Food & dining

A vegetarian meal of grilled eggplant with bold harissa mayo and peppery arugula on pita

Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe

Serves 4

To make a bold sauce for grilled eggplant, start with mayo and stir in harissa, the bright-red North African pepper paste that comes both spicy and mild (available at specialty grocers). Grilled pita rounds hold slices of grilled eggplant and a lightly dressed arugula salad. Many Middle Eastern cooks use ground sumac to give salads a citrus-like zip. Sprinkle each open-faced salad with a pinch, if you like. Serve with a fork and knife or let guests roll up their sandwiches — and risk wearing their dinner.

cup mayonnaise
1tablespoon harissa, or more to taste
3 or 4 baby eggplants (about 1½ pounds), cut lengthwise into -inch planks
3tablespoons olive oil
½teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
4small pita breads (5 inches across)
cups baby arugula
12cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
¼small red onion, thinly sliced
2teaspoons lemon juice
Sumac (for sprinkling, optional)

1. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for medium high heat.

2. In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise and harissa; set aside.


3. In another bowl, combine eggplant, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, cumin, salt, and pepper. Toss well.

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

4. Transfer eggplant to the grill and cook 2 to 3 minutes on a side, or until the eggplant is tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Transfer to a cutting board. Set pita rounds on the grill and cook 1 minute on a side, or until starting to brown.

5. Cut the eggplant into long strips.

6. In a bowl, toss arugula, tomatoes, red onion, lemon juice, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper.

7. Place 1 pita bread on each of 4 plates. Spread harissa-mayonnaise on each round. Top with eggplant and arugula salad. Garnish with a sprinkle of sumac, if you like.
Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Karoline Boehm Goodnick can be reached at