Eggplant and Yogurt Spread with Saffron and Walnuts

Recipe from

(Note that this works best with Globe-type eggplant.)


2 medium eggplants
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
kosher or sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup lebneh or tangy yogurt
pinch of saffron threads
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped


Preheat your oven to 350º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Prick the eggplants a few times with a paring knife on all sides. Set the eggplants directly over a gas burner and roast, turning occasionally with tongs, until they are soft and wilted (5 -10 minutes). Place the eggplants on the prepared baking sheet and bake until they’re soft all the way through, 20 - 30 minutes.

Remove the eggplants from the oven and when cool enough to handle, split them open and scoop out as much pulp as possible, and set it in a mesh strainer or colander. Let drain for 20 minutes, stirring a few times as it drains. Once drained, mash the eggplant with a fork until it is chunky.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and season with a bit of salt. Cook until wilted and translucent, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes and then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Add the eggplant and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and cool completely. Add the saffron to the water and let it steep. Stir the labneh or yogurt into the eggplant and spread into a wide serving bowl. Spoon the saffron threads and liquid over the spread and sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Serve with any kind of flatbread or crackers, or on a salad.

This will keep in the fridge for 4 - 5 days.