This Eggplant Salad is substantial enough to have as a main meal with big bold flavours and combines the smoky heat of harissa with the freshness of minty yoghurt. It makes a great vegetarian option for your next dinner.
The eggplant absorbs the aromatic Harissa paste for a spicy flavour hit that complements the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes while the minty yoghurt dressing has a cooling effect.
It's a salad that effortlessly elevates any meal, impresses guests and satisfies your cravings for something extraordinary.
You Will Need
Step 1 - Wash and Salt Eggplants
Preheat your oven to 220°C (425°F). Line a roasting pan with baking paper.
Wash the eggplant remove the tops and bottoms then cut your eggplant in half, cut each half into thirds then cut into medium-sized cubes.
I like to salt my eggplants before cooking for a much creamier texture, if you prefer your eggplant meatier then there is no need to salt them.
To do this place your eggplant cubes in a colander and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
Allow to sit for at least 60 minutes, you will know when they are ready once you see either liquid beads form on them or you see your eggplant start to sweat.
Pat them dry with a towel to remove the excess water and salt.
Step 2 - Roast the Eggplants
Place the eggplant cubes on a baking tray then add Harissa paste and olive oil.
Mix until the eggplant is well coated with the Harissa.
Roast the eggplant in the oven until well cooked (approximately 40 minutes, turning it occasionally until it is golden brown all over.
Allow the eggplant mix to cool.
Step 3 - Prep Your Greens
While you are waiting for your eggplant to cook and cool you can prepare the rest of your ingredients.
Wash your rocket (arugula) in cold running water, and remove any wilted or damaged leaves.
Either pat dry with a clean towel or spin dry in a salad spinner to remove excess water. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Step 4 - Cut Your Cherry Tomatoes
Wash your cherry tomatoes under cold running water and cut them in half.
You can do this either by cutting them one by one or by placing a few under a plastic lid and running a serrated knife through them.
If your tomatoes are a bit soft it is easier to place your hand over a few at a time and then carefully run a serrated knife through them. Transfer to your bowl.
Step 5 - Blitz Your Dressing
Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender or small food processor, season and blitz until well combined.
You are looking for a creamy consistency with green flecks of mint throughout if it looks pale green then you have blitzed it for too long.
Step 6 - Assemble Your Eggplant Salad
Add the cooled eggplant mix to your mixing bowl with the rocket (arugula) and tomatoes, then gently toss them until well combined.
You can add a bit more oil if your salad looks a bit dry if you like. Taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.
Arrange your salad in a bowl, then place the dressing in a small bowl or sauceboat and serve on the side.
Serving Suggestions 🍽
This salad is best friends with lamb, we served ours at a barbecue where we had roasted a baby lamb on the spit. But it is also great with a roast lamb leg and it also pairs well with store-bought charcoal chicken.
Tips and Questions 💡
What is Harissa and What Can I Use as a Substitute?
- Harissa is a fiery Tunisian blend made with chillies, spices, garlic and oil. It is just magic on eggplant!
- You should be able to find it in the International food aisle at your supermarket or at a Middle Eastern specialty store.
- Alternatively, you may substitute with either sambal oelek or sriracha as they both have the garlicky heat that is needed here. Then simply add a ¼ teaspoon each of ground coriander and cumin powder to add the necessary spicy aroma.
- Or why not make your own Harissa with my family's recipe?
Can I Use a Different Type of Eggplant for This Salad?
Absolutely! While large eggplants are commonly used, you can also try this salad with smaller varieties like Japanese or Italian eggplants. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Can I Substitute Dried Mint for Fresh Mint in the Dressing?
Fresh mint provides a bright and vibrant flavour to the dressing, while dried mint has a more earthy taste to it. I recommend using some fresh basil as a substitute.
Can This Salad Be Made Ahead?
You can easily prepare, and roast your eggplant the day before and keep it in an airtight container in your fridge.
You can also make up the dressing in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Give it a good stir before serving to ensure the flavours are well combined.
Bring the eggplant to room temperature before you assemble the salad. It can be made 1-2 hours in advance.
Is This Salad Suitable for Vegans?
The main components of the salad (eggplant and harissa) are vegan-friendly. To make the dressing vegan, you can use coconut or almond yoghurt instead of Greek yoghurt.
More Eggplant Salads
If you are looking for even more eggplant salad recipes we have a variety to choose from!
A great vegetarian option for your next dinner.
- Salad Spinner
- 1 kilogram eggplants (approximately 4 small or 2 large eggplants, 2.2 pounds)
- 1-2 tbsps Harissa paste (depending on how spicy you like it)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups baby rocket/arugula, tightly packed (approximately 60 grams, 2.12 ounces)
- 2 punnets cherry tomatoes (approximately 500 grams, 17.7 ounces)
- ⅓ cup fresh mint leaves
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- ½ cup Greek yogurt (or plant based for vegan)
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
- Preheat your oven to 220°C (425°F). Line a roasting pan with baking paper.
- Wash and trim your eggplants cut into large cubes.1 kilogram eggplants
- Salt and let stand for 60 minutes to sweat then pat dry.
- Place on your baking tray add the oil and harissa and toss together until the eggplant is well coated.1-2 tbsps Harissa paste, ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Roast the eggplants until they are golden brown, turning half-way through the cooking process (approximately 40 minutes total). Allow the mix to cool slightly when done.
- In the meantime prepare the rest of your ingredients.
- Rinse your rocket (arugula) and either pat dry with a towel or spin dry in a salad spinner. Transfer to a bowl.2 cups baby rocket/arugula, tightly packed
- Rinse your cherry tomatoes, pat dry and then cut them in half. Add to your bowl.2 punnets cherry tomatoes
- Put all your dressing ingredients in a small food processor or blender, season and blitz until smooth.⅓ cup fresh mint leaves, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed, ½ cup Greek yogurt
- Add your cooled eggplant to the bowl with the rocket (arugula) and tomatoes and toss until well combined.
- Arrange in a salad bowl and place the dressing in a small bowl or sauceboat and serve on the side.