This Roasted Eggplant Salad with Tomatoes and Peppers is a fresh, vibrant and delicious dish that can be prepared ahead of time. It can be enjoyed as an appetizer with some sliced bread or pita for dipping. Or you can serve it alongside grilled meats or fish as a side dish.
What You Need for Roasted Eggplant Salad
- Globe Eggplants: This roasted eggplant salad works best with Globe eggplants, which are usually larger, have more flesh and a thicker skin than other varieties. If you can’t find globe eggplants, you can use Italian eggplants, which are similar in shape and colour, but slightly smaller in size.
- Tomatoes: Diced tomatoes add colour, juiciness and acidity to the dish.
- Peppers: I like to use both red and green peppers in this eggplant salad. They add sweetness, a pop of crunch and some colour. Feel free to use any type of sweet red or green pepper you like here.
- Green Onion: I like the colour and taste of green onions here, but you can substitute finely chopped white or red onion if preferred. To mellow out the harsh taste of the onion, try rinsing it under some cold water and draining it well before adding it to the salad.
- Fresh Herbs: A combination of finely chopped parsley and dill really help bring the salad to life. You can also add cilantro or mint if you like.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and Lemon Juice: A simple dressing of good olive oil and freshly-squeezed lemon juice is all you need to make the ingredients in this roasted eggplant salad shine.
How to Cook the Eggplant
There are a variety of methods to cook the eggplants for this recipe. You can grill them, roast them, broil them, or char them over a gas burner.
My absolute favourite way to cook the eggplants is to grill it on my Traeger grill, which imparts a delicious wood-fired, smokey flavour that can’t be beat.
If you don’t have a grill, you can roast them in a 425F oven, as I’ve done here, or you can broil them. If you have a gas stove, you can even char them directly over the flame until they are soft. Just keep in mind that this method makes a bit of a mess because if the skin of the eggplant rips, any juices inside will leak onto your stove.
You also have the option of cooking the eggplants whole or slicing them in half. Cooking the eggplants whole takes a little bit longer but the flesh ends up slightly sweeter and has a lighter colour.
Slicing the eggplants in half and roasting them on a baking sheet reduces the cooking time by a little bit, allows for the flesh to develop a delicious, caramelized crust, and results in a slightly more grey finished product. I also think slicing the eggplants in half before roasting makes for a nicer presentation.
Pro Tip: Drain The Eggplant
Depending on the variety of eggplant you use, the liquid inside can be quite bitter. This is usually the case with Globe and Italian eggplants, especially when roasting them whole.
Most of the liquid inside of the eggplant should be drained after cooking. Otherwise, you will be left with a bitter flavour that can ruin the taste of the salad.
For best results, drain the eggplants on a wooden or plastic board positioned with one end over your sink and the other end propped up by a plate or bowl to create a slope. I like to place a second board over top of the eggplants to weigh them down a bit and speed up the process.
Roasted Eggplant Salad with Tomatoes and Peppers
- 2 large or 3 medium globe eggplants
- Extra-virgin olive oil around 6 tablespoons total
- 2 small Persian or field cucumbers finely chopped
- 2 green onions thinly sliced
- 1 medium red bell or shepherd pepper finely chopped
- 1 small cubanelle or green bell pepper finely chopped
- 1 large tomato diced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper to taste
- Sliced bread or flat bread of choice for serving
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Using a sharp knife, slice each eggplant in half, lengthwise. Drizzle the flesh of each eggplant with olive oil, around 3 tablespoons total. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the eggplants in a single layer, flesh-side down. Transfer to the oven and cook, undisturbed, until the eggplants are fork-tender and the flesh turns deep brown, around 35 minutes or longer depending on the size of the eggplants.
- Place a wooden cutting board with one edge positioned over your sink and the other end propped up by a small plate to create a slope. Transfer the eggplants to the board, flesh-side down, and place a second board or large platter overtop to weigh them down. Let the eggplants drain 30 minutes or until most of the bitter liquid is gone.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, green onion, red pepper, green pepper, tomato, parsley, dill, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Toss to combine and let sit 10 minutes before tasting and adjusting with salt and pepper as desired.
- To serve, place each eggplant on a large platter, flesh-side up. Using a spoon, mash the flesh and equally distribute the salad over each eggplant. Mix the eggplant flesh with the salad to combine and spread over sliced bread or flat bread of choice.