Israeli Salad with Roasted Eggplant

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I do the bulk of my cooking for the upcoming week on Sunday afternoons. As crazy as this may sound, I love spending half of the day in the kitchen planning out our meals and doing as much prep work as I can to ensure a quick dinner during the busy work week. Plus, since I’m being productive, I don’t feel guilty watching shows that I should absolutely feel guilty about watching – as “background noise” of course. Our new foster, Wink, was happy to keep me company throughout the process, and did not appear to judge my new-found obsession with the Real Housewives of everywhere:

However, I think she was more interested in the protein-based dishes than she was in this salad. For this recipe, I wanted to add more substance to the standard Israeli salad. The original version is a simple and delicious blend of tomato, cucumber, purple onion, and parsley, with some olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. My version adds cumin-rubbed roasted eggplant. Eggplant has thick, meaty flavor when its cooked, much like mushrooms. I like eggplant in an otherwise basic salad like this because it soaks up oil and vinegar like a sponge when it is roasted.

Israeli Salad with Roasted Eggplant

Since I had a ripe avocado on hand, I sliced it up and added it to the salad. The salad will keep for a few days in the fridge, so to avoid brown, unappetizing, avocado chunks in a two-day-old salad, slice it fresh for each serving. It is delicious on its own, but would also be a nice topping for grilled salmon, or stirred into some quinoa. With the addition of avocado, I figured it was already basically guacamole, so I enjoyed it with tortilla chips right after I made it.

Israeli Salad with Roasted Eggplant

Israeli Salad with Roasted Eggplant

You will need:

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/2 purple onion
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 avocado (optional)

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit.
  • Peel and dice eggplant. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, cumin, garlic, and smoked paprika. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes or so, until eggplant is tender. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  • Peel cucumber and cut in half length-wise. Use a spoon to remove the seeds, then chop and place in a large bowl. Remove seeds from the tomato, chop, and add to the bowl. Stir in diced onion, finely chopped parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, roasted eggplant, and additional salt and pepper (plus avocado, if using).
  • Serve chilled or at room temperature.

And one last picture, because it’s such a pretty little salad:

Israeli Salad with Roasted Eggplant

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