This Eggplant Salad is substantial enough to have as a main meal with big bold flavours. 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 with the minty yoghurt dressing having a cooling effect.
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 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.
How to prepare the eggplants
1WASH & 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.
Place the eggplant cubes, Harissa paste and olive oil, on a baking tray and 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.
Putting this salad together
While you are waiting for your eggplant to cook and cool you can prepare the rest of your ingredients.
1Wash your rocket (arugula) in cold running water, remove any wilted or damaged leaves, then spin dry in a salad spinner to remove excess water. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
2Wash your cherry tomatoes under cold running water and cut 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. However, if your tomatoes are a bit soft it is easier to place your hand over a few and then run a serrated knife through them.
Transfer to your bowl.
Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender or small food processor 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.
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.
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.
Make ahead tips & Leftovers
You can easily prepare your eggplant and dressing the day before and just assemble the salad just before serving. It can be made 1-2 hours in advance.
The leftover salad can be stored covered in the fridge and easily be enjoyed the following day. But you can easily add it to some pasta or noodles and enjoy for a delicious lunch.
A great vegetarian option for your next dinner.
- Salad Spinner
- 1 kg eggplant (approximately 4 small or 2 large eggplants)
- 1-2 tbsps Harissa (depending on how spicy you like it)
- ¼ cup olive oil (extra virgin)
- 50 grams baby rocket (arugula) (2 cups tightly packed)
- 500 grams cherry tomatoes (2 small punnets)
- ⅓ cup fresh mint leaves
- 3 tbsps lemon juice (fresh)
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 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 and then salt.
- Place on your baking tray add the oil and harissa and toss together until the eggplant is well coated.
- 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.
- Rinse your cherry tomatoes, pat dry and then cut in half. Add to your bowl.
- Put all your dressing ingredients in a small food processor blender and blitz until smooth.
- 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.