I think we were all a little worried yesterday when I turned the flame on the stovetop to high and plopped an eggplant on top of it.

And then grilled it.

On my stove.

In my defense, it was sunny with blue skies outside.  Definite grilling weather.

I was cooking with the seasons.


At least that was what I told Sophie when she tapped me so politely on the shoulder and said, “Uh, Joanne.  Something’s burning.”

Nope.  Not burning.  Well, yes burning.  But intentionally so.

(And no, in all of my arsonist fun I did not throw my review book or my index cards onto the smoldering flames.  But don’t think that that thought didn’t cross my mind.)


It’s just that, you know.  Sometimes when it feels like summer, you have to ignore fire safety laws and grill things on your stovetop. That’s just the way life is.


This was probably one of the first recipes that caught my eye in Ottolenghi’s eponymous first cookbook.  For, I think, obvious reasons.

Roasted butternut squash.  Eggplant.  Pomegranate molasses.  And a good healthy dose of playing with fire.

It’s like he delved into my head and created something based on the myriad crazy things he found there.  (And yeah, I think we’re all a little bit lucky that he stopped at “playing with fire”.  He must have gotten the PG-13 version of my brain.)

And, I’m going to be honest with you, I was unsure of how much I liked the finish product. At least at first.  I made that eggplant puree and tasted it.  Arched my eyebrows in quite the doubtful way.  Headed off  to the gym.  And came back to find that the flavors had melded quite beautifully.

The burnt smoky eggplant pureed with the sweet-tart pomegranate molasses and thrown atop roasted butternut squash that has caramelized oh so nicely in your oven.  That you, to top it all off, absolutely must eat with your hands.

Definitely worth almost burning down your apartment for.  Definitely.

Picnik collage

Roasted Butternut Squash with Burnt Aubergine and Pomegranate Molasses
Serves 4 as a side dish, 2 as a main, adapted from Ottolenghi, The Cookbook

1 large butternut squash
1 tbsp green, unsalted pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
10 g sliced almonds
Basil leaves, for serving
sea salt, freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:
1 medium eggplant
150 g greek yogurt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp cilantro
1 clove garlic

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Trim the top and bottom half of the butternut squash and cut squash lengthwise.  Remove the seeds.  Cut each half into 2 cm wedges.  Place the wedges on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Spray with cooking spray or brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Roast for 30-35 minutes or until fork-tender.  Remove from the oven and let cool.

2. Reduce the oven temperature to 350.  Mix together all of the seeds and almonds and scatter on a baking sheet.  Toast for 5-8 minutes or until slightly brown and fragrant.

3. For the sauce, if you have a grill (which I do not) place the eggplant on the very hot grill for 30 minutes or until the skin has clearly cracked and the eggplant feels heavy and soft.  Or, do what I did, which is line the stovetop around one of your burners with aluminum foil.  With the heat on medium-high, place the eggplant on top of the grate above the flame.  Roast for about 13-14 minutes, turning frequently, or until eggplant skin is crack and the eggplant feels heavy and soft, as described above.  Let cool for a few minutes.  Make a long cut through the eggplant and scoop out the flesh. Leave the flesh to drain in a colander for a few minutes, then chop it roughly.

4. In a bowl, mix together the eggplant, yogurt, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, cilantro, and garlic.  If you wish for smoother consistency, through it in the food processor and give it a whirl.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Place the squash on a serving plate, sprinkle with seeds and basil, and serve with the eggplant sauce.

Picnik collage

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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102 Responses to Roasted Butternut Squash and Burnt Aubergine (Eggplant) with Pomegranate Molasses

  1. Wow! Look at this… so many wonderful flavors all in one dish. I’ve always loved crispy eggplant, so I would no doubt love this.

  2. Simply Life says:

    oh i love this idea -what a fun mix of ingredients!

  3. bellini says:

    Yay for the outdoor grill which I even fire up in a Canadian winter.

  4. I love the part about your cooking with the seasons! that is what all cooks should try to do because it brings out the best flavors of the food we are cooking with and plus, when you are using great fresh ingredients- they do all the work for ya! this looks like the best thing you have made so far in my book! Don’t know why i love it so much but i do!

