roasted vegetables with a saffron yoghurt dressing

I’ve made this Ottolenghi salad twice in the past couple of weeks, most recently alongside couscous-stuffed lamb, and have really loved it each time.

The original recipe just uses roasted aubergines but I think you can use other roasted vegetables as well (or instead) quite easily – I added courgettes (griddled rather than roasted) each time and this worked really well.

What makes it special is the garlicky saffron yoghurt dressing and the freshness and crunch that comes from sprinkling the finished dish with pomegranate seeds and toasted pine nuts (in fact, eating the final spoonfuls, which usually include an abundance of pine nuts and pomegranate, was something that friends did each time I served this dish!).

Ottolenghi’s roasted aubergine with saffron yoghurt (serves four)

3 aubergines (i used two plus three small courgettes), cut into bite-size pieces*

olive oil for brushing

2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts

a large handful of pomegranate seeds

a large handful of basil leaves

sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

saffron yogurt:

a small pinch of saffron strands

3 tablespoons hot water

200g thick greek yogurt

1 garlic clove, finely crushed

40ml lemon juice

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

sea salt flakes

Start by making the dressing - place the saffron strands into a small bowl, pour over the hot water and let them infuse for 5 minutes. Pour this infusion into a bowl containing the yoghurt, crushed garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and some salt. whisk well to get a smooth, golden sauce. taste for seasoning and chill until ready to use (this an be made up to 3 days in advance).

Season, dress with a little oil and then cook your vegetables – I roasted my aubergines at 220c for 20 minutes; my courgettes were cooked on the griddle so they took on a lovely charred appearance and flavour. This can also be done up to 3 days in advance - keep the vegetables in the fridge, but bring to room temperature before serving.

To serve, arrange the vegetables on a large serving dish (it’s worth making the effort to make this look pretty), drizzle with saffron yogurt and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts, torn basil leaves and pomegranate seeds. I served the extra saffron yoghurt dressing in a small jug so people could add extra themselves.

*Ottolenghi has a fabulous trick for getting evenly sized aubergine wedges – remove the stalk and cut the aubergine in half widthways. cut each wedge lengthways and then divide the top pieces into two (or four if you want smaller pieces) and the bottom pieces into three (or six). such a simple trick but so satisfying!