Meatless-stuffed Eggplant with Cilantro Tahini Sauce

There are many classic culinary pairings: lemon and blueberry, tomato and basil and the good ‘ole, eggplant and tahini. Well, you can also add in other pairings with eggplant like ground beef or lamb (or Beyond Meat in my case), parsley, lemon, garlic.. oh the list can go on and on.


A few weeks ago, Ellie and I traveled to Kansas City to visit my parents and see my brother and his family who also came to visit. While I wasn’t planning any blog posts that week, I ended up getting a big dose of inspiration!

My mom makes this roasted eggplant dish, topped with tahini, for her Shabbat lunch lately and it’s a hit! Thanks mom, for the “food/mom-spiration” for my post: Meatless-stuffed Eggplant with Tahini Sauce – a perfect dish for #meatlessmondays!

She makes hers as more of a side, rather than a main meal that accompany’s her extravagant Shabbat meals. Such Shabbat food at the Katzman house might consist of grilled salmon, lamb and white bean stew, beet and mango salad and endless amounts of warm challah and chilled wine. Just sitting here typing this, I can smell the kitchen on Shabbat morning with the smell of garlic and rosemary in the stew. #YUM

Impressing your Friends

You can absolutely make this with the intention of a side dish, but I thought, “why not add some protein and make this into a full meal?” It’s just one extra step that really packs a flavor punch. I also added some warm, aromatic Indian-inspired spices to this dish (allspice, cinnamon and cumin), all while truly fulfilling my current Israeli-food kick.

In case you’re wondering, I used the ground Beyond Meat (the one that comes in the square packaging, not the burger patties). But by all means, this would be incredibly delish (or assuming my meat-eating friends and family would say so), with ground beef or lamb. Plus, it re-heats nicely, so it’s a great addition to your menu anytime of the week!

Feel free to make the beef mixture ahead of time before roasting the eggplant, if that helps you save some time.

And the tahini sauce will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks and it’s great on pretty much on, well, anything. 🙂

Happy summer-eating!

0 from 0 votes
Meatless-stuffed Eggplant
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Israeli
Author: Rachel Katzman
  • 2 Large eggplants, halved and stems removed
  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Medium-sized yellow onion, diced
  • 2 Garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Ground Beyond Meat Or, use real ground beef or lamb!!
  • 1 tsp Ground Allspice
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro, roughly chopped Or use parsley if that's more your jam! I had cilantro in the fridge so that's what I used
  • 1/4 cup Pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 Lemon
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425F and place parchment paper in a casserole dish

  2. Place the eggplant, flesh side up, on a large tray. Sprinkle the top with salt and set aside for 20 minutes. Working in the sink, gently squeeze the eggplant and wipe the tops of the eggplant dry

  3. Cut a cross-hatch pattern into the eggplant flesh then brush with a little bit of olive oil. Lay the eggplant in the casserole dish, flesh-side down. Drizzle a little more extra virgin olive oil on top (you can also use a pastry brush to slather the oil all over the eggplant, so you have more control of how much oil is being used)

  4. Roast the eggplant for 30 minutes or until flesh is tender and golden brown (but not burnt)

  5. While eggplant is in the oven, make the meat stuffing mixture

  6. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Add ground Beyond Beef (or ground beef or lamb, if using) diced onions and garlic

  7. Brown the Beyond Meat mixture over medium-high heat until for 3-5 minutes. Season the with salt and pepper, allspice, cinnamon and cumin, Remove from heat

  8. Mix well and adjust seasonings as needed

  9. When eggplant is done roasting, remove from oven and set aside for a few minutes. Lower oven to 375F

  10. Using a spoon, gently push the eggplant flesh to make room for the meat mixture. Spoon the meat mixture to top the eggplant halves and top with the pine nuts

  11. Cover the casserole dish with foil. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes

  12. Top the eggplants with a good squeeze of lemon and drizzle the tahini dressing on top. Garnish with extra chopped parsley or cilantro and even some green onions if you want. These are from my porch garden! Serve warm with extra tahini dressing on the side, some hot sauce and a crusty piece of challah!

