Do you ever go to a falafel joint and not order a falafel? Me neither. It’s too hard, like going to Shake Shack and skipping the ShackBurger. As a happy medium, at the falafel place I’ll occasionally add an extra ingredient to my sandwich: fried eggplant.
I love eggplant, always. When fried, the slices adds a lusciousness to the sandwich, as if the smooth tahini sauce and rich falafel weren’t enough.
Were you to scroll your eyes down the menu at a falafel joint and squint at the listings below the main event, you might notice an option called “Sabich Sandwich.” An Israeli alternative to the falafel, the sandwich is made of egg, eggplant, and tahini sauce.
It has has a murky origin but a bright future in my life: it’s easy to make at home if you bake rather than fry the eggplant, healthful without being austere, and satisfying because it’s still plenty rich. Here’s my version, which fits into my brown bag lunch routine beautifully.
(I make the eggplant and hard-boiled eggs in advance, then whip together the herby tahini sauce and assemble the sandwich when I want to eat or pack lunch.)
This sponsored post is part of an ongoing collaboration with Sargento, called Flavor Journey. Throughout the year, with the support of Sargento, I’m exploring Middle Eastern cuisine–at home, in Brooklyn, and wherever the flavors may take me. Sponsored posts let me do some of my best work on this blog, and I only ever work with brands whose values and products mesh with the content I love to produce for you. You can read my affiliate disclosure here.
Makes 2 sandwiches, not necessarily all at the same time, and you can easily scale amounts up or down
If you have pickles around – preferably ones with some spice – feel free to sub them for the cucumber to make this more authentic. Slices of tomato in summer would be welcome too.
1 small eggplant
1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced thinly lengthwise
1/4 cup tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice, from about 2 lemons
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoon olive oil
About 1 teaspoon minced fresh cilantro
About 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon minced jalepeño (just the flesh, not the seeds; optional)
4 slices good bread, or 2 pita, tops cut off
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Slice the eggplant and lay the slices on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Salt them well, then flip and salt again. Let rest for about 20 minutes. Press down on the eggplant slices with paper towels to remove a lot of the moisture. Toss in a bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil, then arrange in one layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the edges are dark brown. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. You can make these up to 2 days in advance.
Meanwhile, boil the eggs: place both eggs in a small stockpot. Add cold water to cover. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Keep an eye on the pot. As soon as it boils, turn off the heat. Let the eggs sit for 7 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and run under cold water until cool to the touch. You can do this up to 5 days in advance. Store the cooled eggs in the fridge.
Whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, 2 teaspoon olive oil, herbs, and jalepeno until creamy. Add a pinch of salt and taste; add more if you like.
For each sandwich: spread all the slices of bread (or the pita) with tahini sauce. Peel and slice the hardboiled egg and layer it on top. Sprinkle with salt. Layer about 4 slices of roasted eggplant, then cover with the cucumber. Top the sandwich with the second tahini-lined slice of bread. Cut in half if you wish!