Braised Fairytale Eggplant w/ Basil Oil

August 31, 2022


Drizzled in a fresh green basil-infused olive oil and topped with crispy garlic, this eggplant is braised until meltingly tender and bathed in a complex tomato and pomegranate molasses sauce that is shockingly easy to make. We recommend serving this with fresh pita bread!



¾ lb Local Roots fairytale eggplant
2 tbsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic
8 oz canned tomato puree
¼ cup pomegranate molasses
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground coriander
1 bunch basil
1 tbsp olive oil
freshly ground black pepper



    1. Wash the fairytale eggplant, then slice each eggplant in half. You can leave the stem on for aesthetic purposes or slice it off.
    2. Heat a pan to medium heat and drizzle in 2 tbsp of olive oil. Lay the eggplant in the pan cut side down, in one layer. You may have to sear the eggplant in batches. Cook until the eggplant is golden brown on one side and just starting to tenderize. It is important to sear the eggplant to prevent it from completely breaking down while braising and also removes some of the bitter flavor that eggplant can contain.
    3. While the eggplant is searing, peel and finely mince 5 cloves of garlic.
    4. Set aside the seared eggplant. In the same pan, toast the minced garlic until golden brown. Remove half of the toasted garlic and set aside in a small bowl to be used as garnish.
    5. To the remaining garlic in the pan, add in the 8 oz of tomato puree, 2 cups of water, ¼ cup of pomegranate molasses, 1 ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp ground cumin, and ¼ tsp ground coriander. Stir together and bring to a simmer.
    6. Add the seared eggplant to the sauce and simmer for 30 minutes, or until tender. You want the eggplant to be softened but still hold its shape.
    7. While the eggplant is braising, wash and finely chop the basil leaves. Add the basil, 1 tbsp of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and freshly ground black pepper to a bowl and stir together. Set aside to infuse.
    8. When the eggplant is tender and almost melting in texture, plate. Drizzle the eggplant in the basil oil and top with the crispy garlic garnish. Enjoy with warm pita bread or rice.


    This recipe was created by Local Roots contributor Irena Huang / @irena__huang

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