Imam Bayildi – Turkish Stuffed Aubergines (Vegan)

Imam Bayeldi (Turkish Stuffed Subergines)

Imam Bayeldi (Turkish Stuffed Subergines)

Turkish food has always tantalised me, Ive had a few dishes that promised so much, but finding good Turkish restaurants is difficult in the UK and I have resorted to educating and cooking them myself at home.  Isn’t that always the best way anyway!  I much prefer a home cooked meal, prepared with love than something bought.  I am not a good diner out-er, I rarely have a good time and seem perpetually let down by the food.  This maybe due to the fact that I live in the sticks in Wales and in Spain, in the big cities, where cultures merge and intermingle, things are a very different story.

Thing is, I’ve always been more fond of food from further afield that Europe (is Turkey now a part of the ever expanding ‘Europe’!?), maybe its the exotic element and imagery of new and distant horizons.  Turkish cuisine has such bold flavours and is normally pretty simple to get together, focusing on super fresh produce and a constant flow of awesome yoghurt!

A wonderful dish this ‘Imam Bayeldi’ of Turkish origin, bursting with flavour and delicious texture.  You’ve probably made something like this in the past, but its nice to get a specific origin to things, I love the heritage and tradition attached to dishes, the stories and legends behind them.

Imam Bayeldi translates as ‘the priest fainted’, according to Armenian legend, a housewife was surprised by a visit from a priest and created this dish especially (whipped it up quickly I’m sure!)  At the first mouthful the priest fainted with delight!

I have been buying a few cheap as chips cook books on-line, I’m shifting slightly away from constant experimentation in the kitchen and looking at what other people are up to.  The books I am buying are mainly retreat style cooking, Ayurveda and Macro-biotic influenced; I have some very cool Zen Buddhist cook books but this recipe (well most of it) came from the awesome ‘Shoshoni Cookbook’, which is a Yoga retreat up in the hills of Colorado.  The food is simple, vibrant and superbly nutritious.  The philosophy of cooking at Shoshoni, be ever present and immersed in your activity, constantly channeling love and good intention into your food and its preparation are essential for me in the whole wonderful food game, enjoyment!  This is food charged with positive energy, cooked from a special place.

I know there are many different ways of preparing this dish, but this is my favourite.  The aubergines are very tender after boiling and the light spices and herbs work very well together.

Aubergines can be grown in Britain, but only in greenhouses.  We are struggling getting good local produce at the moment, so our seasonal fare is sparse.  Fingers crossed this cold weather won’t hold, it’s been gloriously sunny in the days and freezing in the morning and nights.  Not good for our poor plants, but makes for beautiful days walking.

You my live in a lovely part of the world where your veggies are just plain amazing and sweet.  I would omit the honey and even the tomato puree in this case, with great produce, well, it speaks for itself and needs no assistance.

Yemek Keyfini!  Enjoy!

Serves two quite nicely.

The Bits

2 aubergine (whole), 1 onion (diced small), 3 cloves garlic (crushed), 4 tomatoes (diced small), 1 red pepper (diced small), 1/2 teas ground coriander, 1 teas cumin seeds, 1 tbsp tomato puree, 1 teas honey, 3 tbs pine nuts, 1 cup coriander (leaves and stems), 3 tbs olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper (to taste), parsley and mint (chopped for topping)


Aubergines/eggplants ready for the pan

Do It

Place aubergines in a pot of boiling water, press down into the water with a lid and boil for 15 to 20 minutes until tender.  Do not overcook, they have a lovely smooth texture, but the skin is fragile and breaks easily (as I learnt the hard way!)  When cooked, run under cold water to chill quickly.

Split the aubergines down the centre lengthwise and gently score out the pulp and remove without piercing shells.  Good luck here! Keep the skins warm somewhere of your choosing, a warm covered plate works well.

Saute your cumin seeds for two minutes, they will pop a bit, then add onion and cook until translucent, add aubergine and cook for 10 minutes or until tender, add ground coriander, tom puree, pepper, garlic, honey (if needed) and tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes.  Add some of your herbs (coriander, parsley or mint or a mix) and pine nuts, season well to taste.



Fill the warm shells with vegetables and sprinkled with some more herbs and a good drizzle of amazing olive oil.  Traditionally served with Mudjedera (recipe to come soon) or cous cous.

We Love It!

A simple, tasty dish that didn’t make us faint this time, but we’ll work on it!