  5. I need to start eating dinner at your place!

  6. Shannon says:

    Butternut squash and eggplant in one dish?! You just made my Friday!

  7. janet says:

    I had this bookmarked for the longest time – even bought nigella seeds – but it will be on deck for the new house, where I will have a gas stove!! Glad to hear you liked it! 🙂

  8. Candace says:

    I’m game! I would definitely give this a try. It looks so yummy! Wishing you the best today!

  9. brandi says:

    i think I have to find some pom molasses. yum.

  10. this recipe combines ALL of my favorite foods. can we continue eating butternut squash well into the summer? I’m not ready for it just to be a winter/ fall food. I’m attached!

  11. This sounds so delicious! I love all of the flavors and ingredients in this dish. I wonder how Jake would feel about me “grilling” on the stovetop…? LOL

  12. Joanne says:

    I’m not so sure about the puree, but that roasted butternut squash … Wow! I could make a perfect lunch out of that 🙂

  13. Johanna GGG says:

    I wish I was brave enough to grill on my stovetop – never done it – but I think I would love this dish – I have already bookmarked it in fact – – fortunately I was not the kid in my family with pyromaniac tendencies – that was left to my brother who was always in trouble – curious kid!

  14. Lora says:

    I am completely intrigued by that burnt aubergine and love your mad grilling improv skills.

  15. Kristin says:

    I really wish they carried pom molasses out here because I would make this asap! Not one thing doesn’t sound good in this recipe.

  16. Amy says:

    Eggplant is another one of those foods that I LOVE, but whenever I try and serve it, the kids give me that scrunched-up-nose-heavy-sigh-I’d-rather-give-up-watching-Curious-George-for-a-week-than-eat-that looks.

    Having an OUTdoor grill is life changing. Just wait. You’ll see some day 😀

  17. That Girl says:

    See, this is where I wish I had an extra grill pan to send you. I hope your landlord, or the fire marshall don’t see this!

  18. You are already grilling? Even though sunny, its so so windy in Vegas these days that its hard to be outdoors for long.I m still waiting for the wind monsters to go away.Charred eggplant is one of the best way to eat it.And you mixed it with another of my fav-greek yogurt..YUM! I like this simple, flavorful spring meal.

  19. U know what , i jus finished chopping a salad to add to the aubergine i grilled here:-)
    And i grilled it under the griller , which i more a broiler than griller , and i had to make a trip to my other residence to do it coz the cooking appliances seem to be taking ages to connect , thannxx to the gas company , but it so worth it.
    And no , i tried the burner top the other day and had ash all over the place.
    Oh and i love the ”cooking with the seasons” and grilling weather , will stop before i go on ranting how this is ”more” than grilling weather and how very HOT, it is here, hidin in the airconed home is what i look for more than anything 🙂

  20. This is why I love your blog. Besides your wit, humor, etc, you always experiment with the wildest flavor combinations. I love it.

  21. I can’t wait to try this,but maybe I’ll try it on the outdoor barbecue since I am in So. Cal. The carmelized squash looks like perfection!

  22. Mo Diva says:

    that looks fab.
    and i think i would take that egg plant, toss some sea salt on it and go to town. I love soft fleshy eggplant pulp!

  23. Yummmy…looks awesome!it is a reminiscent of an indian dish called baingan bharta!

  24. Mary says:

    The combination sounds wild but you once again pulled it off. What time is dinner? I hope you have a great weekend. Blessings…Mary

  25. Sonia says:

    Hi Joanne, This is looking absolutely delightful dish. Very nicely made and presented. I wud love to give it a shot on the coming weekend… Have a great day !

  26. Cara says:

    ha! I’ve done the same thing on my gas burner, enough times now that my husband can accept this practice. Good thing my mother is not around (I’m pretty sure she’s scared of gas burners in general, the same way she is about sharp knives – no, she’d rather use unsafe dull ones.) Anywho. I thought you had everything I needed in life in that lentil, eggplant, and pomegranate dish and now you have to go throw this out there. Squash! Oh man, is it lunch time yet?

    ps – so excited for Sunday!

