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Grilled eggplant and chickpea salad with pomegranate molasses.
Grilled eggplant and chickpea salad with pomegranate molasses. Photograph by Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty

At this time of year, you can barely turn around in a farmers’ market without falling into a big basket of eggplant. Simply grilled and combined with hearty ingredients like chickpeas, bulgur, or soba noodles, eggplant makes a satisfying vegetarian meal that can work with spices and flavors from many world cuisines, from Middle Eastern to Mediterranean to Asian.

GRILLED EGGPLANT FOR SALAD

Makes about 6 cups

3 pounds eggplant, trimmed, peeled if desired, and cut into ¾-inch-thick planks

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more if necessary

Salt and pepper

Neutral oil, for the grill

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill on high for 15 minutes. (If using gas, adjust burners to medium-hot and grill with the lid closed.) Brush eggplant lightly all over with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Clean and oil the grill grate, and cook eggplant until grill-marked and just tender, about 8 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. Remove from the grill and, when cool, cut into 1½-inch pieces (you should have about 6 cups).

TIP: Slicing the eggplants lengthwise, into planks, creates fewer pieces to deal with on the grill.
TIP: Slicing the eggplants lengthwise, into planks, creates fewer pieces to deal with on the grill.Photograph by Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty

GRILLED EGGPLANT AND CHICKPEA SALAD WITH POMEGRANATE MOLASSES

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Makes about 8 cups

Choose bell peppers that are heavy for their size and grill them along with the eggplant.

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or grated

½ teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and black pepper

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 large red or yellow bell peppers, cored, flattened into planks, brushed with olive oil, grilled until just tender, about 8 minutes, and cut into ½-inch-thick strips

1 recipe Grilled Eggplant for Salad

1 13-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/3 cup chopped fresh mint

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

In a small bowl, cover the onion with cold water for about 20 minutes; drain, dry, and reserve. Meanwhile, in a large nonreactive bowl, whisk the pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, honey, garlic, cumin, ¾ teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Vigorously whisk in the 1/3 cup oil. Add the peppers, eggplant, chickpeas, and onion, and fold gently to mix. Adjust seasoning if necessary, and fold in mint and most of the parsley. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve.

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GRILLED EGGPLANT AND BULGUR SALAD WITH HALLOUMI CHEESE

Makes about 10 cups

Grill the cheese and onions along with the eggplant.

1½ cups medium-grain bulgur, rinsed and drained

1/3cup fresh lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or grated

½ teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and pepper

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

½ pound halloumi cheese, cut into ¾-inch-thick slices, brushed with olive oil, grilled 8 minutes, and cut into ½-inch pieces

2 large onions, cut into ¾-inch-thick slices, brushed with olive oil, grilled 15 minutes, and chopped

1 recipe Grilled Eggplant for Salad

½ cup thinly sliced scallion whites and greens

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

In a medium bowl, soak bulgur in water to cover by about 2 inches, about 1 hour. In a strainer, drain and rinse, pressing as dry as possible. In a medium bowl, mix bulgur and 3 tablespoons lemon juice and set aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a very large nonreactive bowl, whisk together the remaining lemon juice, garlic, cumin, ¾ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Vigorously whisk in the 1/3 cup oil. Add the bulgur and fold in the halloumi cheese, onions, and eggplant. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Fold in scallions and most of the parsley. Sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve.

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GRILLED EGGPLANT AND SOBA NOODLES WITH PEACHES

Makes about 8 cups

Adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. This dish is best within the first hour it’s made. Use a neutral oil, rather than olive oil, to grill the eggplant.

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

Salt and black pepper

8 ounces soba noodles

2½ tablespoons Asian sesame oil

¼ cup rice vinegar

1 teaspoon finely grated zest and 2 tablespoons juice from 1 lime

1 tablespoon honey

3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or grated

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 recipe Grilled Eggplant for Salad

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

½ cup thinly sliced scallion whites and greens

1 large, ripe peach, peeled if desired, pitted, and chopped (about 1 cup)

In a small bowl, cover the onion with cold water for 20 minutes; drain, dry, and reserve. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over high heat, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Stir in 1½ teaspoons of salt and the soba, and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 3 minutes. Drain, immediately rinse under cold water until cool, and drain again. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with 1½ teaspoons oil.

In a medium nonreactive bowl, vigorously whisk together the vinegar, lime zest and juice, honey, garlic, red pepper flakes, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¾ teaspoon black pepper, and remaining oil. Add the onion and most of the dressing to the soba, and toss to mix. Fold in the eggplant. Adjust seasoning if necessary, and fold in the cilantro, scallions, and most of the chopped peach. Sprinkle with the remaining peach and serve.

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Adam Ried appears regularly on “America’s Test Kitchen.” Send comments to cooking@globe.com.