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Sumac-spiced aubergine schnitzel and puy lentil tabbouleh


I first properly encountered sumac during my last Vegan Mofo, where I experimented with it during an A to Z of foods I'd never tried before. Sumac made an appearance right at the end, where it played a starring role in my first ever foray into za'atar.

It's been a bit unloved in my spice rack ever since, which is a shame, given it's a lovely flavour.

Handily a recent copy of Vegetarian Living magazine served as inspiration, with a recipe for sumac aubergine schnitzel and feta tabbouleh (you can guess which element of the feta tabbouleh got jettisoned at high speed). While I can't find the original on the Vegetarian Living site, there's a reprint of it here, minus the tabbouleh.

It's not a vegan recipe, but you can easily make it so - ditch the egg for the slurry of your choice (mine's just flour or cornflour and water), and replace the parmesan with some nooch. Other than that, it's just a matter of mixing some breadcrumbs with sumac, mint, nooch, lemon zest and herbs, and slapping it on a thick slice of aubergine (or eggplant, if you're that way inclined).

The tabbouleh wasn't any kind of relation to tabbouleh that I'd ever heard of: puy lentils, red onion, tomato, mint, parsley, cinnamon and allspice. Still, it made a fine pair with the schnitzel.

The original recipe called for the schnitzel to be fried,  but I decided to bake it instead. The middle didn't quite get the squidgy middle it was clearly crying out for, so I guess those recipe writers know what they're talking about!

But the dish was so fresh and light, I still think it was a winner. Got a good sumac recipe? Point me in its direction!

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9 comments

  1. Wow, what a photo! That's a way to sell a dish for sure. It looks beautiful, and I like the way you made the original recipe vegan.

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  2. I love the flavors of sumac and zata'ar but just like you I tend to forget about it for long stretches. Thanks for the reminder.

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  3. I couldn't find sumac locally, and I became absolutely bent on getting it. I ordered it from my favorite spice shop, and then I don't think I ever made a single thing with it! I'm going to check out your za'atar. My sumac needs some loving attention! :)

    You plated the schnitzel beautifully! Even if the middle wasn't as set as you would have preferred, you certainly can't tell in the photograph!

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  4. That's so funny. I just read the za'atar recipe and read my comment underneath it. THAT'S when I ordered the sumac in question. Goodness, it's been in the cupboard a while now!

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  5. This sounds like a fantastic meal and you did a wonderful job with the presentation - it got me drooling! Even though the tabbouleh isn't a traditional version I love the sound of it with puy lentils. I haven't used sumac much at all, I think the jar in my pantry is well past it's best before date.

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  6. I remember you talking about sumac last year, and thinking I wanted to try it. Still haven't! I've also never had "schnitzel" - hardly even know what it is. Which is good in a way, it means there are many, many more food frontiers to be conquered.

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  7. I recently had aubergine sushi with sumac on it, and it was INcredible! I can imagine this being especially delicious with the addition of za'atar.

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  8. mmmm yum! I'm so going to try a gf version of this.
    I've got a sumac store too, it tastes great but I'm not confident using it yet- like you... we've got some exploring to do!

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  9. I still don't really know what sumac is but that schnitzel looks pretty rad. Me thinks I need to hunt some down and experiment.

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