Eggplant salad is an easy and delicious recipe made with roasted or air-fried eggplant, chickpeas, and other crunchy seasonal vegetables. It's perfect as a make-ahead meal, for potlucks, and picnics.
You can serve it as a side dish or add pasta and transform it into a light, healthy, and delicious main dish.
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Roasted eggplant salad is a delicious addition to your salad repertoire. Our recipe is an Italian-inspired one with familiar flavors and a comfortable feel.
Everyone at your table will love this recipe and ask for seconds. It's colorful, tender-crisp, and packed with fresh seasonal veggies.
First, we'll show you how to make it as a healthy and nutritious side dish. Then how to transform it into a glorious eggplant pasta salad to have as a main for a make-ahead lunch, light dinner, or to bring with you to potlucks and picnics.
The star of this recipe is roasted eggplants. You can roast the eggplant in the oven or do so in half the time in the air-fryer. You could even use grilled eggplant if you prefer.
We combine tender and smokey eggplant with fresh and crunchy vegetables such as yellow bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, black olives, raw zucchini, red onion, and chickpeas to create a symphony of colors, flavors, and textures that will please the pickiest crowds.
The seasoning is simple, with extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon, but if you want to make it more special, you can use our easy lemon-mustard dressing.
To make this eggplant salad recipe even better, add a short pasta, cooked al dente, to make one of the most satisfying and nutritious pasta salads you'll ever have.
The recipe has plenty of complete protein, dietary fiber, and healthy carbs, and is packed with vitamins and antioxidants.
We use globe eggplants, the dark-purple ones you can find in most supermarkets. You can also use other varieties, such as Italian eggplant (almost identical to globe American eggplant) and zebra eggplant, the one with white and purple stripes.
Use canned chickpeas or raw chickpeas that you cook yourself. You can substitute lentils and cannellini beans for chickpeas.
Small tomatoes are best because they are sweeter and release less water. You can use cherry tomatoes, date tomatoes, plum tomatoes, or any other variety of small tomatoes.
We love adding some raw zucchini to this salad, thinly sliced. If you don't fancy raw zucchini, you can replace it with cucumber.
Yellow bell pepper is best because of its color. Bell peppers and eggplants are great together, and the sweet, crunchy pepper complements perfectly the tender, slightly smokey eggplant.
You can replace yellow bell pepper with red or orange bell pepper.
Red onion adds a little tangy, sharp flavor to the salad, which is excellent to complement the sweetness of the other vegetables. Finely chopped is best. For a lighter flavor, you can replace it with shallots or spring onions.
Olives add so much taste and umami. We use pitted black olives, but you can use any other variety, from Kalamata olives to Castelvetrano olives.
Fresh flat-leaf parsley is the "cherry on top" of this salad. It fits perfectly with all the other vegetables; it adds freshness, color, and that Mediterranean feel. It's perfect with roasted eggplant and chickpeas, so try not to skip this one.
You can replace parsley with other fresh herbs such as basil leaves, chives, or finely chopped mint leaves.
We recommend extra virgin olive oil to add a mild, fruity flavor to this dish. Good quality oil is essential as this is the main ingredient for our dressing.
Freshly squeezed lemon juice balances the round mouthfeel of the oil and adds freshness, and its acidity works as a flavor booster for the other ingredients.
You can replace lemon juice with apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or red wine vinegar.
Note: if you prefer a sweeter and bolder dressing, you can make a simple lemon-mustard vinaigrette made with olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, and maple syrup.
Salt & Black Pepper
To make this salad taste good, you've got to add some salt and black pepper. We recommend sea salt or kosher salt.
If you add pasta to the salad, remember to cook it in plenty of salted boiling water.
Try adding farfalle, rotini, fusilli, penne, or other short pasta types to this eggplant salad, to transform it into a delicious main dish.
Preheat the oven to 430°F or 220°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Wash and dry the eggplant and remove its stem. Slice eggplant, then cut it into ¾ inch (2cm) cubes.
Transfer onto a baking sheet, arrange on a single layer without overlapping, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to spread seasoning.
Tip: optionally, you can add some fresh thyme or oregano or some dried herbs.