  27. Mo 'Betta says:

    I’ve never seen nor heard of pomegranate molasses, but I want some!

  28. Looks delicious! My kids love eggplant, not so much me, but I’d try because it looks too good not to taste! Saving this one, thanks!

  29. Corina says:

    I think I need to start some of that playing with fire in my apartment!

  30. Yet another Eats-Well-With-Others recipe with pomegranate molasses. I have to make me some soon!!!

  31. Interesting that the eggplant is served with butternut squash as the ‘carb’. I hope you made extra since the sauce would go well with toast/pita.

  32. The butternut squash looks amazing! Too pretty to eat (OK, maybe not, I would totally eat that)!

    Camila F.

  33. RamblingTart says:

    I am not a fan of eggplant, Joanne, but you intrigue me with this version. It looks more like a dip than just mushy gray pieces of blech. 🙂 LOVE the color of the squash too. Yep, I’d eat this in a hot second. 🙂

  34. Swathi says:

    We make curry with roasted eggplant. Love them in any form. this roasted butternut squash is die for. Love them too.

  35. Julie says:

    i was just saying yesterday how it was PERFECT weather for grilling! great minds think alike haha but yours is clearly greater because i didn’t grill anything and you used your stove to grill <--geeenius

  36. Martha (MM) says:

    You never cease to amaze me Joanne! YUM!!!

  37. Barbara says:

    That’s one charred eggplant, kiddo. I roast mine in the oven…whole, as well. Had some for dinner tonight. It IS grey, isn’t it? And takes such a ghastly photo, but I love it anyway.
    Have got to try this and I even have some pomegrante molasses too.

  38. That is one beautifully charred eggplant! Not my favorite but that butternut squash is calling my name.

  39. Reeni says:

    I’m glad to see someone else cooking squash at this time of year! Two of my favorite things in the world – this looks delicious – love the pomegranate molasses.

  40. La Liz says:

    You’ve cornered the market on pomegranate molasses. Never met an eggplant I didn’t like, and this looks yummy. Good luck on the Marathon. You’re going to shine!

  41. Kerstin says:

    I love everything about this – eggplant should be used in sauces more often!

  42. Lol! Your room mates could learn a thing or two from you. I mean, if we can do this with bell peppers, why not eggplant?

    Where in the world do you get or come up with all these amazing recipes?


  43. oh you just have the most beautiful-looking delicious recipes that always seem to jive EXACTLY with my tastebuds. this looks like SUCH a wonderful meal… i cant wait to roast an eggplant over my own stove haha (i just went to a north african restaurant yesterday and had a spinach-cheese stuffed (also charred) eggplant – this reminds me of that delicious meal!)

  44. Way to show some serious restraint by not ‘accidently’ torching your index cards! 😉 I remember those frieking things when I was in school, a mixed blessing for sure.
    So eggplant happens to be my numero uno fav veggie…. this week 😉 This reminds me of authentic Baba Ganoush which is made using smoked eggplant. Love it.
    Oh, hey, if you get tired of all that POM juice I’ll swing by your pad and take some off your hands. Phx isn’t to far from N.Y. right?

  45. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    I love your pictures and I love your healthy eating habits. Pass some of that over my way…ok?

    I’m also totally digging the squash…love it!

  46. Maria says:

    I made this (Ottolenghi’s) recipe once and absolutely loved it. I adore pomegranate molasses and this dish really had all flavours in balance. Gorgeously adapted Joanne, you’ve made me crave for this once again!

  47. OohLookBel says:

    I’ve done the burnt eggplant thing from Ottolenghi, too – the house smelt of burning for a couple of hours afterwards! It is very tasty, as we can see from your stellar effort.

  48. Kevin says:

    What an amazing combo of flavours! Great shots!

  49. That’s one ugly eggplant photo–it should ask for a retake or money back. The finished product looks and sounds good. You are forcing me out with Ottolenghi. I hope I like him!!


