it to a baking dish and bake in the oven at 375 F for about 20 minutes or more, stirring once or twice. When it is ready sprinkle with salt and pepper.

   While the eggplant is in the oven prepare the freekeh: in a little bit of cooking oil sauté the onion until translucent, add the freekeh and sauté about 4 minutes more, stirring frequently. Add the water and boil uncovered for about 10 minutes or until water has reduced by half then cover and lower the heat and continue to boil for 10 minutes more or until the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let it rest for 5 minutes then fluff with fork.


    Prepare the tarator sauce by combining the tahini with the lemon juice and stirring until it becomes homogeneous. Add one tablespoon of water at a time until you reach the desired consistency then add the mashed garlic, salt and parsley. 

     To assemble the plate: start with a few scoops of freekeh, add eggplant cubes and toasted walnuts and finish by drizzling with tarator! 

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