Yotam Ottolenghi’s Chermoula Eggplant With Bulgur and Yogurt Recipe (2024)

Recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Adapted by Tara Parker-Pope

Yotam Ottolenghi’s Chermoula Eggplant With Bulgur and Yogurt Recipe (1)

Total Time
About 1 hour 30 minutes
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A mixture of herbs and spices used in North African cooking, chermoula is often used to season fish. In this recipe from "Jerusalem," the famed Middle Eastern cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi, it is rubbed over eggplant, which is then roasted and topped with a tabbouleh-like salad. —Tara Parker-Pope

Featured in: Thanksgiving From Jerusalem

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Yield:4 servings

  • 2cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon peel (available in stores)
  • cup olive oil, plus extra to finish
  • 2medium eggplants
  • 1cup fine bulgur
  • cup boiling water
  • cup golden raisins
  • tablespoons warm water
  • ounce (2 teaspoons) cilantro, chopped, plus extra to finish
  • ounce (2 teaspoons) mint, chopped
  • cup pitted green olives, halved
  • cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 3green onions, chopped
  • tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½cup Greek yogurt (optional)
  • Salt

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

652 calories; 45 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 30 grams monounsaturated fat; 5 grams polyunsaturated fat; 59 grams carbohydrates; 16 grams dietary fiber; 19 grams sugars; 13 grams protein; 1144 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Yotam Ottolenghi’s Chermoula Eggplant With Bulgur and Yogurt Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Step


    To make the chermoula, mix together in a small bowl the garlic, cumin, coriander, chili, paprika, preserved lemon, two-thirds of the olive oil, and ½ teaspoon salt.

  3. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise. Score the flesh of each half with deep, diagonal crisscross cuts, making sure not to pierce the skin. Spoon the chermoula over each half, spreading it evenly, and place the eggplant halves on a baking sheet, cut side up. Put in the oven and roast for 40 minutes, or until the eggplants are completely soft.

  4. Step


    Meanwhile, place the bulgur in a large bowl and cover with the boiling water.

  5. Step


    Soak the raisins in the warm water. After 10 minutes, drain the raisins and add them to the bulgur, along with the remaining oil. Add the herbs, olives, almonds, green onions, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

  6. Step


    Serve the eggplants warm or at room temperature. Place ½ eggplant, cut side up, on each individual plate. Spoon the bulgur on top, allowing some to fall from both sides. Spoon over some yogurt, sprinkle with cilantro and finish with a drizzle of oil.



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Cooking Notes


It is a bit silly. Use 1/2 cup oil in Step 2. Use 3 T in Step 5. Close enough.


This was quite yummy--vegetarian dinner guests loved it. Followed recipe, but added abt 1 T pomegranate molasses to bulghur, and replaced preserved lemon peel with fresh lemon zest. It's very complex and a little dry, so give a healthy drizzle of olive oil and serve with moist accompanimetns things--I served with garlicky white bean soup w/greens and Greek salad w/ warm bread. mmmm


I have been making this regularly since I bought Ottolenghi's excellent Jerusalem cookbook. It is delicious and stands up to lots of substitutions. If you don't have bulgar, use couscous, or really any other grain, although a quick cooking grain is easiest.


My husband makes this every couple weeks, just delicious. He replaces the almonds with pine nuts, which I like better. Also, half an eggplant is usually enough for one person. Make sure you store the extra portions before you add the yogurt in too, so they can be reheated later.

Meg Moritz

Instead of cutting the eggplant in half I sliced it into rounds, each about one half inch thick. I made enough chermoula to generously cover each round. I also let covered slices marinate for 30 minutes before baking them. Using rounds not only reduces the cooking time but also imo makes for an improved eggplant to spice and bulgar ratio. It's a great combination, a big hit whenever I've served it.

Sean Gallagher

Diner's suggestion: up the mint.


This dish is delicious and makes a beautiful presentation. And I agree with the writer who suggested increasing the mint -- and cilantro, too -- to finish the bulgur. The eggplant makes a lovely vegetarian main course, but supplement the meal with a hearty middle eastern salad. Or do as I did, and serve it alongside chicken shawarma or kebabs. The chermoula as directed yielded enough for 6 halves (3 smallish eggplants).


One of the best dishes Ive ever made. Make a little extra Chermoula and put a tablespoon in with the bulgur before adding boiling water. Yumm.


from Comments:
• The eggplant makes a lovely vegetarian main course, but supplement the meal with a hearty middle eastern salad or greek salad.
• Easier directions for using the olive oil:
Use 1/2 cup oil in Step 2.
Use 3 T in Step 5. Close enough.


I find his recipes needlessly fiddly and overly complicated on technique. India home cooks toss off this kind of thing on a daily basis. Next time I will cube eggplant and cook as a subzi with the same flavorings, adjusted to my palate - will add tamarind to provide fruitiness and tang.
Flavors felt very North Indian to me. Eggplant was ok, I used quinoa as the grain and the herbaceous finish was nice.


