This simple eggplant with halloumi and tomato sauce dish is delicious made with passata tomatoes simmered in garlic and spices and finally topped with grilled halloumi cheese. A Classic vegetarian dish ticking all the right boxes for healthy Mediterranean style cooking.
If you have already made 𝗠𝗼𝘂𝘀𝘀𝗮𝗸𝗮 for the week and have an overflowing supply of eggplant from your garden then this simple 𝗚𝗿𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗱 𝗘𝗴𝗴𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗛𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗼𝘂𝗺𝗶 dish would be a great quick alternative vegetarian meal. When in wintertime, I also like to make a comforting hot-pot style or casserole dish with beans, potatoes and eggplant.
But for the moment, as my eggplant plants are producing prolifically this lovely dish is on the cards tonight. I will be using the three medium-sized graffiti eggplants pictured below. Graffiti eggplants taste similar to the regular kind with one notable exception: they have a sweet, almost fruit-like flavour without the bitterness. This is due to the smaller seeds and thinner skin than the regular purple varieties.
I do like to use graffiti eggplants as it means I don’t have to soak them in salty water to flush out the bitterness. This saves time and valuable energy better spent elsewhere.
You know, Authentic Mediterranean cuisine is all about the vegetables… and here eggplant is the star.
This recipe takes approximately 30 minutes to make, and only a few ingredients. It is important to use good quality olive oil and tomatoes for your sauce. Ready-made tomato sauces just won’t cut it here. Use Passata or good quality pureed tin tomatoes without added water inside.
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 500ml passata or pureed tomatoes
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 cloves garlic
- extra virgin olive oil spray
- 200g Halloumi cheese
- 1 teaspoon oregano dried
- 3 medium sized graffiti eggplant or regular egg
Make the Sauce
Heat the olive oil (4 tablespoons) in a saucepan in medium heat and add the garlic - allow to turn a translucent colour but be careful not to burn the garlic.
Add the tomato and cinnamon stick and simmer. When the sauce starts to bubble reduce the heat, simmer for 5 minutes then add 2 cups hot water and the cinnamon stick.
Reduce heat, allow to simmer on low with a lid on the saucepan for nearly as long as you are making the grilling the eggplant - 30 minutes. Check it intermittently, and add a little of your reserved water each time-to ensure the sauce does not dry up.
Remove cinnamon stick when you are done.
Prepare and Grill Eggplant
Cut the eggplant in 2cm thick rounds to make steaks.
If you are using graffiti eggplant, go to the next step, if using regular eggplant see notes for an additional step.
Spray the eggplant with pure olive oil on both sides.
Grill until golden and crispy but be watchful not to burn as it will alter the taste of the eggplant.
Pre-heat a shallow pan on high.
Spray with olive oil, and cook the halloumi slices.
Sprinkle each side with oregano whilst it is cooking.
On a serving dish, add the grilled eggplant, sauce, second layer of grilled eggplant and sauce. Finish off with halloumi slices and sprinkle with basil if you like.
Eggplants and Olive Oil
- Eggplants absorb a lot of olive oil. I usually spray the eggplant on both sides with olive oil before placing under the grill. Then in the last minute of grilling, spray (sparingly) one more time on the top side, grill for a little longer. - This will give your eggplant a nice healthy golden brown glow without having to use a lot of olive oil.
- If you do not have olive oil spray, brush the olive oil on your eggplant on both sides but only once.
- Don't pour the olive oil from the bottle on the eggplant. It serves no benefit doing it this way.
Using Regular Eggplants instead of Graffiti Eggplant
Graffiti eggplants are not bitter due to the smaller seeds and thinner skin. If you are using regular eggplants and not the graffiti variety:
Slice thickly in rounds, soak in salty water ( 1 teaspoon salt to 1 litre of water ) for 30 minutes, rinse and dry the eggplant before grilling.