Sephardic Spiced Salad

This grilled eggplant and chickpea salad is the perfect picnic food to beat the insufferable summer heat.

Special To The Jewish Week
Total time: 
25
No votes yet
Photo Galleria: 

It’s been in the 90’s for weeks here in Austin, Texas, but now that Memorial Day has passed it officially feels like summer. Pull out the margaritas and jorts, and put away the casseroles and roasts! When the temperature gets this high, I have zero desire to turn on my oven. Ideally, I would lounge all day in a hammock on my porch as a gentleman caller fans me and feeds me peeled grapes, but since that isn’t happening anytime soon, I made this salad instead. Not a bad consolation prize. 

This Sephardic-inspired salad is the perfect picnic food. It is gluten-free (without the pita chips), pareve, and vegan, so pretty much anyone can eat it, unless you are allergic to awesome. And it tastes delicious at room temperature, or even after sitting in the scorching sun for a bit. The charred eggplant with the fresh mint and sweet tomatoes is delicious with the blend of Middle Eastern spices. I served mine with pita chips, but it is tasty all on its own too.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Amy Kritzer is a food writer and recipe developer in Austin, TX who enjoys cooking, theme parties and cowboys. She challenges herself to put a spin on her Bubbe’s traditional Jewish recipes and blogs about her endeavors at What Jew Wanna Eat. You can follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook and watch her cooking videos on Google+.

Ingredients: 
For salad:
1 large eggplant, cut into 1-inch rounds
Salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 can (16 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed or 3 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
2 tbsp black olives, chopped
Minced mint for garnish
For dressing:
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp cumin
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp black pepper
tbsp white vinegar
Juice from one lemon
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Recipe Steps: 
Sprinkle eggplant slices with salt and let sit for 30 minutes to remove bitterness. Rinse and dry.
Pre-heat grill or grill pan over medium heat.
Drizzle eggplant slices in extra virgin olive oil and grill until tender and browned, about 4-5 minutes per side. Let cool and cut into ½ inch cubes.
In a bowl, combine the diced Roma tomatoes, chickpeas, black olives and diced eggplant and set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine all ingredients for the dressing except for the extra virgin olive oil and salt. Drizzle in olive oil while whisking to create and emulsion. Season with salt to taste taking into account the eggplant is already salted.
Toss salad in dressing and garnish with minced mint. Serve with pita chips!