A smoky, delicious roasted eggplant soup flavored with the Middle Eastern spice mix, za'atar. This is a fat-free, gluten-free, vegan recipe.
I am a little obsessed with eggplants. The very idea of cooking with them, and eating them, makes me giddy with excitement. And when I can use eggplant in one of my favorite winter foods -- a soup -- I literally go weak at the knees.
And I can't think of a better way to showcase the amazing flavors of eggplant other than this Roasted Eggplant Soup. It is free of added oils but packed with flavor, thanks to the eggplant and to za'atar, that incredibly delicious Middle Eastern spice blend. I did add an optional element -- some cashew cream -- stirred in at the end to add even more creaminess to this already creamy soup, but if you want to stay pristinely fat-free, avoid it altogether. The soup's still amazing without it.
For this Roasted Eggplant Soup, I riffed off a recipe by David Tanis, but I tweaked it a lot to keep out any added oil (the original has five tablespoons of oil and it sounds fabulous, but eeks!) This is such an easy soup to make, you can stir it up while you dust the furniture, talk to your best bud on the phone, and juggle the laundry -- all at the same time. The eggplant roasts itself, and the only time you need to invest is to chop up some onions and garlic and blend up the soup at the end. Oh, and I forgot -- you have to squeeze a lemon.
The smoky eggplant is so good in this soup, you will find it a satisfying meal on its own. But if you absolutely need some protein, which is not a bad idea, serve it with this easy Mango Chipotle Glazed Tofu. And for another delicious za'atar recipe, try my Roasted Squash Dip.
Roasted Eggplant Soup
- 1 large eggplant (halved)
- 2 medium onions (either white or yellow, chopped)
- 6 large cloves garlic (peeled)
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon roasted cumin seeds
- 3-6 cups vegetable stock (or water)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon za'atar
- 1 tablespoon parsley (chopped)
- 2 tablespoon cashews (optional)
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Have the eggplant lengthwise, then place it cut side down on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Roast for 30 minutes in a 425 degree oven, or as long as it takes for a fork to pierce all the way through the center without any resistance.
- Blend the cashews with ¼ cup water into a very smooth paste. Set aside.
- Place the onions and the garlic in a large pot with ¼ cup of vegetable stock or water.
- Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Scrape the flesh of the eggplant off the skin using a spoon and chop into smaller bits. This should be quite easy once the eggplant has roasted. Add to the onions and garlic along with 2 cups of water or stock.
- Add salt and ground black pepper to taste, cumin, and cayenne and stir in.
- Turn off the heat. Transfer the soup to a blender and blend until very smooth. Add more water or stock if needed, and to adjust the thickness of the soup to your liking. Be very careful while handling very hot fluids. Wait for the soup to cook a little, if you'd rather.
- Pour the blended soup back into the pot and stir in the lemon juice, za'atar and parsley. Heat through.
- Pour into bowls and stir in some cashew cream into each bowl if using. Serve hot.
I need to try this variation of babaghanoush, which is what I was raised with. But, never had it with za'ater, which is what I was also raised with! Thank you for the recipe, which just populated on my screen when I logged on tonight. Happy New Year!
Hi Madeleine, hope you try it, and happy new year!
Thank you for these wonderful fat-free recipe ideas. Sounds yummy and love the color of the soup. Not all fats are bad and we do need to consume some fats to keep our body functions going. I've bookmarked your squash dip recipe, as well, and will be making it over the weekend. With kids, i am constantly trying to create new dips and sauces for their lunch box wraps. Za’atar is indeed a versatile spice blend, but what you find in the market often lack the one crucial ingredient that makes the original blend so flavorful -- real zaatar herb, and in good portion. After searching around for a quality mix like the one gifted by a friend from a trip to the Middle East, I found the best Za'atar from https://www.eatzaatar.com. Their blends contain 30% of zaatar herb grown in Lebanon.
I made this over the weekend, it was delicious! I might've added too much of the Za'atar at first so it was very spicy. I added a splash of almond milk and some kala namak to balance it out. The kala namak did overwhelm the flavors a bit, but I could still taste all the spices and it tasted very different from any other soup I've made. Thank you for the great recipe!
Krithika, glad you tried it, and thanks for letting me know how it worked out.
My partner loves soups. She is going to like this for dinner 🙂 Thanks for the recipe
There is fat... and then there is FAT. Quality food vs junk food.
Hi Nupur, that sounds like my dream come true. 🙂 Eat more fat for weight loss. It does make sense and I will be sure to read up on it. The soup would certainly taste even better than it already does with a huge dollop of tahini-- or two.
Like McDougall says, the fat you eat is the fat you wear. Don't buy the fat hype, it is a sales gimmick that people enjoy. Our bodies run on glucose, not fat, especially our brains. The myth about eating fat because your brain is made of fat is just ignorance, that isn't how it works!
Vaishali- I've seen huge improvements last year in my weight and health and a lot of that came from eating more fats and not less- they keep you full longer and help you absorb nutrients. This is a delicious soup (I love eggplant in all its forms)- I'd add dollops of tahini for good fats and maybe eat with some salad-with-avocado on the side. Just my two cents. I wish you a wonderful new year!
Fats as they come in plant foods are fine health wise, but animal fats and extracted oils are not even food just the caloric waste product left over after the fiber and nutrients have been processed out, I had T2 diabetes which is caused by intramyocellular lipids, fat in your cells, and cutting all added fat and eating a whole food plant based diet eliminated it. I know not everyone has it, but the cause is what you are recommending.