Christmas movie recipe inspiration #1 with my classic cheese pizza....Read More
Grilled Eggplant Salad
A veggie salad that is refreshing, simple and delicious. Chargrilled eggplant slices, with a tahini yogurt sauce, fresh herbs, quinoa and burnt garlic chili butter. The perfect side for any meal that is easy but packed with flavor.
I think salads get a bad rep and I say this with no offense to the salad community as they have been known to be insipid and lifeless. Thankfully I haven’t fallen prey to that notion, contrary to that I absolutely love a good salad. But a delicious salad is more than just piling ingredients on each other. It is about flavor, yes – however it is also about texture. This two components are the most important when making a salad that is fit to be a main course and works beautifully asa side dish.
What is the difference between eggplant and brinjal?
Before we get into the recipe there are few notes to mention, eggplant is the same are aubergine which is the same as brinjal. They have different names in different countries. In India brinjal is considered to be the king of vegetables (even though it is a fruit in the actual sense of things) because of its naturally occurring purple skin color and nutritional benefits. Speaking of which…
What are the benefits of eggplant?
Fun fact bait eggplants is that they are a superfood making them a great source of nutrients for the body. It is high in antioxidants like vitamin A and C. Which helps protect your cells from damage. It is high in natural plant chemicals called polyphenols – which help cells process sugar better. It is high in fiber and low in calories making it a fantastic veggie to consume on the daily as part of your 5 a day. Also the high fiber helps with digestion – indirectly assisting with gut health as well.
What is the best way to cook eggplant?
There are many ways to cook eggplant. However consuming the vegetable with its skin is important as it holds a lot of the nutrition. I slicing the eggplant in half, lengthwise and steaming it with salt, pepper and olive oil. You can do this in a steamer or in a stock pot over the stove. I also like chargrilling the eggplant halves over the grill until charred and cooked through. They are delicious once baked in the oven too. Hence it isn’t difficult to prepare and cook eggplant, making it an easy and approachable vegetable even if you aren’t a regular cook.
What equipment do you need to make this eggplant salad?
A grilling pan to grill the eggplant slices, tongs to help flip them once cooked on either side. Chopping board, microplane grater, spoons and a serving platter. I make the garlic chili butter in a small sauté pan over the stove.
What ingredients do you need to make eggplant salad?
I have used a large deep purple eggplant, you can use any eggplant you find. They could be the thin longer ones or the small baby eggplants too. Ensure they are sliced lengthwise about 2 cm in thickness.
Yogurt tahini sauce –
This sauce is simple and works with many dishes, hence you can make a large batch and store it in a bottle in the fridge. We need yogurt, tahini, minced garlic, and lemon juice to make this. Either you mix all these ingredients in a bowl and add it to the platter or add them on the platter and stir it together.
I had leftover cooked quinoa so I used it in this recipe, you can use brown rice, freekeh, couscous or any grain you like to eat. Try and use a grain with some fibre to add more nutrition.
Fresh herbs –
I have used fresh parsley to make this salad but you can use fresh coriander, a combination of mint and dill would be good too.
Toasted nuts –
I love walnuts and eggplant. You can use sliced almonds, pistachios or even peanuts. Ideally they should be dry toasted over the stove before chopping and using, this ensures they have a delicious crunch in every bite.
I love using snacking peppers and red chilis in this recipe. I remove the seeds to keep the heat but eliminate the spice. You can use any chili you like or leave it out entirely. The snacking peppers are a great flavor addition but you can use regular bell peppers or jalapeños as well.
Garlic chili butter –
This ties the ingredients together to make a delicious salad. We brown the butter, add minced garlic and chili flakes to the mixture. I love adding a little olive oil into this once its off the heat. It adds a tiny amount of spice but a lot of flavor and texture as garlic get crunchy once golden.
How to make this eggplant salad?
We start by slicing out eggplant into 2 cm thick slices. Season the slices with salt, pepper, olive oil and dried oregano. Grill the slices over a grilling pan on medium heat until charred on each side. Don’t over crowd the pan – you might need to do this in batches depending on how large your pan is. Should take 1-2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate and repeat until all the slices are charred. While you are doing this, you can toast the nuts simultaneously.
To make the garlic chili butter we add butter into a small sauté pan on low heat. Add the minced garlic and chili flakes into the butter. Let it heat up and start bubbling. The butter will start to brown and the garlic will get golden. You will begin to smell it. Take it off the heat and pour into a small glass. If you leave it in the pan it will continue to cook and eventually burn.
Time to assemble, in a large platter, spoon the yogurt and spread. Drizzle over the tahini add the lemon juice around the plate. Mince the garlic over the plate and using a knife swirl it all together. Add the slices of grilled eggplant over the sauce and spoon over the cooked quinoa. Add the fresh parsley, sliced peppers and chilies. Sprinkle over the toasted nuts and spoon over the garlic chili butter. This is a warm salad hence you want to serve it immediately.
Make ahead options:
I would cook the quinoa ahead of time and keep it ready. The yogurt tahini sauce would be mixed in a jar and set aside. The herbs and veggies would be prepared and ready. The garlic chili butter would be made and stored in a jar. Toast the nuts ahead of time as well. The only thing I would do on the spot is grilling the eggplant and then assembling.
Storing this eggplant salad?
This is a warm salad which means it is best eaten at the time it is prepared. However you can store the leftovers in the platter covered with cling wrap in the fridge for 1 day as the yogurt would release some water and the quinoa would get soggy with that. But it will all still be delicious.
Now that we have covered how to make this Grilled Eggplant Salad, you can have a look at the recipe video on my socials but let’s get to it. Don’t forget to follow along for more fun recipe inspiration.
If you try this recipe out, don’t forget to share it with me on instagram so I can see how it turned out. I’d love nothing more than to chat with you on your cooking/baking.
Grilled Eggplant Salad
- Grilling pan
- Sauté pan
- Microplane grater/fine grater (for garlic)
- Chopping board & knife
- 1 large eggplant
- Salt & pepper
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup snack peppers sliced
- 1 red chili deseeded and sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup quinoa cooked
- 2 tbsp walnuts
- 1/4 cup yogurt
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 garlic minced
Garlic chili butter
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes
Grill the eggplant:
- We start by slicing out eggplant into 2 cm thick slices. Season the slices with salt, pepper, olive oil and dried oregano. Grill the slices over a grilling pan on medium heat until charred on each side.
- Don’t over crowd the pan - you might need to do this in batches depending on how large your pan is. Should take 1-2 minutes on each side.
- Transfer to a plate and repeat until all the slices are charred.
- While you are doing this, you can toast the nuts simultaneously.
Garlic chili butter:
- To make the garlic chili butter we add butter into a small sauté pan on low heat. Add the minced garlic and chili flakes into the butter. Let it heat up and start bubbling.
- The butter will start to brown and the garlic will get golden. You will begin to smell it.
- Take it off the heat and pour into a small glass. If you leave it in the pan it will continue to cook and eventually burn.
- In a large platter, spoon the yogurt and spread. Drizzle over the tahini add the lemon juice around the plate. Mince the garlic over the plate and using a knife swirl it all together.
- Add the slices of grilled eggplant over the sauce and spoon over the cooked quinoa.
- Add the fresh parsley, sliced peppers and chilies. Sprinkle over the toasted nuts and spoon over the garlic chili butter.
- This is a warm salad hence you want to serve it immediately.
- Check the write up above on make ahead tips.
- You can use cooked couscous or brown rice in place of the quinoa.