Roast eggplant for 20 minutes, flip with a spatula, and roast for 5 to 10 more minutes.
Tip: poke eggplant flesh with a fork to check for doneness. The fork should slide in easily.
To a large bowl, add: drained and rinsed chickpeas, sliced pitted black olives, finely chopped onion, sliced zucchini, quartered cherry tomatoes, diced yellow bell pepper, and finely chopped parsley.
Season with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and freshly squeezed lemon juice, mix well and set aside.
For a bolder, sweeter flavor, use our mustard dressing. To make it, whisk lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, salt, pepper, and maple syrup in a small bowl.
When the eggplants are cooked, add them to the bowl.
Mix well, taste, and adjust for salt and lemon juice. Serve as is, at room temperature, with a slice of toasted bread, warm pita bread, or with a sandwich on the side.
Add pasta (optional)
Adding pasta is optional but we recommend it if you want to turn your eggplant salad into a complete meal.
Cook farfalle or another short pasta type in plenty of salted boiling water until al dente.
Drain the pasta, rinse it under cold water for 30 seconds to cool it down slightly, and add it to the bowl with the other ingredients.
Mix well, taste, and adjust for seasoning. You might need to add a little more olive oil, parsley, and lemon juice.
Air-fried eggplant pasta salad
Air-fried eggplants are almost the same as oven-roasted eggplants, except that you can cook them in half the time in an air-fryer.
Check out here how to air-fry eggplants, then mix them together with the other ingredients as instructed in this recipe.
Grilled eggplants pasta salad
Just took out your grill for the summer? Then make this recipe with our grilled eggplants instead. All you have to do is slice the eggplants, then grill them, chop them up, and add them to the salad. The charred smokey flavor of grilled eggplants is delicious in this dish.
Note: you can grill eggplants on a standard grill or on a grill pan on the stove top.
Our roasted eggplant salad is perfect to make ahead and keep in the fridge for a whole day before serving it. The flavors will come together and the salad will taste really good.
What we would recommend, however, is to make some more dressing, and add it to the salad just before serving it. This is necessary because the eggplants and the pasta will absorb most of the dressing, leaving the salad a little dry.
Also, take the salad out of the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving it to allow the flavors to pop.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This recipe is not suitable for freezing.
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- 2 medium eggplants + 2 teaspoon olive oil, ⅓ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper for roasting
- 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas or 1½ cups of cooked chickpeas (drained)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes (chopped)
- 1 cup zucchini (sliced)
- ½ cup black olives (sliced)
- ½ cup red onion (chopped)
- 1 cup yellow bell pepper (diced)
- ⅓ cup parsley (finely chopped)
- ½ pound pasta (optional) rotini, fusilli, penne, bow-ties
For the dressing
- 2 - 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 - 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 430°F or 220°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Wash and dry the eggplant and remove its stem. Slice eggplant, then cut it into ¾ inch (2cm) cubes.
- Transfer onto a baking sheet, arrange on a single layer without overlapping, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to spread seasoning.Tip: optionally, you can add some fresh thyme or oregano or some dried herbs.
- Roast eggplant for 20 minutes, flip with a spatula, and roast for 5 to 10 more minutes.Tip: poke them with a fork to check for doneness. The fork should slide in easily.
- To a large bowl, add: drained and rinsed chickpeas, sliced pitted black olives, finely chopped onion, sliced zucchini, quartered cherry tomatoes, diced yellow bell pepper, and finely chopped parsley.
- Season with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and freshly squeezed lemon juice, mix well and set aside.When the eggplants are cooked, add them to the bowl.
- Mix well, taste, and adjust for salt and lemon juice. Serve as is, at room temperature, with a slice of toasted bread, or warm pita bread.
ADD PASTA (OPTIONAL)
- Adding pasta is optional but we recommend it if you want to turn your eggplant salad into a complete meal.Cook farfalle or another short pasta type in plenty of salted boiling water until al dente.Drain the pasta, rinse it under cold water for 30 seconds to cool it down slightly, and add it to the bowl with the other ingredients.Mix well, taste, and adjust for seasoning. You might need to add a little more olive oil, parsley, and lemon juice.
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