Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Salad/Dip

Today has been crazy cold here. I think our high was 74. Talk about unseasonably cold. What is up with this weather? It was a nice change from our typical heat and humidity but it is so out of the ordinary. We must have had a cold front come through with the rain we have been getting off and on all day. The ground here has been extremely dry so we needed the rain desperately. It was nice to be able to skip watering today and probably tomorrow as well. Overall it was odd day but a good one.

Given our unseasonably cool temperatures I decided to crank up the oven since it has been mostly taking up space for months. Roasting vegetables in the oven concentrates the flavor making a much more flavorful dish. Many people think you need oil to roast vegetables but you don’t, the flavor is as good (I think it is a much cleaner taste) without the oil.

Today I wanted to make my version of a dish one of our local Middle Eastern restaurants serves. I haven’t had it in a couple of years but my version is certainly similar and no doubt healthier since most chefs love to use copious amounts of olive oil. Here is what I made:

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Salad/Dip
Serves 6


2 small eggplants (about 1 ½ pounds)
9 – 10 Roma tomatoes, cut in half
1 head of garlic, cloves detached
I lemon, zested and juiced
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cumin, toasted and ground
½ teaspoon coriander seed, toasted and ground
¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
2 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 black olives thinly slivered, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a half sheet pan with parchment or a silpat (to make clean up easier).

Pierce the eggplants with the tip of your paring knife at least 5 times so that steam can escape when they are roasting. Cut the tomatoes and half and separate the garlic cloves from the head and give them a little smash (to activate the allicin development).

Place all the prepared produce on your baking sheet and put it in the oven uncovered. Check the oven every 15 minutes. Remove the garlic when it is caramelized which happened at the 30 minute mark in my oven. Cook the eggplant until it is thoroughly soft, it will collapse as it cools. You want a little char on the tomatoes to give the dish a smoky flavor. Here are the veggies uncooked

and cooked.

Allow everything to cool so you can handle it. Once cool peel the eggplant and chop the flesh. Place the eggplant in a strainer and using a spoon press out the excess liquid. Move the eggplant to a mixing bowl. Roughly chop the tomatoes and drain them of their excess liquid (no need to press) and move them to the mixing bowl with the eggplant.

Peel the garlic and drop it into your blender. Add the juice of one lemon, cumin, paprika, and coriander and process until smooth. Pour the dressing over the veggies. Add the lemon zest, fresh herbs and olives and stir to combine. Refrigerate until needed. This should be served cold and will be better after the flavors have had a chance to marry.

Taste and add freshly ground black pepper before serving. Top each serving with a few olive slices.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 77.35
Calories From Fat (11%) - 8.39

Total Fat - 1.03g
Saturated Fat - 0.15g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 32.13mg
Potassium - 851.36mg
Total Carbohydrates - 18.05g
Fiber - 7.78g
Sugar - 8.66g
Protein - 3.57g


I really enjoyed this dish as did Dan who is not a huge fan of eggplant. This dish is fresh and light and has a complex flavor. Traditionally it would be served with flat bread but I went with cucumber slices to make it healthier. Later this week I can see it as a salad topping.

Food since my last post:

It has been a fairly boring food day here sorry to say. I spent much of the day reading and relaxing so I wasn’t really hungry. I try to listen to my body, within reason of course. Since I wasn’t very active today my body didn’t seem to crave food.

For breakfast I had another green smoothie (like yesterday).

Lunch was a simple green salad or shredded romaine, Roma tomatoes, pomegranate molasses, sumac and pine nuts.

To accompany the salad I had a bowl of watermelon, peaches and blackberries.

Most the day I was sipping hot water with lemon. With the cooler temperatures I wanted something hot to drink but wasn’t in a tea mood. I used to love hot water and lemon in the mornings so I made a mug. Yep, I still love it. I may be going back to that in the morning to help me wake up. Since I am not a morning person I need all the waking up I can get. ;-)

Dinner tonight was another salad. ;-) This one contained shredded romaine, caponata, fat free hummus, marinated mushrooms and cucumbers in a garlic cashew cream topped with diced tomato. Nothing fancy just simple healthy food.

To go with that we had to sample the roasted eggplant and tomato dip which we eat with sliced cucumbers.

Other stuff:

With the gray rainy weather we had to today there was not a lot going on at our house. I had a very low key day.

