Aubergine pitta pockets with pomegranate tabbouleh recipe image

Print Aubergine pitta pockets with pomegranate tabbouleh

I remember pomegranates being a laborious fruit to deal with when I was young, sitting for ages picking out seed after seed with a cocktail stick. To save you from this drudgery, a quick tip: cut your pomegranate in half, hold one half in your cupped hand, cut side facing down, and smack the bottom with a wooden spoon. The seeds should rain down into your palm.

Ingredients

  • 2 aubergines
  • 80g bulgur wheat
  • Olive oil
  • ½ pomegranate
  • 50g walnuts
  • 30g fresh parsley
  • 15g fresh mint
  • 1 orange
  • 50g salad leaves
  • Oil for frying, e.g. vegetable or light olive
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp harissa
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 100ml yoghurt
  • 4 pittas
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Remove the green tops from the aubergines and cut them widthways into half cm thick discs. Sprinkle them with a little salt and leave to sit for 15 minutes. Meanwhile put a kettle on to boil. In the large bowl, mix the bulgur with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt.
  2. When the water boils, pour enough over the bulgur to cover it by 1 inch. Cover the bowl tightly with clingfilm and put to one side. Remove the seeds from one half of the pomegranate (see cook’s note). Roughly chop the walnuts.
  3. Wash the parsley and mint, shake them dry and pick the leaves off, discarding the stalks. Zest and juice the orange. Wash, drain and dry half the pack of salad leaves. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the frying pan. Lay in as many aubergine slices as you can in one layer. Fry until coloured on both sides.
  4. Put to one side and repeat in batches until they are all cooked. Aubergines like to soak up olive oil so you’ll need to add a little more to the pan as you go to keep them frying. While the aubergines are frying, peel and finely slice the garlic cloves and roughly chop the tomatoes.
  5. Add the garlic and tomatoes to the pan when the aubergines have all been fried, along with the harissa, cinnamon, sugar and 100ml of water. Cook the tomato mix for 5 minutes until starting to soften and collapse.
  6. Add the aubergines back into the pan and cook gently for another 5 minutes while you make the tabbouleh. Roughly chop the parsley and mint leaves. Uncover the bulgur – it should be cooked but with a slight chew to it. Drain away any remaining water.
  7. Add the pomegranate seeds, chopped walnuts and orange zest to the bowl along with half the chopped herbs, 2 tablespoons of orange juice and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix the tabbouleh well and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. The aubergines should now be a tasty, soft and tangled mess. Add 2 tablespoons of yoghurt to the aubergines and bring to a simmer. Throw in the remaining herbs. Season to your taste with salt and pepper. Grill or toast the pittas. Split them open and stuff with the aubergines and plenty of salad leaves.
  9. Serve with the tabbouleh and the remaining yoghurt.
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