Eggplant Yogurt Salad, an adapted version of the popular middle eastern dish “Fatteh” with added butternut squash. It is so tasty with roasted vegetables in creamy garlicky yogurt sauce with crunchy pomegranate, walnuts and crispy pita chips. It is a heart healthy dish, rich in phytochemicals that will lower the risk of cancers and will help build immunity. And it has the good probiotics too.
WHAT IS FATTEH?
Fatteh is a popular dish of the Levant and has many different variations using meat, vegetables, yogurt, spices etc all layered over crushed pita. Although, the recipe here is purely vegetarian and I have also added butternut squash to it. Because I love it so much and enjoy the sweetness of that squash complemented with spices like in this good looking and delicious Roasted butternut squash with coconut, cumin and ginger.
For the eggplant fatteh here, I have used pomegranate molasses quite generously, which I think gives it a rather distinctively bold flavor.
HEALTH BENEFITS – EGGPLANT FATTEH WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH
Due to its low calorie/carbohydrate and high fiber profile, eggplant has a great potential for inclusion in diabetic and weight loss diets. It also has many other nutrition benefits which I explain in more detail in this post – Moroccan Eggplant Salad with Chermoula.
Butternut squash is super rich in the bright orange pigment – Beta Carotene – which converts to vitamin A in the body and is beneficial for the skin, hair, vision and lowering the risk of cancer. This winter squash is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin E, thiamine, niacin, B 6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium and manganese. It is also rich in potassium, which is beneficial for lowering blood pressure. The high fiber content of the squash helps with promoting regularity and better blood glucose control.
The addition of yogurt provides a good source of probiotics, high quality protein and calcium. The omega 3 fatty acids from the walnuts and the phytochemical rich pomegranate with other myriad health benefits further add to the nutrition bounty of this salad.
PREPARATION TIPS FOR EGGPLANT FATTEH
In this recipe I suggest roasting rather than frying. Make sure to roast the vegetable well enough, such that they are cooked very soft. Do carefully follow the instructions below.
I have added a good measure of butternut squash in this version. So if you like some sweet surprises, this salad is for you. If not, you can replace the butternut squash with more of the eggplant. I think that the pomegranate arils, although tangy-sweet in taste, give this dish a nice crunch and contrast to the overall profile.
The zaatar spiced pita chips work so well for this salad. Not only the textural aspect of it, but the burst of the zaatar spice through the creamy yogurt sauce complement with the background herby notes of the dill and green onions, bringing it all together into a dish that can be relished as a salad or a side dish.
Photography above: bijansviewfinder.com
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Eggplant Yogurt Salad with Pita Chips (Fatteh)
- 1 pita bread *whole wheat, small
- 2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons zaatar
- 1/2 pound butternut squash
- 1 pound eggplant
- 1 ½ cups yogurt reduced fat
- 1/2 tablespoon tahini (optional), adjust per taste
- 1 clove garlic grated
- 1/2 teaspoon salt as per taste
- 1 teaspoon cumin ground
- 2 tablespoons dill weed fresh, chopped
- 2 tablespoons green onions fresh, chopped
- 3 tablespoons pomegranate arils
- 2 to 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 2 tablespoons walnuts toasted, chopped
- 1 to 2 teaspoons Aleppo red pepper flakes adjust as needed
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cut the pita bread into small pieces and toss with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and zaatar. Spread them in a layer over a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the pita chips are crisp.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the butternut squash into slices or small wedges and toss with a pinch of salt and one teaspoon olive oil. Roast for 15 - 20 minutes or more until it is tender and well cooked.
- Rinse the eggplant, wipe it dry and cut it into 3/4 inch slices or small wedges. Brush the eggplant slices lightly but evenly with the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle two pinches of salt over the eggplant.
- Place the slices/wedges on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake* for about 25 minutes until fork tender (time may vary with oven). It is very important that the eggplant cooks very well and this is dependent on the proper application of olive oil and adequate baking. Make sure to check at 20 minutes and adjust time accordingly.
- Set aside the baked pita chips, butternut squash and eggplant slices and let cool to room temperature. Combine the yogurt, tahini, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, half the herbs and remaining salt thoroughly well. Adjust salt and seasoning as per taste.
- Spread half the yogurt sauce on a serving platter. Layer the eggplant and butternut squash pieces randomly. Scatter the left over cumin.
- Pour the remaining yogurt sauce all over. Sprinkle the remaining herbs, pomegranate arils, walnuts and red pepper flakes evenly over the salad.
- Drizzle the pomegranate molasses. Arrange the pita chips all over and serve this Eggplant Yogurt Salad with Pita Chips immediately.
- The toasted pita bread in this "Eggplant Yogurt Salad (Fatteh)" recipe can also be substituted with store bought pita chips.
- Zaatar, tahini and pomegranate molasses are available at middle eastern stores or online.
- Eggplant slices may be grilled, fried on a hot non stick pan or broiled about five minutes each side. Make sure to lightly brush oil on each side. And once done, flip it and brush the oil lightly on the other side and cook until done.