Grilled veggies with za’atar yoghurt

This last month seems to have flown by in a flurry of activity, and I have popped my head up to find that we are in November already with the weather warming up and Christmas trees springing up all around! It has been a very busy month and I was lucky enough to attend some wonderful events including the launch of the stunning new NoMU Baking Kit range, a fun “Cook With Spice” workshop and a delightful evening at Sinns Restaurant with the Come Wine With Me bunch. My family and I also managed a very short but lovely trip up the east coast to Hermanus. This in between all of the usual running around and family commitments – I am sure you know how it goes!

I have also been working on some more challenges (because apparently I just cannot say no to these). Hot on the heels of October’s nougat challenge I am currently busy with three others, but I will share more about these later in the month.

So after a fair amount of indulgence, not to mention my last few sugar-laden posts, and with the Cape summer now in full swing I thought it would be a good idea to post something a little lighter and healthier this week. If you are unfamiliar with za’atar it is a spice blend usually containing sesame seeds, sumac and herbs. Za’atar blends can vary, but what remains the same is their versatility – you can enjoy za’atar with just about anything!

I have eaten za’atar chicken a few times, and while you can’t go wrong with this combination I wanted to create a recipe for something I hadn’t had before. Za’atar is delicious with roasted or grilled vegetables, but rather than spicing up the veggies themselves I decided to experiment with a za’atar yoghurt dressing. The result was a creamy and beautifully flavoured dressing which complemented the vegetables without overpowering them. I can’t wait to try this za’atar yoghurt of chicken and lamb too!


For the za’atar yoghurt:

  • 150g Greek yoghurt
  • 1½ tsp za’atar
  • ¼ tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

For the veggies:

  • 1 aubergine, cut into 1cm slices
  • fine salt
  • 1 medium butternut, cut into 1½cm slices and deseeded
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 3 baby marrows, topped and tailed

1.) Prepare the za’atar yoghurt by combining the Greek yoghurt, za’atar, garlic and lemon juice in a bowl. Grind some salt and pepper over the top and mix well. Cover and refrigerate.

2.) Lay the aubergine slices out on a tray and sprinkle with a large pinch of fine salt. Allow to stand for 20 minutes, the pat dry with a piece of kitchen towel.

3.) Heat a griddle pan over a medium heat. Brush the butternut slices with some of the olive oil and cook on the griddle for 8-10 minutes per side, or until the butternut is cooked through. Set aside in a warm place.

4.) Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil and cook for approximately 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Set aside in a warm place.

5.) Brush the red pepper chunks with olive oil. Place skin side down on the same griddle pan. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the skins start to char. Turn them over and cook for another few minutes until they start to become tender but still have some crunch. Remove from the pan and set aside.

6.) Use a potato peeler to cut the baby marrows into ribbons. By now your griddle pan should be well oiled, so pop the ribbons straight in and cook for 5-6 minutes or until tender.

7.) Peel the skin off the butternut slices. Arrange the grilled vegetables on a platter and serve immediately with the za’atar yoghurt.

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