Traditional Greek Imam Bayildi Recipe

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Traditional Greek Imam Bayildi Recipe

Recipe by GreekFood
Course: SidesCuisine: GreekDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time





“Imam Bayildi” is a traditional Greek dish that is also very popular in Turkish cuisine. The name translates to “the imam fainted,” supposedly because of its delicious taste.


  • Eggplants (aubergines) – 4 medium-sized

  • Olive oil – for frying and drizzling

  • Onions – 2 large, thinly sliced

  • Garlic cloves – 4, minced

  • Tomatoes – 4 large, finely chopped or grated

  • Green bell pepper – 1, finely chopped

  • Parsley – a handful, chopped

  • Sugar – 1 teaspoon

  • Salt and pepper – to taste

  • Water or vegetable broth – as needed

  • Lemon juice – from half a lemon


  • Prepare the Eggplants: Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise. Scoop out some of the flesh to create a cavity. Salt the insides and let them sit for about 30 minutes to remove bitterness. Rinse and pat dry.
  • Fry the Eggplants: Heat olive oil in a pan. Fry the eggplant halves until golden brown. Set aside on a paper towel.
  • Make the Filling: In the same pan, add more olive oil if needed. Sauté onions until translucent. Add garlic, and cook for a minute. Mix in tomatoes, green pepper, parsley, sugar, salt, and pepper. Cook until the mixture is soft.
  • Stuff the Eggplants: Fill the cavities of the eggplants with the tomato and onion mixture.
  • Cook: Place the stuffed eggplants in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Add a little water or vegetable broth to the dish. Cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Serve: Imam Bayildi is traditionally served at room temperature. It can be garnished with additional parsley or served with yogurt on the side.
  • Enjoy this flavorful and aromatic dish, which perfectly combines the earthy taste of eggplants with the richness of tomatoes and onions!

Recipe Video


  • Eggplant Selection: Choose eggplants that are firm and have shiny skin. They should be medium-sized, as larger ones may have more seeds and can be bitter.
  • Removing Bitterness: After scooping out some flesh and salting the insides of the eggplants, let them sit for a bit longer than 30 minutes if they are particularly bitter. This helps draw out the bitterness.
  • Olive Oil Quality: Use good quality olive oil, significantly influencing the dish’s flavor. Extra virgin olive oil is preferable for its rich taste.
  • Slow Cooking the Onions: Cook the onions slowly and gently until they are caramelized. This brings out their natural sweetness, which significantly enhances the overall flavor of the filling.
  • Tomato Tips: If you’re using fresh tomatoes, choose ripe, flavorful ones. In the off-season, canned tomatoes can be a good alternative.
  • Herbs and Spices: Feel free to adjust the herbs and spices according to your taste. Some people add a pinch of cinnamon or allspice to the filling for added depth.
  • Resting Time: Imam Bayildi tastes better when it has had time to rest, and the flavors have melded together. Consider making it a day ahead and serving it the next day.
  • Serving Suggestions: While traditionally served at room temperature, you can also try it slightly warm. It pairs well with crusty bread, rice, or a simple salad.
  • Storage: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator and are often said to taste better the next day.
  • Presentation: For a more appealing presentation, sprinkle some chopped parsley or fresh herbs on top before serving.

What to serve with Traditional Greek Imam Bayildi?

Traditional Greek Imam Bayildi is a versatile dish that pairs well with various sides. Here are some suggestions for what to serve with it:

  1. Crusty Bread: A loaf of crusty bread like a baguette or ciabatta is perfect for soaking up the delicious juices and makes for a simple yet satisfying addition.
  2. Rice or Grains: Serve Imam Bayildi with a side of fluffy rice, bulgur wheat, or couscous. These grains complement the flavors and add a satisfying element to the meal.
  3. Greek Salad: A fresh Greek salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, red onion, and feta cheese, dressed in olive oil and lemon juice, offers a refreshing contrast to the rich flavors of Imam Bayildi.
  4. Yogurt or Tzatziki: A cool, creamy Greek yogurt or tzatziki sauce can balance the dish’s richness and add a tangy flavor.
  5. Roasted Vegetables: Roasted or grilled vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, and red onions can be a delightful side, especially if seasoned with herbs that complement the dish.
  6. Lemon Potatoes: Greek-style lemon potatoes, roasted with olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs, are a hearty and flavorful side option.
  7. Pilaf: A vegetable or herb pilaf can be a more flavorful alternative to plain rice and pairs well with eggplant.
  8. Green Beans: A side of steamed or sautéed green beans, seasoned simply with salt, pepper, and a bit of lemon juice, can offer a nice textural contrast.
  9. Lentil Salad: A cold lentil salad with herbs and a light vinaigrette can add protein and fiber, making the meal more filling.
  10. Hummus or Dips: Serve with hummus or other Mediterranean dips along with pita bread for a delightful appetizer or side.

These side dishes can complement the flavors of Imam Bayildi and make for a well-rounded, satisfying meal.

Additional Notes on the Recipe

Ingredient Adjustments

  • The number of calories in Imam Bayildi can be adjusted by varying the amount of olive oil used. Using less oil for frying or baking can reduce the calorie count. Also, the size of the eggplants will impact the overall servings and calories. Smaller eggplants mean smaller servings but can be a good option for a lighter meal or appetizer.

Nutritional Information

  • Imam Bayildi is rich in vegetables and is an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, particularly from eggplants, tomatoes, and onions. It’s also a heart-healthy choice due to the olive oil high in monounsaturated fats.

Dietary Considerations

  • This vegan and gluten-free dish makes it suitable for various dietary preferences and requirements.

Serving Temperature

  • While traditionally served at room temperature, Imam Bayildi can also be enjoyed warm, especially during colder months.


Imam Bayildi is not just a delightful and flavorful dish but also a relatively healthy one, especially when prepared with attention to the amount of oil used. Its combination of fresh vegetables and aromatic herbs offers a satisfying, nourishing, and enjoyable meal. Whether served as a main course or a side dish, it’s a beautiful way to enjoy Mediterranean flavors in your cooking.

For a traditional Greek Imam Bayildi recipe, here are the general details regarding servings, prep time, cooking time, and estimated calories:


  • Servings: This recipe typically serves about 4 people, assuming each person gets one whole eggplant (two halves).

Prep Time

  • Prep Time: Approximately 30-40 minutes. This includes preparing the eggplants, making the filling, and stuffing the eggplants. The prep time can vary based on how quickly you chop and prepare the ingredients.

Cooking Time

  • Cooking Time: About 45 minutes to 1 hour in the oven at 375°F (190°C). The exact time may vary depending on the size of the eggplants and your oven.


  • Estimated Calories: The calorie count for Imam Bayildi can vary significantly based on the amount of olive oil used and the size of the eggplants. A rough estimate per serving (half an eggplant) would be around 200-300 calories. This is a rough estimate and can vary. The dish is relatively healthy, significantly if you moderate the amount of oil used.

Remember, these details are approximate and can vary based on specific ingredients and portion sizes. Adjustments may be needed based on your specific requirements and preferences.