You’ll faint over this delicious Imam Bayildi recipe.
Imam Bayildi is a classic Greek recipe for eggplants stuffed with savory tomatoes, onions and spices. Its roots are in their Ottoman occupied past. The literal translation means “the imam fainted,” of course because this combo of tender eggplants and savory tomatoes tastes so incredibly delicious. This is my go-to dish for both a relatively easy weeknight vegetarian meal, and as a show-stopping meatless marvel at my pop-us dinners. It packs so much flavor, is gorgeous, and incredibly stunning. My Los Angeles personal chef clients absolutely love it.
Imam Bayildi tips
Many traditional recipes call for cooking the eggplants whole. However, it always made more sense to me to halve them, scoop out the flesh and incorporate that into the rest of the filling. That said, when you’re cutting out the middle of the eggplant make sure to leave enough of a lip — at least 1/4 to 1/3 inch — so the shell remains sturdy enough to hold the filling. Once you brush it with olive oil and roast it, it will become luscious and tender. Make sure to be liberal with olive oil in this dish. This recipe is one of Greece’s famous Ladera dishes, meaning that they are saturated in “lathi” olive oil.
When to make Imam Bayildi
This dish is best made in summer when eggplants and tomatoes are at their peak. If you can’t find decent fresh tomatoes, you could use canned/canned crushed tomatoes for the filling. I love using baby heirloom tomatoes, like the ones I received from Melissa’s Produce, because they are sweet and tasty all year round.
Easy vegan adaptation
This vegetarian wonder is mostly vegan. You don’t have to top the eggplants with Feta cheese. If you need another element, I would use toasted pine nuts right at the end for garnish along with fresh herbs like parsley or mint.