Over the past year, whenever I mentioned my upcoming trip to Israel, one of the first responses from anyone who had been there was, “Oh! You are going to love the food.”
And after my two-week magical visit, I have to say, the food was THAT incredible.
Vegetables prepared in so many ways from roasted to pickled, paired with grains, stuffed into pastries and available at every single meal, including breakfast. Local wines, fresh and dried fruit, fresh herb salads, iced coffees, olives, lamb and chicken shawarma, grouper and St. Peter’s fish were all menu staples. Along with soft, fluffy pita bread with super smooth hummus.
And the eggplant. I’ve never eaten eggplant so many different ways and yet still craved for more. Pureed into a spread, roasted with tahini yogurt drizzle, baked in a wood-burning oven with pesto on top, the list goes on.
So, I figured it was more than appropriate to share this recipe that Serena developed from our 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook. We highly recommend it for eggplant lovers, those who don’t really love eggplant, and those who’ve had trouble cooking eggplant in the past. We think this is the recipe for ALL of you!
Israeli Eggplant Chickpea Mint Salad
- 1 medium globe eggplant, (about 1 pound), stem removed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 small lemon)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup sliced sweet onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
- 1/4 cup loosely packed chopped or torn mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted if desired
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
- Place oven rack 4 inches below broiler. Turn broiler to highest setting to preheat. Spray a large, rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
- On a cutting board, cut the eggplant lengthwise into eight slabs (each piece should be about 1/2-inch thick.) Place slabs on the baking sheet. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, vinegar, cumin, and salt. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the dressing over both sides of eggplant slabs. Reserve the remaining dressing.
- Broil the eggplant directly under the heating element for 4 minutes, flip them and broil for another 4 minutes, until golden brown.
- While eggplant is broiling, in a serving bowl, combine the chickpeas, onion, mint, sesame seeds and garlic. Add the reserved dressing and gently mix together.
- When the eggplant is done, using tongs, transfer the slabs to a cooling rack; cool for 3 minutes. When slightly cooled, place the eggplant on a cutting board and slice each slab into 1/2-inch strips.
- Add the eggplant to the serving bowl with the onion mixture. Gently toss everything together and serve warm or at room temperature.