Try our take on badrijani nigvzit, one of many delicious Georgian appetizers. In our version, we stuff Georgian walnut paste in and on grilled zucchini instead of fried eggplant. So it’s a little healthier, but (we think) just as good.
One of our favorite Georgian appetizers is called badrijani nigvzit. It is composed of fried eggplant and walnut paste.
We like eggplant quite a bit, but we already made another similar Georgian eggplant dish: eggplant pkhali. Since we also like zucchini quite a bit, we decided to use it in this recipe. We grill it instead of frying it to keep it a bit lighter.
So that’s the inspiration behind this recipe. Since we don’t know the Georgian language beyond what we find in recipes, we’re not sure what it would be called there. Thus, we’ve christened it Georgian Walnut Paste with Grilled Zucchini and we hope you enjoy it.
Ingredients and Recipe Tips
The base of the Georgian walnut paste consists of… walnuts… plus onions and and garlic. To that, you add some great dried spices and fresh herbs to give it its delicious flavor: fenugreek, dried coriander, fresh mint, and cilantro. Salt and a touch of cayenne also go in to punch things up.
To bring the paste together you should use apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Most of the recipes we read didn’t call for the oil, but we weren’t loving the consistency without it.
This is an incredibly easy recipe since all you do is blitz all that up in a food processor and you’re good to go.
To prepare the zucchini, you slice it thinly and lengthwise, and brush it with olive oil, salt, pepper, and cardamom powder. Cardamom goes well with the flavors in the walnut spread. Then grill it for a few minutes per side until it’s cooked through but not disintegrated.
If you want to serve it right away, just lay some of the paste on top of the zucchini slices. If you want to make it look a little prettier, let the zucchini slices cool down and then roll them around the walnut paste.
However you do it, top with pomegranate seeds (the staple Georgian garnish) and fresh herbs and enjoy (alongside a plateful of khinkali of course!).
For the zucchini:
- 3 zucchini
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
For the spread:
- 2 cups walnuts
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 Tbsp fenugreek
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1.5 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 large bunch mint
- 1 small bunch cilantro
- Fresh mint and cilantro
- Pomegranate seeds
- Cut the zucchini lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices.
- Mix oil, salt, pepper, and cardamom together in a small bowl. Brush mixture over both sides of zucchini slices.
- Cook the zucchini in batches, grilling the slices over medium heat, about 3 minutes per side until tender. Set aside.
- Blitz ingredients for the walnut spread in a food processor.
- Serve two ways: a) top zucchini slices with spread; b) form spread into small balls and wrap zucchini slices around. The second option requires cooling the zucchini (~5 minutes) before handling.
- Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and fresh herbs and dig in.