I don’t know how many of you watch Top Chef but it is one of my favorite shows. If you like “chefy” food you should check it out. Obviously it isn’t vegan but I get great ideas in terms of plating and presentation as well as composition. Tonight’s episode had black garlic as one of the mystery ingredients. This was fortuitous since I was actually discussing black garlic with someone today. Tomorrow may see a dish with black garlic turn up for dinner which will be a stretch since I haven’t seen any recipes that contain it. However we have had it out so I have a few ideas of what to do with it. Do any of you have any experience cooking or eating black garlic?

It is getting late so I am going to sign off for the evening. I hope everyone had a great Wednesday. We are more than halfway to the weekend. Yay!

This eggplant dish is going out to the August SOS challenge.


  1. No experience cooking with black garlic but from the moment I read of it in a serious foodie publication I was keen to try it. Still haven't come across it anywhere. Where do you plan to source yours from? I'd be keen to ensure that the garlic is US-grown and not Chinese. Most grocery store garlic is Chinese-grown and has been either bleached, drenched in fungicide or more often than not, both. Love to hear about any black garlic experiments.

  2. Heather,

    I found mine at Wegman's in the Natural Market section of the store. It is the Melissa's brand. It is a product of Korea. I avoid Chinese things as much as possible myself.


  3. Oh you're so cruel showing the eggplants. That is one thing I look forward to most out of my garden. Guess I need to go hit up the local market this weekend. Hope Thursday treats you more kindly. Big hug!

  4. Heather,

    My eggplants came from the farmers market. While I have grown them before I didn't plant any this year. I still curious what got into your yard and ate jalapenos. LOL

    It is a gorgeous morning, mid 70's and breezy. I still didn't sleep well but with such a beautiful morning I know it is going to be a great day. ;-)

    hugs to you too,

  5. You can check out our website for some recipe ideas!

    Also if you look at our facebook page you can find TONS of dishes that other people have made with black garlic! Good luck I hope you enjoy cooking with it!

  6. Lydia,

    Thanks for the recipe link on the black garlic.


  7. I am a big Top Chef fan even though I would not eat the food. I blurred my eyes in case you had spoilers as I haven't watched last night's episode yet. Also, I always giggle when they complain about having to do vegetarian challenges.

    Your roasted soup looks good - I love roasted eggplants and tomatoes (and corn for that matter) - but I also look for a cool day to turn on the oven in the summer!

  8. Jessica,

    I don't think I had any Top Chef spoilers in my post. But I did mention one ingredient in the mystery box. I know quite a few vegans that watch Top Chef as odd as that seems. We also laugh when they complain about making vegetarian food. Our chef friend has the same mental block. It just isn't how they are trained. ;-)

    I do love these cool days when I feel it is okay to turn on the oven. It is cool enough today to have the AC off which is wonderful.

    If you try the eggplant salad/spread/dip, whatever you want to call it, I hope you like it. It has a lot of flavor.


  9. The eggplant dip sounds delish! I also love your "made in France" cloth:)

  10. Your salad/dip sounds fantastic! And you know your big bowl of fruit has my mouth watering...watermelon and peaches?! Mmmmm :-)


  11. Aimee,

    Thanks, I really like this dish. It has nice complex flavor and the mint gives it an unexpected touch.

    The made in france cloth is a Silpat. It is a silcone and fiberglass non-stick baking pan liner. It is traditionally used for cookies but I use it for much of my baking to make clean up easier.


  12. Courtney,

    I really wasn't sure what to call this salad or dip. I think traditionally it is considered a salad but dip make more sense to me.

    I have been trying to make sure I eat my fruit. Left to my own I would eat mostly veggies. But I love both watermelon and peaches so it wasn't too tough to get my fruit in yesterday. ;-)


  13. That sounds really good. I love the before and after photos.

  14. Rose,

    Thanks! :-) It is also good on salad in place of dressing.

    I was wondering if the before and after pics added anything. Thanks for reading my mind and weighing in. ;-)


  15. It's sooooo strange to hear you refer to 74 degrees as cool!!!!! That's a warm, no cardigan required, sort of summer's day here in the north of England:-) I love the sound of your eggplant salad - my first aubergine is about an inch long in the greenhouse as I type, and turning purple - hurray!

  16. Christine,

    Since we have been in the mid 90's with high humidity 74 is cool but glorious. Sounds like I would love your summers in England. ;-)

    I love eggplant/aubergine always have. Sounds like you are growing the little ones that are perfect for stuffing. The small varieties are not easy to find here but they are my favorite.

    I hope you are enjoying your weekend,


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