Along the Grapevine

Walnut and Sumac Eggplant Rolls


The sumac shrubs are at their height now in terms of colour. There are masses of them along the roadside, but I decided to photograph my own for this post. The first one is the focal point in one of my flower beds, and the others are just little shrubs growing next to the shed.


I need to collect more of the berries, but the weather has been so wet, I have to wait until they are drier, as they lose some of their flavour when rained on. We might need to reach freezing temperatures before they are pickable, but at least it will be dry, and the berries will wait. If you need any information regarding sumac, please refer to this post.

Meanwhile, I used some of my store of powdered sumac to use in this recipe using walnuts and eggplant (or aubergine). It is a very popular Georgian recipe which I discovered in Russia. I was told the stuffing was made with just ground walnuts, but additions can be and are made. In Georgia, there are often several spices added, and sometimes petals of edible flowers to give it some colour. I have made it many times, always trying to duplicate the distinct flavour of the ones I bought in the Russian market. This is the recipe I came up with.


Walnut and Sumac Eggplant Rolls

  • Servings: approx. 10 rolls
  • Print


2 medium eggplants

oil for frying

1 cup walnuts

1 clove garlic

2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

1/2 tsp fenugreek

1 Tbsp sumac powder


Slice the eggplants (skin on) lengthwise Β about 1/4 inch thick

Place them in a shallow dish and sprinkle liberally with salt. Leave them for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Rinse the salt off completely, and pat dry.

This step can be omitted, but it helps to remove any bitterness from the eggplant. Because I always detect some salt even after rinsing them, I did not put salt in the recipe.

Fry each piece in some oil on both sides until they are lightly browned and cooked right through.

For the paste, put all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz really well until it all holds together. If it is too crumbly, add a few drops more vinegar.

Place a spoonful of the walnut mixture along the base of the aubergine slice and roll up.

That’s it! These little rolls are a great appetizer, picnic food or served with a salad or rustic bread. They are eaten either chilled or at room temperature, which is how I prefer them. I wish I could describe how they taste, so much better than the sum of their parts, but there are no words that convey their distinct flavour.


I am bringing these tasty appetizers to Angie’s 38th fabulous Fiesta Friday. I hope you will drop by this virtual party, and if you have a dish you would like to bring along, click here for the simple instructions.


Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

38 thoughts on “Walnut and Sumac Eggplant Rolls

  1. Pingback: Citrus Chicken with Sage | Selma's Table

  2. Another really interesting post Hilda πŸ™‚ I am in the “little shrubs growing next to the shed” sumac league at present but shall be nuturing them in anticipation of a first sumac harvest… and when I get that far I shall be coming back to your posts on how to process and prepare… πŸ™‚


    • Thanks for dropping by and commenting. No real need to nurture them. I believe those little shrubs are males, so not for harvest, but they are pretty. And the amount of wild sumac around here is far more than even I need. I have kept the big tree, although I gather their life span is not too long, so don’t know how long it will last. If it goes, I will replace it for sure. I already cleared out any competing shrubs, like lilacs that were crowding it out.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aha… then my little ones must be males too which will be why I don’t remember seeing anything but (very pretty) leaves on them – amazing what I can learn from someone on the other side of the world! Thanks so much for all the info πŸ™‚


      • I just figured out that male-female thing too. They grow in such masses here that usually it is hard to see that some don’t have fruit.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is wonderful! I absolutely adore sumac, and I’ve never thought of adding it to my own version of Georgian eggplant rolls (I usuallt use pomegranate molasses as the second most important ingredient); I bet I would love your version too. I’ve been looking for new ways for using sumac, and your posts have been inspiring; today I added it to a dish of warm quinoa and shredded beets, served with sumac and garlic flavored yoghurt. It was really good!


    • It’s great to meet someone else who appreciates sumac. I often use it to replace pomegranate, not just because it is a good substitute, but it is something I can get locally. Really eating locally means sometimes you have to use your imagination! And thanks for another idea for how to use it.


  4. The aubergine rolls looks so delicious. I love the flavour combinations. Recipe saved! πŸ™‚


  5. These look so delicious!! Thanks for the idea πŸ™‚


  6. I have a whole bag of powdered sumac gifted by a friend. Now I have a recipe to try it in! Love eggplants and this is so interesting with walnuts. I always learn so much from reading you Hilda. I thought sumac was from the Middle East( blame that on Ottolenghi!) and here it grows in our beloved Ontario!


  7. Thanks, Johanne. If you like sumac, you are in luck in Ontario. All those free, organic berries right at our doorstep. I have several recipes for it on my blog – and I hope more to come.


  8. Ok am sure now this grows by a store near me.. When I get back will be picking some for sure!


  9. I had no idea that these were the shrubs that put out the sumac berries – really interesting post (as always) and a lovely recipe to boot. Hilda, thanks for co-hosting again this week – Happy Fiesta Friday!


  10. These look so very delicious Hilda! I have to try these out, especially since I recently got my hands on sumac finally πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing! Happy FF xx


  11. The tree (or shrub?) is so beautiful I just want to lie under it and stare upwards!!! Well good luck on getting the berries when they’re dry and I do love this recipe. It’s totally simple but you wouldn’t think to put those ingredients together! I can’t wait to try!


  12. What an inspiring recipe! I love your blog, Hilda, as it is like a journey of discovery – never heard of sumach before, so I’ll definitely have to follow that one up! Your rolls look fantastic! Thank you for co-hosting this Friday, it’s a pleasure to party with you πŸ™‚


    • Thanks so much Ginger. I am on a bit of a mission to put sumac in everyone’s spice cabinet. It is my pleasure to co-host, except of course that I get maybe more inspiration than I can realistically handle. Have a lovely weekend.


  13. This is something new to me that I really wanna try.
    Thanks for bringing this to the Party!!!


  14. Mmmm, these look incredibly delicious, Hilda! I love eggplant. Reading your blog posts is always such a treat, because I always find something mouth-watering and unusual! It sounds like you have lived my many countries! So glad we could co-host together again! Enjoy your weekend! πŸ˜€


    • Thanks. I have lived in a lot of countries – beginning as a small child and ending just a while ago when we retired. I really miss the travelling – we still travel but being a tourist is just not the same as actually living somewhere else for a few years. Glad you were able to co-host this week, and hope you have a lovely weekend.


  15. Pingback: The Impossible Chocoflan | Fiesta Friday #38 | The Novice Gardener

  16. Another amazing and original recipe… with you I’m learning a lot of new stuff in pleasant way and you are a great teacher Hilda! I love eggplants, any new recipe is very much appreciated! Thanks a lot even for co-hosting FF!


  17. Your Eggplants are delicious, Hilda. I love Sumac and I always have a jar at home. Sumac is not popular in North Africa and I discovered this beautiful tangy spice when I was living in Congo with the Lebanese community, and now I use it very often in my cuisine. Thank you for co-hosting Fiesta Friday this week.


  18. What a creative recipe, Hilda! Very nice pictures too!


  19. I didn’t realize you could use sumac in recipes–these rolls sound really good!


  20. When I first saw your picture of this recipe I was very curious as to what it was. I enjoy the flavor of sumac but do not use it so creatively as you do πŸ™‚


  21. What an appetizing picture. I haven’t ever used sumac, and love that you open me to great culinary ideas with your recipes!


  22. These rolls sound so tasty and yummy, Hilda. These photos are telling me to take more than my share. πŸ˜€ Have a lovely week, Hilda.


  23. Very appealing . Looks super delish ….


  24. Pingback: Disney Pineapple pastry cake – Beam ‘em all up Scotty | Aromas and Flavors from my Kitchen

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