The perfect vegetarian dinner. As always, Ottolenghi rocks. I follow the recipe, but made some changes on the presentation. Served with coucous on the side and doubled the herb,almond, olives mix used for the bulgur, adding half of it to the coucous and the other half mixed with the Greek yogurt. I have used 2 tabps of the yogurt mix for topping the eggplants and the rest served on the side. Excellent. Serve eggplant lightly warm or room temperature. Great. A winner


We loved this. Two things...if you cannot find fine bulgar, cook the bulgar according to the package instructions, then proceed. We used red whole grain bulgar and it was very crunchy when prepared according to the recipe. Also reduce red pepper flakes if people are less keen on spicy notes. Make sure the eggplant is cooked to REALLY soft texture.


can do 1 day ahead; replace preserved lemon peel w/ fresh lemon zest; can use quinos or couscousAlt: slice eggplant into 1/2" thick rounds. I made enough chermoula to generously cover each round. I also let covered slices marinate for 30 minutes before baking them. Using rounds not only reduces the cooking time but also imo makes for an improved eggplant to spice and bulgar ratio. It's a great combination, a big hit whenever I've served it.


Added half a teaspoon of sumac and squeezed a bit of fresh lemon for the chermoula (left the lemon peel out). 1/2 cup olive oil for the chermoula was just right. Subbed pine nuts for the almonds and labne for the greek yogurt. Fantastic meal!


Does Ms. Parker-Pope really want cooks to use 2/3 of 2/3 of a cup to make the chermoula and then the rest, never mind the additional for drizzling before serving, for the bulgur?

I used 2/3 C. for the *chermoula*, and of course, this depends on the size or sizes of the eggplants used, but based on the result of the roasting, I would guess that a full 2/3 C. for the chermoula was too much.

I wrote to Ms. Parker-Pope through the NYT website, but my query didn't go through.

Can someone help?


Do you need to score and draw out the water from the eggplant first?


This is one of my basic, easy, quick go to recipes that turns out delicious every time. I double the Chermoula sauce to pour over the eggplant and use dried cranberries, instead of raisins for a tastier pop, and sub Greek yogurt for nonfat European yogurt because it’s smoother and has a bit of tartness. HOMERUN each time!!


This was ok, 2 out of three stars


Delicious. To add flavor to the eggplant, I quartered legthwise, sliced 1/2" thick, tossed with paprika, salt and turmeric then pan fried in a bit of the chermoula oil until brown. Poured the chermoula over and heated in oven. Used kamut instead of bulgur because that's what I had. Will definitely make again.


Delicious! I took me less than one hour, not 1.5 hours. I used quinoa instead of bulgar because that’s what’s in my pantry.

Caro d'Ottawa

I made this recipe exactly as written and it's absolutely fabulous! Every mouthful is an explosion of exotic flavours that makes you feel like you're indulging in a 5 star restaurant. So good! Although I said I made it as written, I used freekeh and toasted pine nuts rather than cracked wheat and almonds, because that's what I had.


Follow the recipe- it’s perfect.


Made this with brown rice instead of bulgur and it was equally nutty and delicious. Two of us polished off an entire eggplant. The toppings were a huge hit!


To make this gluten free I’ve used Fonio and quinoa on separate occasions. Both excellent subs for the bulgur. I despise the excessive sweetness of golden raisins, therefore sub currants and prefer not soak them so they provide a bit more of a pop. Regardless of the grain used, I recommend almost doubling the herbs, preserved lemon, olives and almonds that go in the grain mix. An involved recipe for sure, but well worth it. It also holds very well in the fridge for a day or two.


Wow this was truly delicious! I made a half portion for 2 people and only changes were replacing bulgar with quinoa and Kalamata olives instead of green using what I already had on hand. My husband is always suspicious of vegetarian entrees but he cleaned his plate! Will definitely make this again!


Eggplant loves oil and salt and this recipe could use more of both.Salt the eggplant in Step 3. Increase oil in Step 2 to 2/3 cup. Use 3 T in Step 5.If it is a main event, double the recipe for the bulgur salad.Remove the green onion. It subtracts, not adds, to the flavor profile of the salad.


No olives


Delicious and very forgiving recipe. No bulgar? Can sub couscous. No raisins? Figs work too. No preserved lemon? Minced lemon rind + lemon juice + sweet balsamic does the trick. No almonds? Try pine nuts. Ofc go for originally specified ingredients if possible, but know that variations are totally possible with great results. I served with a pile of fresh herbs and a side of homemade hummus. Will be making again and again...


Loved this recipe and will be adding it into the regular rotation. Doubled the garlic and used a bit more oil as my eggplants were on the larger side. Didn’t have bulgur so substituted basmati rice which was a fantastic substitution. To others’ points below, this dish is on the drier side so would recommend serving it with yogurt or another sauce/dip.

Josh Wilson

Tamarind paste makes a great substitute for preserved lemon and holds up well under high heat.

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Yotam Ottolenghi’s Chermoula Eggplant With Bulgur and Yogurt Recipe (2024)
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