0 from 0 votes
Cilantro Tahini Sauce
Course: Condiment
Author: Rachel Katzman
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3/4 cup Tahini
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper
  • 1 Lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup Cold water, to thin out the sauce The tahini will solidify in the fridge, especially if yours is pretty dry, so make sure you have enough water on hand to thin it out to the consistency that you'd like. Or you can add a boat-load of lemon juice to thin it out, like I did. Because ya'll know, I LOVE lemon!
  • 1 cup Fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped Or add parsley instead!
  1. Add all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until all ingredients are combined

  2. Add water if the tahini sauce is too thick

  3. Serve drizzled on top of the roasted eggplant or serve with pita chips and veggies for an Israeli chips and dip!

Cauliflower Risotto with Lime and Sumac

A while back (yes, WAY before COVID hit), I had some work friends over for Shabbat dinner. And before you ask, yes, indeed, they wanted to come enjoy Shabbat with us! So of course I had to spend time putting together a great menu. And my cauliflower rice with coconut milk and lime came to the forefront of my mind. This rice dish is more of a risotto since the coconut milk gives it a rich and creamy base to soak up all of the cauliflower rice and the lime adds a pop of acidity and a brightness of flavor.

But, when I was gifted a copy of Adeena Sussman’s new cookbook “Sababa“, which I am completely obsessed with, I got a TON of inspiration from all of her totally approachable recipes for modern Israeli food. And no, I am not getting paid to promote her book, I just love it THAT much. But it was her love of sumac made me think, “why not add in some sumac into my cauliflower risotto? That’ll be a great addition with the acidity of the lime – plus it’ll look pretty in the dish”. And there ya, go, the dish was born.


Sumac is a fuchsia-colored (sometimes dark reddish) powdered spice that comes from the crushed seeds of the sumac shrub. It’s used primarily in Middle Eastern dishes and has a distinctly tart, lemony flavor. If you’re ever in the Shuk market anywhere in Israel, you’ll see heaping mounds of Sumac alongside many other spices, piled high into enormous peaks – a truly memorable experience!

Whether you’re trying to cut back on carbs or want a lighter side dish to serve alongside chicken or fish, this cauliflower risotto with lime and sumac would pair perfectly and it comes to together so quickly, in under 30 minutes.

I also added sliced green onions and pomegranate seeds on top, not only for a pretty garnish but the sharpness of the green onions balances with the sweetness of the pomegranate and it all just works so well together. But feel free to experiment! Try sliced toasted almonds, or some sliced dried apricots. Once the dish is complete, I always add one last extra squeeze of lime, just to brighten up all of the flavors and marry everything together for the perfect bite.

Or…you could do a total 180 and make this a sweet dish!  Adding some sugar and cinnamon to the cauliflower rice and coconut milk or even garnishing with sliced almonds and chocolate chips. WUT?? It’s basically a coconut chocolate rice pudding. BAM. Now THAT is what I love about using versatile ingredients like cauliflower and coconut! And honestly, using the cauliflower won’t be too overpowering, if you add sugar and some cinnamon and vanilla extract. You know me, I’m always encouraging ya’ll to experiment and play with your food in the kitchen.

Enjoy, stay safe and happy eating!

0 from 0 votes
Cauliflower Risotto with lime and sumac
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Servings: 4 people
Author: Rachel Katzman
  • 1 12 oz Bag of Frozen Cauliflower rice, thawed I love using the Trader Joe's brand - I keep a bunch stocked in my freezer!
  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 13.5 oz Can of Full-fat Coconut Milk Same thing here - I keep a bunch in my pantry. I also love Trader Joe's brand
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Dried Sumac
  • 1 Lime, with zest and juice
  • 3 Green onions, sliced thinly
  • 3-4 tbsp Pomegranate seeds Add more if you like, this is just about a handful
  1. Heat a large saute pan with a small drizzle of olive oil

  2. Add the cauliflower rice and the coconut milk (add both the milk and the coconut cream that collects on the top of the can) on medium heat.cook for about 15-20 minutes until thick and creamy

  3. Add in the salt, pepper, sumac and lime zest and juice and cook for about 15-20 minutes until thick and creamy

  4. Garnish with sliced green onions and pomegranate seeds


Israeli Shawarma Feta Salad

Meatless Monday – a great go-to salad

Shawarma, really?  During the 9 days of no meat?  This may sound a bit out of your comfort zone, but this fresh and easy Israeli Shawarma Feta Salad has warm, aromatic flavors of Shawarma without the meat.  This is a great way to incorporate some bright summer flavors into a healthy salad during the 9 days or any time of year!

What is “shawarma” you ask? Basically what my husband lived on during his year and a half in Israel, HA!

