Easy Breezy Eggplant and Walnut Salad

Ok, I’ll admit it. I love eggplant. Now I know that it  has very little nutritional value, but it is  high in fiber, low in calories, and  a has great flavor. Eggplant is also versatile as it can be used in appetizers,  main dishes,  soups, salads, and desserts.  If you have not tried candied baby eggplant, you especially do not know what you are missing.

Before you begin cooking eggplant, slice it in the shape you want for the dish you are preparing. Then, sprinkle the slices with salt and let them sit for thirty minutes.  That establishes two things; it takes out a lot of bitterness, and when you cook it, the salted eggplant absorbs much more oil than if you did not salt it.  After salting, gently squeeze out the excess water, place the slices on a cookie sheet, and lightly brush them with olive oil. Broil the eggplant until they are dark brown. Always broil, don’t fry. Once they are done allow them to cool then use them in whatever you dish you planned for the meal, like this one!

This eggplant salad tastes better when it is one day old.  It is almost like you are marinating the eggplant overnight, making the flavors much more intense.

Eggplant and walnut recipe

serves 4

2       medium size eggplants

1       cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

4       scallions, finely chopped

1       red bell pepper, finely chopped

1       jalapeño Pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1/2   cup pomegranate seeds for cranberries

1/2  cup chopped cilantro

1/4   cup pomegranate molasses

2       tablespoons tahini paste

1/4   cup lemon juice

1       clove garlic, mashed

1/8  teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

salt to taste

-Cut the eggplants into 1-inch thick slices.  Place the slices in a colander, sprinkle with salt and allow them to sit for 30 minutes.  Gently pat the slices to squeeze some of the water.  Place the slices on a cookie sheet, brush with olive oil and then broil until golden.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

-Dice the broiled eggplant slices and place in a bowl.  Add the rest of the vegetables, the cilantro, the walnuts and the pomegranate seeds.

-Whisk the molasses with the tahini, the lemon juice, the garlic, the cayenne pepper and the salt.  You can add little of water if the sauce very thick. Drizzle half of the pomegranate dressing over the salad and toss gently.

-Allow the salad to rest, spoon into serving dish and drizzle with the rest of the dressing.

-I spooned the salad into large biscuit mold to shape it for the photo.

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