Recipe: Spiced Aubergine with Barley, Yogurt & Pomegranate
This post was created in collaboration with Appletiser. Do you know how many recipes there are for Middle Eastern style aubergine in Google, with some sort of yogurt/ herb/ pomegranate concoction on top? To save you sifting through all of them, I thought I’d provide you with one easy template you can use for whatever you happen to have in stock. What is more, at the end of it you’ll get a fridge clearing supper for one or two of you, that ticks at least one box on the fruit and veg front, and contains no added sugar. For the rest of this year I’ll be teaming up with Appletiser to bring you a new weeknight meal every month to help you pack in those veggies and cut down on the amount of added sugar you use in your everyday cooking.
I was doing an interview the other day and I was talking about while it is important to plan your meals ahead to cut down on food waste, it is also important to keep days free from planning that allow you to make things that use up any odds and ends in the fridge. For these days I like to rely on store cupboard staples to suit whatever cuisine your scraps are leaning towards. I use fajita spices (you can find my recipe with my spice mix blend in my recipe here) on whatever meat or veggies I have around if I have any tortilla wraps/ yogurt or soured cream/ avocado/ things to make salsa laying around, and if it is pomegranate and coriander from another recipe I have a surplus of, Middle Eastern spice blends and dried grains become my best friend. I’ve used ras el hanout here as I’ve still got some leftover from when I blended my own, but anything from seven spice, to za’atar, or just plain old ground cumin (perhaps with some chilli powder mixed in) will work!
This dish pairs really well with Appletiser’s Apple and Pomegranate. While usually I keep a bottle of Appletiser stashed in the fridge for people who are driving as an alternative to whatever wine, fizz or cocktails I have on offer, but especially recently I’ve been really aware we need to cut down the amount we drink on a weeknight. When I was cooking for myself it was easy just to have one gin or tonic in the evenings, or to put the cork in a bottle of wine after I’d had a glass or two. However, it is all too easy to finish the bottle when you’re opening it for the two of you! The recycling bin in the kitchen is becoming a scary, scary place.
The measurements below make two platefuls, but you can easily scale this down for one by using the smallest aubergine you can find rather than the biggest one, and eating the whole thing yourself. If you are cooking for just you, I suggest you still cook the full amount of barley. Let half of it go cold and you can use it as the base of all sort of things, like my Farro (switching that out of course!), Avocado & Egg Breakfast Bowl, for example.
- 150g (2 oz) Pearl Barley
- Sea Salt
- 1 Very Large Aubergine
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Ras el Hanout
- 8 tbsp 0% Greek or Natural Yogurt
- Lemon Juice (to taste)
- Large Handful Fresh Pomegranate Seeds
- Large Handful Fresh Coriander Leaves
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees (390 fahrenheit). Boil the kettle, and cook the barley in a big pan of boiling, salted water for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, split the aubergine down the middle, and score the flesh diagonally in both directions. Drizzle generously with olive oil, and rub a little salt and the spice mix into the aubergine halves. Bake for half an hour once the oven is hot. Meanwhile, prepare the pomegranate and the coriander, and make the yogurt by stirring together 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, a generous pinch of salt and lemon juice to taste. If you’re using Greek yogurt it may be a little too thick to drizzle; you can loosen it a bit by stirring into a bit of cold water.
Once the aubergine and barley are ready, drain the barley and divide it between two warm plates. Arrange an aubergine half on each, and drizzle over the yogurt. Garnish with a generous amount of pomegranate and coriander, and finish each plate with a drizzle of olive oil and a good few grinds of black pepper.
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