  50. Nelly says:

    THAT’S what I was craving. Baba ghannouj! This looks seriously incredible…it’s acceptable to have squash for breakfast, right?

  51. Why I found the burnt eggplant look so sexy? LOL…this is one seriously flavoursome dish!
    I wish you a wonderful weekend!

  52. tinytearoom says:

    I’ve made this recipe for a bbq recently. We roasted the aubergine on the charcoal grill. Everyone loved it.

  53. whoa! I can see where the “burnt” comments came from 😀

  54. Hannah says:

    Sounds like baba ganoush with a little twist- How fantastic! I’m really drawn to Ottolenghi’s recipes, and want dearly to buy his new vegetarian cookbook, Plenty… But oh, my poor bookshelves. I really need to hold back on the cookbook purchases, or they’ll give out at this rate!

  55. it looks so delicous. the images are BEAUTIFUL!

  56. Wow, the quality of your photography is getting better and better. It’s always been pleasant to look at them each time I visit your blog. Keep up the good work Joanne. Not to forget to mention that the recipes are also delicious!

  57. Love love love this! I remember when I first saw my grandma burning on eggplant directly over the stove…I was so shocked. But it turned out delicious, of course 😀

  58. sra says:

    We roast eggplant directly on the stovetop all the time in India. Usually spread a drop of oil on it. Sometimes it blocks the pores out of which the flame comes and it’s a chore to clean it so we use it with a stovetop gadget (a plate-like affair with holes and a handle) originally meant for chapatis or papads. Some do it with melon cucumber too, for chutney, I’m yet to try that!

  59. Oh yes! I am definitely in need of these fabulous ways to use my pomegranate molasses. I got it on a whim and have simply left it in my pantry for a year 😡

  60. Ada says:

    I’ve always seen people put peppers or eggplant directly onto the flame, but I’ve always been too scared to. Seeing your drool-worthy results, however, are making me reconsider. The squash and eggplant combo sounds absolutely genius!

    Aww, I’m sorry you’ve had to study so much. I hope you get to enjoy a bit of work-free time in Boston and know that you are going to totallly rock the race!

  61. Miriam says:

    The next time I’m in New York and have some free time we should get together and cook up a storm :), I loke your style! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  62. luosha says:

    wow that eggplant looks totally gorgeous. like it’s just spent a long day at a florida beach :P. just wanted to say i love your blog, although i only get to read it sporadically. and it is awesome and amazing that you qualified for boston (well, amazing to someone like me anyway), and good luck on monday!

  63. sweetlife says:

    the sauce is killer!! what a great pic of the roasted eggplant..oh delish!! good luck at the race!!!


  64. kellypea says:

    Hahaha! I’ve never tackled an eggplant like that, but do so with peppers on a regular basis — summer or no summer. It stinks up the house quite nicely whether the fan is on or not. I’m not a huge fan of egg plant but have been known to dig in when something different has been prepared — like this. Especially with the squash. So creative!

  65. tigerfish says:

    I have been enjoying such “oven” cooking recently since minimal “eyeballing” is required compared to cooking behind the stove 🙂

  66. Peggy says:

    I put bell peppers on my stovetop flame all the time, but never thought to do eggplant! Genius idea!

  67. You always have the best recipes. So unique ans delicious!

  68. Katerina says:

    It reminds me of our Greek eggplant salad! You have combined delicious ingredients in the spread Joanne!

  69. Joanne, you make eating healthy look so easy! This is a wonderful dish, and the eggplant recipe is so versatile, I can imagine eating this with crackers and pita bread.

  70. teresa says:

    this looks so good, i’d love to sit down to a plate like this. i have never even cooked with eggplant before, what’s wrong with me!

  71. I cook my red peppers that way–so easy just to plop them on top of the burner. This looks fabulous–especially with that pomegranate molasses.

  72. megi says:

    Joanne, that eggplant is cooked to perfection! I love salads and dips made with roasted eggplants and can’t wait to try it with butternut squash.

