Posted by Megan | Budget, Budget & Quick, Dinner, Vegetarian

Man, life is busy when you’re a “real person!” I feel like I have no time to keep up with some aspects of my life–blogging, perusing Facebook, Pinteresting…you know, the essentials! By the time I finally get around to sitting my butt down at the computer, it’s usually about 9PM and I still have other things to be doing. Granted, with the wedding coming up in just a few months, as well as frequent weekend trips, my time has become limited by myself as far as my “normal” activities go. Instead of grocery shopping Saturday and doing laundry Sunday, those things are getting squished in on weeknights after long days of getting up at 5:30 to hit the gym, going to work 8-5, teaching piano/being yoga ambassador right after work, and wrapping most days up with a yoga class. Phew! Then throw in a bunch of random wedding projects, managing to catch a few minutes with Will each day, and now adding yoga teacher training and you can see why I’ve dropped off the face of the earth.

Catching up with the blog, I realized the last few dinner posts have been about some out-of-the-box ingredients–eggplant and tofu! Well, here’s another eggplant recipe that might be more appealing to new eggplant eaters (like us). These little guys made it visually look like you were going to eat bread-covered French fries, although the flavor and texture most certainly proved that was not the case. While the fritters were good, I think what I enjoyed most was the sauce. We ultimately had enough leftover to continue snacking on it with other foods throughout the week. In a comparison between this eggplant recipe and the other, I might have to give this one the upper hand mostly because the texture was crunchier. But that’s just personal preference! If you want to try eggplant and don’t know what to do, at least you now have 2 recipes you can try!

Cooking Notes: We didn’t have as much eggplant as the original recipe appeared to, so Will altered the proportions to fit our needs. However, for the sake of getting the recipe right, I have included the original below. The only ingredient we altered was subbing in plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream.

Baked Zaatar Eggplant Fries with Lemon Tahini Dip
1 large eggplant
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
3 tbsp grated Parmesan
1/4 cup zaatar spice blend*
1 tsp salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 large eggs
Fresh ground sea salt, to finish
1/2 cup tahini
1 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp zaatar spice blend
2-4 tbsp water, to thin
Zaatar spice blend
1 tbsp fresh or dry thyme
1 tbsp dried sumac
1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
Begin by making Zaatar spice blend; combine thyme, sumac, and sesame seeds in a small bowl, then set aside. Also, prepare the dip by combining all the ingredients except the water, into a small bowl. Drizzle in water to reach a thinner consistency, then stir vigorously until you reach a desired consistency. Refrigerate until fries are done.

Next, begin to make eggplant fries. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wedge a wire rack on top of a baking sheet, to keep fries elevated while in the oven. Cut the eggplant into 1/2-thick rounds, then cut each round into 1/2-inch thick spears. Set aside.

Pour the flour into a small bowl. Beat the eggs together in another small bowl. In a third small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, zaatar, salt and cayenne. Roll the eggplant spears in the flour, dunk them in the eggs, and then roll them into the bread crumb mixture. Lay each spear close to one another on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and crispy, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the tops with flaky salt. Allow to cool for a couple minutes after baking, then serve with dip!

Recipe: The Kitchn: Baked Zaatar Eggplant Fries


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