Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad with Paprika and Roasted Garlic Dressing

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On Saturday I went to see The Hundred Foot Journey. In addition to being a great story about love, family, and the power of the human spirit, this movie made me want to do nothing but cook for a week. The wide panning shots of fresh market vegetables, and watching the characters prepare and devour delicious dishes with the same intense love I feel for food got my cooking brain hungry for some time in the kitchen. Having this in my head when I went grocery shopping after the movie may have been a bad idea. I ended up with a basket overflowing with lush spring vegetables and fruits. Luckily I have so many ideas for recipes to enjoy them in, and share with you.

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I couldn’t resist this beautiful eggplant while I was shopping on Saturday, especially after the French market scenes of tables laden with eggplant and its summertime brethren. Eggplant is one of those foods that falls into the ‘love it or hate it’ category of vegetables. I’m a lover. I’m hoping that after you try this salad you will be an eggplant lover too.

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

The first important step to take when approaching an eggplant dish is to pick out the perfect eggplant. You want to find one that has tight shiny skin with few marks and no soft spots. Eggplants can vary in skin colour from dark purple to the stripy version I found in the fruit market on Saturday. They are all tasty and delightful. I think there’s a metaphor there somewhere. Our eggplant is cubed and coated in a mix of warm spices and oil and then spends some time roasting in the oven before meeting our other ingredients: roasted almonds, brown rice, and mixed green leaves. The whole bowl is then coated generously with a paprika and roasted garlic dressing. The honey and garlic based dressing is worthy of the hearty ingredients in this salad.

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

If you are searching for a sturdy salad to fill your lunchbox throughout the week then you have found it. I found that the flavours of the dressing developed and intensified over the week. You can also leave the dressing separate and add it just before eating if you are worried about the greens becoming soggy. I’m hoping that once you take a bite of crunchy toasted almonds, nutty brown rice, crispy fresh greens and olive oil softened eggplant you will fall in love with this salad, and make room for some eggplant in your next dish.

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad with Paprika and Roasted Garlic Dressing

Serves 3-4 | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Vegan option: replace honey with maple syrup or agave nectar

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 400 gram tin chickpeas, rinsed thoroughly and drained
  • 4 cups mixed baby greens
  • 3 stalks spring onion
  • 1/4 cup (packed) basil leaves

For the dressing:

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F). Line a baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
  2. Top and tail eggplant and dice into two centimetre (1 inch) cubes. In a small mixing bowl mix eggplant with olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper. Place on prepared baking sheet. Wrap the cloves of garlic in aluminium foil and place on baking tray too. Bake for 45 minutes or until eggplant is softened.
  3. In the last ten minutes of baking spread almonds across another baking tray and roast. Remove from oven and cool then roughly chop.
  4. While the eggplant is cooking, place brown rice and vegetable stock in a medium size saucepan. Bring to the boil. Once boiling, cover with a lid and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer rice for 30 minutes or until all water is absorbed and the rice is cooked but still firm to the bite.
  5. In a large mixing bowl toss together eggplant, almonds, brown rice, and rinsed chickpeas.
  6. Finely chop spring onions and basil and add to the bowl along with the mixed greens. Toss well.
  7. To make the dressing whisk all ingredients together. Add to salad and mix well so that the dressing can permeate every bite.

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

So, dear reader, have I convinced you to try eggplant in your next salad? Have you seen The Hundred Foot Journey yet?

10 thoughts on “Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad with Paprika and Roasted Garlic Dressing

  1. There are a couple of foodie movies out currently, Chef’s another one I think. From what I’ve heard, I’m pretty sure when I see them I’ll want to go food shopping afterwards!

    Oh and I love a crunchy, nutty salad! Looks great Amy 🙂

  2. Pingback: Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Thirty-Seven | Thoroughly Nourished Life

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