  73. My family actually just ate burnt eggplant today! We have a Filipino dish called Tortang Talong (translated as Eggplant Omelet) basically burn the eggplant, take off the skin, mash the flesh but keep it attached to the stalk, dip it in egg, and fry it. It’s delicious. I’m sure this is too. I’m dying to try this pomegranate molasses!

  74. As mentioned above yes we do burn our eggplant too and torture it haha.. and we also have a vegetable dish wherein we combine the eggplant with the squash… but it’s the other vegies with it that I don’t eat. These two i will … definitely maybe haha!

  75. I guess it is grilling season! this dish looks so healthy and tasty. I love eggplant and butternut squash!

  76. Beth says:

    It looks good, but I’m still glad you didn’t burn your apartment down!

  77. Jeanette says:

    Yum, what a wonderful combination of textures and flavors! I happen to have some pomegranate molasses so I can’t wait to try this.

  78. Nadji says:

    Tes recettes sont toujours très originales et on est sûrs de découvrir de nouvelles saveurs.
    A très bientôt.

  79. Marcia says:

    nothing like burnt eggplant. I heart eggplant and butternut squash.

  80. Chris says:

    Yay! Grilling indoors with Joanne, sounds like a tv show 😉

  81. Pam says:

    Another creative recipe Joanne… I am especially loving the butternut squash.

  82. Love your post; food looks delicious! As a child I just couldn’t eat squash, but now it is one of my favorite veggies! Thanks for visiting my blog, I appreciate the comment.

  83. I wish I had flames in my stove. Sniff.
    Love the combo! I have an eggplant that I smoked, just waiting to become part of a dish – this looks perfect!

  84. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, There definitely is nothing like some good grilling and how does Bobby Flay say, “grilling and chilling”. Well, I do love squash and eggplant ~ therefore can’t go wrong with this dish. Blessings, Catherine xoxo

  85. Lea Ann says:

    Great photos as always Joanne. I’m thinking you might want to ask Santa for a grill pan next year.

  86. Sanem says:

    The pictures look great and I bet it tasted really yummy too. That’s how my parents grill the eggplant for salad back home. On stovetop. It tastes the best.

  87. Love eggplant! Especially love it flame grilled. It looks so beautiful

  88. Little Inbox says:

    The butternut squash tastes really good in this way.

  89. fyi: this post set me into an eggplant eating frenzy and I’ve had it twice today. if eggplant sales in the city go up, I’m crediting you.

  90. Raina says:

    Definitely sounds amazing. You had me at smokey eggplant. I have always wanted to try and cook peppers like that but have been too afraid I would burn it to a crip. You are brave to try it and looks like you did it perfectly:)

  91. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  92. Esi says:

    I’m so obsessed with roasted butternut squash

  93. We LOVE roasted butternut squash and eggplants. We eat them very often but never had the roasted eggplants pureed with Pomegranate molasses before. I wonder how the puree taste but first gotto find the Pomegranate molasses.

  94. I totally like this idea of burning the eggplants! and even more, I can imagine the smokey flavour combined with the butternut squash… A whole palate bliss!!

  95. Dawn says:

    You had me at burnt eggplant. Drooling.

  96. aipi says:

    I love anything with eggplant..glad to find another cool new way of making them!
    US Masala

  97. What a creative and delicious mix of flavors. Yummy and right up my alley.

  98. Deborah says:

    I’ve heard of peppers being roasted over the stove flame, but never an eggplant! Delicious!

  99. Shannon says:

    how amazing!! i can’t wait to try this… hmmm, are eggplant and butternut squash ever in season together? lol, i’ll figure out a way 🙂

  100. grace says:

    i won’t lie to ya, joanne–that’s not the most appetizing bowl of food i’ve ever seen. regardless, i’d eat it and i’d eat it good because the flavors are amazing! i haven’t offended you, i hope. i think it’s a great dish. 🙂

  101. The name alone is enough to make this recipe intriguing but then your pictures really bring the point home. That burnt eggplant is so pretty and I love the idea of butternut squash and eggplants together.

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