When I’m invited to a cookout, I almost always take along some eggplant to grill. It absorbs flavors very well and lends itself to grilling beautifully. I cut the eggplant into thick discs and toss it in herbs and spices and it turns out succulent and delicious on the grill. If you are looking for an easy, healthy recipe for meatless grilling this is the one for you!
The best part about this recipe is that you don’t need to grill it on a barbecue at all. You can make it in an oven and it will turn out just as tasty (sans the grill marks!). Plus, this salad will keep in the fridge for a few days, so it’s perfect if you are looking for a make-ahead recipe to take to a pot luck or picnic. I leave the eggplant discs whole in this salad, but you can quarter each disc if you wish, so that it resembles a chopped salad. This recipe in infinitely customizable. I’ve given you some optional ingredients to add to this salad to make it extra tasty; but you can pretty much add any vegetable or bean to this recipe and you can’t go wrong.
Grilled Eggplant Salad with Lemony Chickpeas
Serves 3 to 4 as a side salad
- 1 pound eggplant
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (substitute white beans, if desired)
- 1/2 cup diced carrots (substitute green peppers, if desired)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 red onion, sliced into half moons
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- Chopped parsley for garnish
Optional additions to the salad:
- 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, cut into strips
- 1/4 cup feta cheese
- A few kalamata olives
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of capers
Note: If you are using feta, olives and or capers in this recipe, remember that they are all salty, so you may want to reduce the salt in the eggplants.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or preheat the grill to medium heat.
- Cut eggplants into 1/2-inch-thick discs. Arrange the eggplant discs in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Combine the olive oil, italian seasoning, salt and pepper in a bowl. Generously brush the oil on both sides of the eggplant discs.
- Oven Method: Bake the eggplant in a 400-F oven in a single layer, till the bottoms are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Then flip the eggplant slices over and let the other side brown, this will take about 10 to 15 minutes. Then scatter the red onion and garlic on top of the eggplant and return to the oven. Bake until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Grill method:Add the garlic to the olive oil. Brush the eggplant discs and onion slices with the olive oil mixture. Cook on the preheated grill on medium heat for about 7 minutes each side, or until grill marks appear.
- While the eggplant is cooking, work on the chickpeas. Place the chickpeas in a bowl, add the carrots or peppers, lemon juice, salt and pepper. If you are using any of the optional ingredients, add those in as well. Mix well and set aside.
- When the eggplant is cooked, arrange the slices on a platter and scatter the lemony chickpeas on top. Garnish with chopped parsley. This salad will keep in the fridge for 3 days and can be served warm or cold.
Photo credits: Sala Kannan