Foodie Fact 

Aubergines have very few calories but plenty of fibre, it contains loads of the vitamin B’s and some vitamin C.  It also has good levels of manganese which acts as an anti-oxidant around the body and plenty of potassium which is good for many of your parts! (nerves and heart especially).

Categories: Dinner, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

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20 thoughts on “Imam Bayildi – Turkish Stuffed Aubergines (Vegan)

  1. I was looking for a stuffed eggplant recipe and I found this, perfect! Thank you 🙂

  2. OH YUM. If eggplant agreed with me, I would be all over this!

    • They can be quite heavy, all those nightshades and all. Thats a real shame Gabby, maybe you could try it with courgette (zuchini I think in your land!) Have magic times, lee

  3. We love Eggplant, that too preferably cooked in the Middle Eastern way – so Imam Bayeldi for us then!

    • Nice one Ishita! Its a wonder veg and has so many hats, but I like the Middle Eastern flavour. Have fine times, lee

  4. Hi Lee, great to have found your blog when you found mine 🙂 It looks like a lovely blog and I’ll have fun exploring it. I love Imam Bayidli and cook it a lot myself! I’m allergic to capsicum (peppers) though so I usually replace it with grated zucchini, which tastes even better in my opinion!

    • Strange coincidence, one of my friends is allergic to aubergine and I thought of our buddy courgette (sorry thats what we call it on this island). Its a sign, it must get into this recipe somehow! Thanks for dropping by K.

  5. I have so many eggplants that this dish is positively begging to be made! Cheers for a wonderful way to use them :). By the way, the link for your rosewater rice doesnt work. Could you please repost it as I REALLY want to have a go at making it 🙂

  6. hallooo.. 🙂
    I love aubergine and this aubergine dish looks soooo yummy!!
    I’ll give it a try tomorrow for sure.. thanks for sharing the great recipe.
    have a wonderful weekend. God bless.

  7. A wonderful & very appetizing aubergine dish! I also grow my aubergines in big containers, outside a greenhouse & they do fine! I just put them indoors near the heater on colder days because they need 20 to 22°C to grow well! 🙂 Yummmm!

    • Lucky, lucky Sophie! We will be lucky to see 20oC here this summer! We are more beetroot/ chard growers than the more warm loving veg. We live up on a hill and if the wind doesnt get it, the slugs will. Still this year we are ever hopeful. Peace and Happiness, lee

  8. Wow! This dish looks so tasty! Thank you for your contribution to the potluck. If you have any interest, my two blogs sweetveg and littleveg are both macrobiotic. It was fun to hear about your cooking explorations. 🙂

    • I’ll be over there soon sweetveg. I love macrobiotic food once in a while, superhealthy, shiny food. We love it! Great to have you in the BHK. Take it easy, lee and janex

  9. Pingback: Maqluba – Roast Pepper and Aubergine Savoury Cake | the beach house kitchen

  10. Pingback: Giant Stuffed Courgettes with a Herb Camarague Rice, Sweetcorn and Walnuts (Vegan) | the beach house kitchen

  11. This sounds delicious. I’m going to give this a go this weekend. Always on the look out for healthy, tasty, easy recipes with no nuts or mushrooms. Being a vegan with a nut allergy, I’m constantly falling foul of nuts being added to ready made produce. Recently I’ve just been advised by a nutritionist to avoid yeast, wheat, corn and legumes for a few months. What no chickpeas, lentils and beans!!!? There go my diet staples!!

  12. Hi Lee & Jane, love your post about imam bayildi totally agree that there aren’t many good Turkish restraunts in UK. That’s also why i started cooking more and more Turkish food after moving to UK, i am from Turkey and miss the Turkish food a lot.
    There is an other side of the story that Imam fainted after seeing how much olive oil was used in the dish, olive oil was very expensive then.
    I have shared my version of it on my blog as well. Traditionally aubergine is fried but I bake them in the oven in my version. And you should have lots and lots of onion and garlic in the filling. I don’t use spices just salt and pepper, and use parsley instead of corriander.
    Afiyet olsun 🙂 means enjoy or bon apetit 🙂

    • Thank you Burcu! I now cook this dish at work and people love it. It is rich with all that olive oil, but always a treat and delicious. We went to Turkey last year and loved the food. Incredible, country people and of course, pide! Peace and Happiness, L+J

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