Shawarma is a Middle Eastern dish consisting of thinly sliced meat layered and slow roasted on a rotisserie or spit. You can get lamb, chicken, or beef shawarma stuffed into a pita or a laffa with all the fixings! Hummus, tahini, Israeli salad, cabbage salad, pickles and fries – yes, please! The “shawarma” seasoning usually is a mix of turmeric, coriander, cumin, paprika, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and sometimes cinnamon.  Basically, a warming spice blend that pairs perfectly with a salty cheese like feta, in today’s salad! You can buy shawarma seasoning at your local kosher supermarket, or (if you’re not feeling lazy), make your own spice blend!

I first got the idea for this salad while flipping through an older issue of “Eating Well” – just a simple, fresh summer salad with feta and herbs.  But as I was literally chopping the veggies to make this salad, I had a light-bulb moment.  Why not turn this into a spin on Israeli salad? Since I was half-way there, I added the radish for a hint of that sharp flavor and crunch and swapped red onion for green onion to make it milder.  But if you’re a red onion fiend like me, feel free to add it! And for the final touches, adding shawarma seasoning to the dressing made it the perfect, Mediterranean-kissed bite of yummy goodness.

The extras

This would also be good with some diced avocado, goat cheese instead of the feta, or even sun-dried tomatoes mixed in too.

I love cilantro (but you can substitute parsley of course).  If you ARE going to use cilantro, don’t forget about the stems!  That’s where all the flavor is, not primarily the leaves, as most people might think. How great not to waste time picking the leaves off – just chop everything up and you’ll get an even bigger burst of citrus flavor that cilantro brings to the party! And weirdly enough, I think I am in that percentage of people who thinks that cilantro tastes “soapy”, but yet for some reason, I love it.

The base of a well-rounded meal

This salad is so versatile, it’s the perfect base for a filling meal.  Add some grilled salmon or tofu on top for some bonus protein.  Or, go ahead and omit the feta and add in some grilled chicken. I make shawarma chicken for my husband all the time, it’s such an easy go-to Friday night dish.

Last but not least, make sure to use fresh dill, it really makes all the difference.  Serve with some lemon wedges, maybe some pita chips on the side and this is a healthy meatless, 9-days salad to keep your taste buds satisfied!

Want more salad ideas?  Check out my Herby Cabbage Salad, another healthy option during the 9 days too!


0 from 0 votes
Israeli Shawarma Feta Salad
Prep Time
15 mins
Course: Salad
Author: Rachel Katzman
  • 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 cup Cucumber, chopped
  • 3 Green onions, sliced thin
  • 1 cup Radish, sliced thin
  • 1 Handful of chopped fresh dill
  • 1 Handful of chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 2 oz. Crumbled Feta
  • 1/4 cup Mayo
  • 1/2 Lemon, squeezed (and for serving)
  • 1/2 tsp. Shawarma seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Pepper
  1. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, green onion, radish, dill, parsley or cilantro and feta in a large bowl

  2. In a bowl, mix the mayo, lemon juice (same some for serving), shawarma seasoning, salt and pepper

  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and squeeze a bit more lemon over the salad

  4. Serve with some lemon wedges on the side and crunchy pita chips!

Ultimate Hummus Plate

HummusIn honor of Yom Ha’atzmaut and Israel’s 70th birthday I challenged Rachel to a chickpea (AKA garbanzo bean) challenge.  Chickpeas are the main ingredient in hummus, the increasingly popular paste that Israelis eat like Americans eat peanut butter.  I realize in this challenge I am taking Rachel on on her own turf giving me a distinct disadvantage.  The only way to beat an enemy on their own turf with superior fire power, in this case meat and fried food.

Below are three different chickpea recipes that are each great on their own, but truly shine when combined on a single plate. The  smooth hummus, the crunchy chickpeas, and soft falafel balls with a crispy exterior makes for a great textural contrast.  To combine them simply spread the hummus in a thick layer on a plate and top with the ground beef and onions, falafel balls, and roasted chickpeas.  Serve alongside some fresh pita for a great appetizer or even a main course.  If you you have a vegetarian or a vegan in the house just simply omit the ground beef.

5 from 1 vote
Hummus With Ground Beef and Sauteed Onions
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
45 mins

Hummus with ground beef, an Israeli favorite, is great dish that can be eaten as main dish, side dish, appetizer, or snack.  You could use store bought hummus, but why do that when making it yourself is so easy and so much better.

Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Israeli, Jewish, Kosher, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Servings: 1 Plate
Author: Daniel Peikes
Hummus Ingredients
  • 15 oz Canned Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) Skins removed
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 3 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons Tahini Paste
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Ground Beef Ingredients
  • 1 Large Onion Diced
  • 1/2 lb Ground Beef
  • 2 Tablespoons Shawarma Seasoning This can be bought pre-made or you can make it yourself by blending coriander, sumac, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, turmeric, cloves, and allspice.
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Special Equipment
  • Food Processor fitted with the "S" Blade
  1. Add all the Hummus ingredients except the olive oil to the food processor.  Process until a paste starts to form.  If the paste starts to climb up the sides of the bowl, turn off the food processor, remove the lid, and scrape it down with a soft spatula.

  2. With the food processor still running, slowly drizzle in the 1/4 cup olive oil.  Continue to process until the paste is completely smooth.

Ground beef with sauteed onions
  1. Sprinkle the ground beef with the shawarma seasoning, making sure the shawarma seasoning is well distributed.

  2. Take your largest, heaviest, frying pan and add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and put over high heat.  If you have a cast iron skillet, this is a good time to use it.

  3. Once the pan is very hot, crumble in the ground beef.  Cook on each side until nicely browned.

  4. Remove the ground beef, leaving the rendered fat in the pan.  Turn the heat down to medium and add the onions.

  5. Saute the onions until they just start to brown.  Remove the onions and combine with the ground beef.

  1. Spread a thick layer of the hummus on a plate and top with the ground beef and onions.  Serve immediately with pita on the side.

Recipe Notes

I call for canned chickpeas with the skins removed in this recipe.  I find that if you don't remove the skins from the chickpeas the hummus has a gritty texture.  If that doesn't bother you than you can use the chickpeas right out of the can.  To remove the skins, just lightly squeeze each chickpea between your fingers.  It is a bit labor intensive, but I think it is worth it.

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Soaking Time
1 d
Total Time
1 hr

A great fried treat.  Excellent in pita with all the fixings or at side dish or snack all on its own.

Course: Main Dish, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Israeli, Kosher, Middle Eastern
Servings: 24 Balls
Author: Daniel Peikes
  • 16 oz Dried Chickpeas (1 Bag) Do not substitute canned
  • 1 Cup Chopped Scallion You can use the white and green parts for this recipe
  • 1 Cup Fresh Parsley Stems removed
  • 1 Cup Fresh Cilantro Stems removed
  • 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Cumin
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper Optional
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Vegetable Oil For Frying
Special Equipment
  • Food Processor Fitted With "S" Blade
  • A Large Heavy Pan to Fry In Cast iron skillet if you have it
  1. Pour the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with water.   Allow to soak overnight.

  2. Add all the ingredients, except the frying oil to the food processor.  Process until a thick paste is formed.  Do not over-process or it will get too thin. 

  3. Roll the mixture into balls roughly 1 inch in diameter.

  4. Put your frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to come 3/4 of inch the way up.  Make sure the heat is not too high, otherwise the outside of the falafel will burn before the inside is cooked.

  5. Fry on each side until dark brown.

5 from 1 vote
Roasted Chickpeas
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins

A great crunchy snack.  You can eat these on there own, as a salad topping or as part of a hummus plate.  Feel free to play with spices here.  If you don't like curry powder use garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.  If you are using canned chickpeas as I did, just be careful about adding too much salt as, most canned chickpeas are already seasoned. 

Course: Side Dish, Snack, Topping
Cuisine: Israeli, Jewish, Kosher, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Daniel Peikes
  • 15 oz Canned Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) Drained
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Thai Red Curry Powder Can be bought pre-made or blended from chili pepper, garlic, lime peel, galangal, coriander, lemongrass, black pepper, cumin, fennel, mace and shallots
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika
Special Equipment
  • 1 Sheet Pan Lined With Parchment Paper
  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F.

  2. Toss the chickpeas with the olive oil, making sure they are completely coated.

  3. Spread the chickpeas out on the sheet pan, making sure they are not touching each other.

  4. Bake until crispy, about 10 minutes.

  5. While still hot, toss the chickpeas with the Thai red curry powder and the paprika.  Serve immediately or store in a resealable bag or container once cooled.

Don’t forget to check out Rachel’s chickpea post: Chickpea Curry