Saturday, July 20, 2013

Grilled Zucchini & Eggplant with Lemon Mint Yogurt Dip

Grilled Zucchini & Eggplant with Lemon Mint Yogurt Dip
It's Zucchini time!

If you have a garden and you haven't already been overrun by heavily producing zucchini plant, you soon will be, I'll bet.  If you don't have a garden but have a friend who does, it won't be long before you'll be receiving offers of free zucchini.  The beauty of zucchini is that once the plant starts producing, it produces with abundance.  One day you'll go to the garden and the zucchini fruits will be smaller than your pinky finger.  One or two days later, with sufficient water and warmth, and you'll find that they have grown to the length of your forearm and if you don't do something, you'll literally be overwhelmed.  A few days later, the yield will go from one or two to 5-10, and increases from there.  They just keep growing.

This is a good problem.  Embrace it.  Grab those zucchinis before they get too large:  I like to pick mine when they are 6" - 8" long or  3" - 4" round if it's a ball zucchini.  The skin is still nice and tender at this point so there is no need to peel them.  You can just slice, dice or shred to suit your recipe and put them in everything from soup to cake.

Grilled Zucchini & Eggplant with Lemon Mint Yogurt Dip
Today, we grilled them along with slices of eggplant and served them up as an afternoon snack along with a simple Lemon Mint Yogurt Dip.  I tossed the sliced vegetables in a dressing of olive oil, vinegar and Za'atar that I had made following this recipe from 101 Cookbooks.  If you don't have or can't find Za'atar, use 1 tablespoon of black or white unhulled sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon dried thyme and 1 teaspoon of sumac.  If you don't have sumac, substitute one teaspoon of fresh grated lemon zest. It won't be quite as good as the sumac version, but then you won't need to grocery shopping before you get started on this either.  The sesame seeds toast as the vegetables grill giving a nice crisp, nutty flavor.

Grilled Zucchini and Eggplant

1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4" slices
1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/4" slices
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Za'atar
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Combine the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and Za'atar in a large bowl.  Add the sliced vegetables all at once and use your hands to toss them with the dressing so they are well coated.

Heat your grill or grill pan so it's smoking hot.  Grill the vegetable slices until they are slightly charred on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.  Arrange on a serving platter and continue grilling until all the vegetables are done.  Serve with Lemon Mint Yogurt Dip.

Lemon Mint Yogurt Dip

1 cup / 2 dl Greek yogurt
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh mint, minced

Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Serve with grilled vegetables.


  1. Ann, I really like your blog: in addition to good recipes you have nice pictures and I find your way of writing really enjoyable. In this recipe you have Za'atar - what is that? Don't recall having come accross that before...

    1. Hi Missa, thanks for the nice comments! I'm happy to hear you're enjoying the blog - it's sure been fun to write it! Za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice made of sesame seeds, Sumac, usually salt, and spices - typically oregano or thyme. Za'atar is also a specific family of herbs that grows in the Middle East: types of oregano, basil thyme and thyme. You'll sometimes see it written as zaatar, zatar, za'tar, etc. My guess is you can find it in a store selling ingredients for Middle East or Asian foods - I made it myself because I couldn't find any here in Finland. Finding Sumac was the most challenging, but still common enough. It has a really great flavor, especially baked onto bread. I think you'll like it!