Aubergine with buttermilk sauce by Ottolenghi

Aubergine with buttermilk sauce | Karoliina Kazi

Happy Bank Holiday weekend everyone! We decided to stay in London, although it would have been pretty nice to run away somewhere warm from the hail and snow storms that we have been experiencing here this week. The weekend so far has been wonderful and relaxing, nice walks, lots of cooking and hanging out with friends.

Therefore there will be some recipes coming up and here comes the first one.

Aubergine is one of my favourite vegetables and Riz loves it too. This recipe for aubergine with buttermilk sauce is from Ottolenghi’s Plenty cookbook (p. 110) and it makes a rustic starter or a delicious side dish for a light supper. And best of all, it’s so simple and easy to make and goes perfectly with meat dishes, such as my turkey burgers.

Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend of sumac, sesame seeds and herbs.


Serves 4

2 large and long aubergines
80ml olive oil
1½ tsp lemon thyme leaves, plus a few whole sprigs to garnish
1 pomegranate
1 tsp za’atar
maldon sea salt and black pepper


140ml buttermilk
100g Greek yoghurt
1½ tbsp olive oil, plus a drizzle to finish
1 small garlic clove, crushed
pinch of salt



Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Wash the aubergines and cut them in two lengthways through the green stalk (it looks better like this, even though you don’t eat the stalk). Make three or four deep parallel incisions in the cut side of the aubergine, taking care not to cut as far as the skin. Then, at a 45-degree angle to these cuts, make four more, to create a diamond pattern.

Put the aubergines, cut side up, on an oven tray lined with baking parchment and brush with the oil. Keep on brushing until all the oil has soaked into the flesh. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 35-40 minutes, at which point the flesh should be soft, flavoursome and well browned. Remove and leave to cool.

While the aubergines are in the oven, cut the pomegranate in two horizontally. Hold one half over a bowl, the cut side facing your palm, and with the back of a wooden spoon gently knock on the skin. Continue beating with increasing power until the seeds start falling into the bowl. Once all are out, sift through the seeds to remove any white skin bits. For the sauce, simply whisk together all the ingredients, taste for seasoning and keep cold until needed.

To serve, put an aubergine half on a plate, flesh side up. Spoon over lots of sauce without covering the stalk, sprinkle on lots of pomegranate seeds and some za’atar, garnish with lemon thyme and finish with a drizzle of oil.

I didn’t have lemon thyme available so I replaced it with grated lemon skin and garnished with chopped parsley – worked wonderfully.

Aubergine with buttermilk sauce | Karoliina Kazi

The yoghurt sauce is a regular presence in Ottolenghi’s recipes – that’s because it has the ability to round up so many flavours and textures like no other component do. Here, part of the yoghurt has been replaced with buttermilk, which adds an acidity that works wonders with the slightly greasy nature of the aubergine and the sweet pomegranate seeds.

Aubergine with buttermilk sauce | Karoliina KaziAubergine with buttermilk sauce | Karoliina Kazi

Aubergine with buttermilk sauce | Karoliina Kazi

Aubergine with buttermilk sauce | Karoliina Kazi


  1. 6th September 2016 / 8:50 am

    This looks soooo good! Going to try it!

  2. 6th September 2016 / 9:25 am

    wow,such lovely post.ur post makes me want to eat right now.

    • 6th September 2016 / 10:00 am

      Hi Elliot. It’s going to be lunch time soon so why not 🙂

  3. 6th September 2016 / 9:33 am

    Eggplant is an absolute favourite in our house. Can’t wait to give this recipe a try!

    • 6th September 2016 / 10:02 am

      Eggplant is so delicious, cooked in any possible way 🙂

  4. 6th September 2016 / 9:47 am

    The pictures make me wanna have them now. Iv always wanted to learn how to make sauce. This is the recipe for white sauce right? The best thing is if involves vegetables in it. 🙂

    • 6th September 2016 / 11:33 am

      This is a cold sauce and you could also simply replace it with Greek yogurt or sour cream.

    • 6th September 2016 / 1:31 pm

      Se on tosi herkullinen ja helppo tehdä 🙂

    • 6th September 2016 / 7:38 pm

      Glad to hear it, it’s delicious. Like almost anything made with aubergines.

  5. 6th September 2016 / 10:13 pm

    Looks so good!

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