Summer is the perfect time to add another delicious vegetable to your salad. In today’s recipe for Mediterranean Summer Salad, we’re roasting eggplant with onions and mixing in tomatoes, pine nuts, quinoa and bulgur to create a summer salad that everyone will enjoy.
First cultivated in Asia and Africa, eggplant is popular there and in many Mediterranean countries. The plant was first brought to the Americas by the Spaniards and later Thomas Jefferson brought eggplant seeds to the U.S. from France.
Eggplant was named after the white version of the vegetable. But it’s the purple version that we often see in stores.
When buying an eggplant, look for one with shiny, smooth skin. It should feel heavy for its size. Keep it stored in the refrigerator and use it soon after cutting into it.
Just as roasting brings out the unique flavor of any vegetable, roasting eggplant develops its full savory taste plus its sweet flavor created by caramelization. Eggplant is perfect for salads because it absorbs the flavors of foods prepared with it or the vinaigrette surrounding it.
Like most vegetables, eggplant is virtually fat-free and sodium-free. One cup of cubed raw eggplant is only 20 calories. Potassium in eggplant supports normal blood pressure and muscle contraction. Plus, eggplant contains 10% of your daily need for manganese, which works with calcium and vitamin D to keep our bones healthy. This veggie provides 2.4 grams of fiber, which helps to keep your digestive system healthy. The fiber lowers blood sugar by slowing the rate of digestion and absorbing sugar. Also, the fiber-rich quinoa and bulgur in our salad provide protein and help make the dish more satisfying.
Prepared with just a few ingredients, our salad is easy to make, and the basil vinaigrette brings a fresh garden taste to your table. It’s a delicious side dish for summer barbeques and potluck meals.
Bethany Thayer is a registered dietitian nutritionist with Henry Ford Health. For more recipes and health information, visit henryford.com/blog. For questions about today’s recipe, email [email protected].
Mediterranean Summer Salad with Ancient Grains and Roasted Eggplant
Serves: 8 servings / Prep time: 20 minutes / Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes
1 cup dry tri-color quinoa
1 cup dry tri-color quinoa
1/2 cup dry bulgur wheat
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes (4 cups, about ¾ pound)
1 sweet onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
½ cup pine nuts
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped basil
Place the quinoa and bulgur into a pot with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook until just tender, about 14 minutes. Drain excess liquid and set aside to cool.
Place quinoa and bulgur into pot with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook until just tender, about 14 minutes. Drain excess liquid and set aside to cool.
Place oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Place eggplant and onion on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, gently tossing with a spoon to coat. Roast for 25-35 minutes, until the onion is caramelized and the eggplant is tender. Set aside to cool.
Heat a small pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Add pine nuts and toast, stirring occasionally for 5-8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant.
Place the quinoa and bulgur in a large serving bowl. Stir in the roasted eggplant and onion. Add the grape tomatoes and pine nuts.
To make the dressing, whisk together lemon juice, lemon peel, crushed garlic, apple cider vinegar, salt and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the grains and vegetables and toss to mix well. Top with chopped basil. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
From Henry Ford LiveWell.
238 calories (50% from fat), 13.5 grams fat (1.5 grams sat. fat), 27 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams protein, 153 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 25 mg calcium, 4.5 grams fiber. Food exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 3 fat.