I think eggplant might just be the quintessential Mediterranean vegetable. You find it in every Mediterranean country’s cuisine in such a variety of absolutely delicious ways. My personal favorite is when yogurt is added, which I believe is a particularly eastern Mediterranean way of eating it (i.e. in Greece, Turkiye, and many other similar regions).

I’ve had it so many ways in so many different types of cuisines that I can hardly pin down a ‘favorite dish’ but I do have a preferred flavor profile in terms of how it’s cooked and I think I love the way it’s presented in Turkish cuisine the most because of it’s grilled taste, even when roasting in the oven – as well as the other ways its cooked so often with tomato and garlic, which is very similar to my Sicilian heritage way of making it), and that addition of yogurt is my favorite.

When cooking this way, you barely miss meat in a meal, so it’s a great option for vegans and vegetarians as well as anyone who is skipping out on meat for any particular meal.

Sauteed Eggplant Mezze Recipe (Mediterranean)

Serves 4-6


2-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large eggplant, cubed

2 tomatoes (peeled), roughly chopped

1 small onion, chopped fine

3-4 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Sea salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

Whole milk yogurt (optional)

Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


To a large saute pan or Dutch oven, add the olive oil and gently warm it. Add the eggplant and brown on each side, about 6-7 minutes. Next, add the tomatoes and onion at the same time. Continue to cook until the juice of the tomatoes has evaporated, stirring continuously as it cooks. Add the sea salt and black pepper, too.

Allow this mixture to cook for about 12 minutes, uncovered. Once all of the ingredients are soft and thoroughly cooked, turn off the heat and cover for about five minutes. Remove the lid and let cool slightly. Serve, as desired, either as-is like this or with a dollop of yogurt, sprinkled with red pepper flakes. You can also add a drizle of olive oil, freshly cut parsley.

Enjoy with some freshly baked pita bread or khubz (Arabic style bread, which is hefty enough to pick up this dish!).

Note: this is also considered a popular “cold” dish, meaning that it doesn’t have to be piping hot to be eaten and it’s also preferred this way a lot of times, as well.

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