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 the 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 Recipe
Smoky Roasted Eggplant Soup with Za'atar. Fat Free.
- 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.