The Best Eggplant Salad
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Light and refreshing, this grilled eggplant salad is about to be a staple at your summer table – and is a great vegan side dish for BBQ season.
Salads shouldn’t be boring. To me, they are supposed to be colorful, packed with flavor, and best served as a compliment to something else (this one is great with pita!).
It won’t surprise anyone that Middle Eastern cooking has a massive influence over my home cooking. Plus I’m a big fan of eggplants. So this summer salad is almost always available at home during the warmer months.
Why You’ll Love This Eggplant Salad
Even people who don’t like their veggies will love my eggplant salad. And that’s mainly because of the flavor. Thanks to the charring process, the eggplant has a delicious, smoky taste that adds depth to the salad, as well as blending nicely with the other ingredients.
It’s why I think it’s great for BBQ season, though you can also serve it as a side salad with other dishes. I love it as part of a Middle Eastern-inspired meal or as a quick lunch at home or on the go.
Plus, grilled eggplant salad doesn’t just taste good, it does good – eggplants are high in fiber and antioxidants but low in calories.
Ingredients to Make Eggplant Salad
- Eggplants: Eggplants (or aubergines, as they’re also known) are best in the summer. Make sure you’ve got ripe eggplants with a meaty texture – globe eggplants are great for this.
- Tomatoes: Added for a touch of acidity, you can use ordinary grape or cherry tomatoes, or larger salad tomatoes.
- Pomegranate seeds: Added for sweetness and crunch, pomegranate seeds are also packed full of antioxidants – great for a salad.
- Flat Leaf Parsley: Fresh is best. You can also swap out for French parsley, tarragon, or chives.
- Green onion: Chop them into very small pieces for a burst of flavor. You can also use spring onions or scallions.
- Mint: Optional, but I think it’s a great compliment to the other flavors of the salad.
- For the dressing: Olive oil, lemon juice, salt, sumac, and garlic. This fresh dressing tastes better than bottled any day of the week (and no nasties included!).
How to Make Eggplant Salad
Over a naked flame on a gas top, char your eggplant for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Do this until the entire skin is blackened.
As soon as the eggplants are charred, place them in a bowl and cover with a plate (or place them in a large jar and close the lid).
This allows them to steam and makes it so much easier to peel – you’ll want to keep them there for about 10 minutes. They’ll also pick up a delicious smoky flavor from this process – perfect for the summer salad.
Once the eggplants are steamed, peel the skin. It should come off easily, but use a paper towel if you need it.
Then, chop the eggplants into chunks before adding them to a large bowl.
Prepare the Salad Dressing
To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and sumac in a small bowl. Mince the garlic – or grate/press it directly into the bowl.
Whisk the mix well to blend all the ingredients. Taste and adjust with more salt, pepper, or lemon juice if needed.
Next, chop the tomatoes, green onions, and parsley. I like to keep the mint leaves whole but feel free to chop them up too.
Add all the ingredients to the eggplant and toss well until well combined. Cover the eggplant salad with the homemade dressing.
You can serve it immediately or cover it and keep it in the refrigerator.
What to Serve with Your Best Eggplant Salad
Eggplant salad can be served as a main dish or an appetizer and pairs well with a variety of main dishes. Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy this nutritious dish:
- Serve with homemade pita – perfect for mopping up the juices.
- Sandwiches or wraps.
- Pair with other Middle Eastern favorites like shish tawook, falafel, or sfiha.
- Meze platter: include eggplant salad as part of a meze platter alongside other small plates, like olives, hummus, tzatziki, tabbouleh, fattoush, and fried potatoes.
Can I Make Eggplant Salad Ahead of Time
Roasted eggplant can be kept in an airtight container for up to five days in the fridge.
If you want to make eggplant salad in advance, prep the dressing and store it in one container, then prep your veggies and keep them in another. You can mix it just before serving – and it’ll still taste fresh.
Can I Roast Eggplant in the Oven
Yes! Pierce the flesh of the eggplant with a knife or fork and use the oven broiler (grill) on its highest setting. Place the eggplant as close to the grill as possible, grill them for about 10-20 minutes, turning halfway through.
This will give it a similar charred effect. They are ready when the skin is blistered and a knife slides through the veggie with little resistance.
You can also roast them. Just place the eggplants (having already been pierced with a knife/fork) on a baking sheet and cook for 30-40 minutes at 200ºC/400ºF. For the smoky flavor, finish it off by grilling for a further 5-10 minutes until the skin is charred.
More Delicious Salad Recipes
If you try this eggplant salad recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
The Best Eggplant Salad
- 1.9 lb eggplants 2 medium-sized
- 13 oz tomatoes 2 medium-sized
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 oz parsley 1 small bunch
- 1 oz green onions 3 stalks
- few fresh mint leaves
For the dressing
- 3 Tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 lemon 3 Tbsp juice
- 0.25 oz garlic 2 cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sumac
- Char the eggplant over a naked flame on a gas top for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Do this until the entire skin is blackened. See the Notes below for the oven method.
- As soon as the eggplants are charred, place them in a bowl and cover it with a plate (or place them in a large jar and close the lid). Allow them to steam for about 10 minutes. This will make them really easy to peel. And they will get a distinct smoky flavor from this process.While they are steaming, prepare the rest of the salad elements.
- In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and sumac. Mince the garlic or grate/press it directly into the bowl. Whisk well to blend all ingredients together.
- Chop the tomatoes, green onions, and parsley. I like to keep the mint leaves whole but feel free to chop them too.
- After steaming the eggplant, peel the skin, then roughly chop them into chunks and place them in a large bowl.
- Add the rest of the chopped ingredients to the bowl and toss until well combined. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix again.
- Serve it with pita bread to complete the meal.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.