Roast Eggplant and Chickpea Salad

Perhaps our diet has been lacking, perhaps I’m over the braises and stews of winter, perhaps it’s the slow way spring is toying with us, but all I want for dinner lately is a really good salad.

I’m not talking just cold greens. Main-course salads have been good to me lately–big bowls of refreshing, bright, clean flavors that no takeout can really satisfy. I could live on taco salad, steakhouse iceberg saladsquash panzanella, and I haven’t even gotten around to a giant duck salad yet this year.

This weekend’s iteration was a keeper: spinach and cucumbers tossed with a garlicky goat-cheese dressing, with piles of crispy, Moroccan-spiced chickpeas and silky, rich slices of eggplant. Depending how long you cook them, the chickpeas are almost like spiced nuts: rich, crispy, snackable. Take them out of the oven a little earlier if you prefer them soft.

You could add a dollop of hummus to the top of this salad if you wanted, or even some chunks of lamb, but that might be overkill. A garnish of mint and parsley wouldn’t hurt. In summer, this dish will be all the easier with the use of a grill; just slather each eggplant slice with oil and herbs and throw them on, turning once.

Of course, in summer, I’ll be all tomatoes all the time.

Roast Eggplant and Chickpea Salad
serves two

For the chickpeas (adapted from Fine Cooking via Kalyn’s Kitchen):
1 28-oz can garbanzo beans
olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon each chile powder, sweet paprika, and cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon each ground allspice, ground ginger, aleppo pepper, and cloves

For the eggplant:
olive oil
2-3 small eggplants
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon za’atar
1/2 teaspoon oregano

For the salad:
1 bunch spinach or arugula
1 large English cucumber
1 tomato (optional, in season only)
additional soft goat cheese for crumbling

For the dressing:

1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon soft goat cheese
freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Drain and rinse garbanzo beans. Place in a skillet (I used cast-iron) and with olive oil, tossing to coat thoroughly. Add cumin, coriander, chile powder, paprika, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, aleppo pepper, and cloves, then salt generously. Place in lower rack in the oven. Slice eggplant into 1/2″ thick slices, discarding ends. Oil a cookie sheet and arrange eggplant slices in one layer, drizzling with a little bit of additional oil. Sprinkle with chopped garlic, za’atar, and oregano. Add to oven (top rack).

Stir chickpeas and turn eggplant after 15 minutes, then bake another 15 minutes. Remove chickpeas from the oven when they’re crispy on the outside–about 35 minutes total. Remove eggplant when it’s soft and lightly browned, also around 35-40 minutes.

While the eggplant and chickpeas roast, wash spinach well and dry, then place in a large salad bowl. Chop cucumber (removing ends) and add to salad along with tomato (if using.) In a small bowl, add vinegar and garlic, then stir in olive oil. Add goat cheese and stir until smooth, then pepper generously.

When eggplant and chickpeas are done, toss greens with dressing. Serve salad onto individual plates, topping with eggplant, chickpeas, and additional crumbled goat cheese.

In chickpeas, eggplant, salad, spinach, vegetables, vegetarian

Email This Post Email This Post | Bookmark or Share | | Print This Post Print This Post