Blog Diets Mediterranean Healthy Mediterranean Eggplant Salad Recipe

Healthy Mediterranean Eggplant Salad Recipe

The Spaniards introduced eggplant to the Mediterranean region in the 14th century, and it quickly became a staple in many of the local cuisines there. Originally known as an aphrodisiac and referred to as “Berenjenas”, the aubergine is now a popular vegetable dish in healthy Mediterranean cuisine.

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The humble eggplant is often overshadowed by other vegetables, but it is actually a nutritional powerhouse. Eggplants are low in calories and a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. They also contain phytonutrients which are believed to have numerous health benefits.

This healthy Mediterranean eggplant salad recipe is a perfect example of how delicious and nutritious eggplants can be. It is loaded with flavor from the fresh herbs and spices, and the addition of bell pepper and za’atar give it a beautiful color and flavor.

This dish can be served as a side or main course, and leftovers can be eaten re-warmed or cold as a delicious lunch box filler.

We’ve also included a few more healthy Mediterranean eggplant recipes below that you might like to try.

Mediterranean Grilled Eggplant Salad (7)

If you are looking for a healthy and flavorful eggplant recipe, look no further than this Mediterranean eggplant salad!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant {or about 3 lbs.}
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 teaspoon za’atar (za’atar  is a spice blend that can be found in most Middle Eastern markets)
  • 3 beefsteak tomatoes, diced {about 3 cups of diced tomatoes}
  • 1 bell pepper, seeds removed, chopped {I used half a red and half a green}
  • 5 green onions, green parts chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Dash of salt & pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Instructions:

Grill the eggplants:

  1. Preheat your grill {or grill pan} to medium-high heat.
  2. Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch thick slices, and brush both sides with olive oil.
  3. Season with za’atar, salt and pepper, and grill for 5-7 minutes per side, until nicely charred.
  4. Remove from the grill and let cool.
See also
28-Day Mediterranean Diet Plan: Should You Give It A Try Or Not?

Prepare the salad:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the diced tomatoes, bell pepper, green onions, mint, parsley and lemon juice.
  2. Season with salt and pepper, and crushed red pepper, and toss to combine.
  3. Chop the grilled eggplant into bite-sized pieces, and add it to the salad. Toss to combine, and taste for seasoning. Serve immediately, or store in the fridge for up to a day. Enjoy!

This recipe is courtesy of acedarspoon.com

Read More: The Gluten-Free Mediterranean Diet: How It Works, Benefits, And Tips For Getting Started

Diet

Mediterranean Eggplant And Barley Salad (6)

Barley makes a great addition to this healthy eggplant salad recipe. It is a whole grain that is high in fiber and has a nutty flavor that pairs well with the eggplant and other ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pound eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4 pound zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped scallion (from 1 bunch)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 1/4 cups pearl barley (8 oz)
  • 1 (14-oz) can reduced-sodium chicken broth (1 3/4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion, rinsed and drained if desired
  • 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
  • Accompaniment: 1 (1/2-lb) piece ricotta salata, cut crosswise into thin slices
See also
Mediterranean Diet 30-Day Meal Plan: The Beginner’s Guide With Clear-Cut Answers About This Diet Plan

Instructions:

Roast the eggplant and zucchini:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F with a rack in the middle.
  2. Toss eggplant and zucchini with 5 tablespoons oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon black pepper on a large rimmed baking sheet, then spread in a single layer.
  3. Roast, stirring once or twice, until eggplant and zucchini are tender and browned in spots, 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the barley:

  1. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until hot but not smoking.
  2. Add scallion, cumin, coriander, and cayenne, and cook, stirring occasionally, until scallion is softened, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add barley and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute.
  4. Stir in broth and water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until barley is tender and has absorbed all the liquid, about 45 minutes.
  5. Let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  6. Spread to the shallow baking pan, spreading to cool slightly.

Make the dressing:

  1. Whisk lemon juice, garlic, sugar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Gradually whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons oil until emulsified, then whisk in 2 tablespoons water.

Assemble the salad:

  1. Gently stir eggplant, zucchini, barley, tomatoes, olives, onion, parsley, and mint in a large bowl.
  2. Drizzle with dressing and gently toss to coat.
  3. Season salad with salt and black pepper. Serve immediately, or store in the fridge for up to a day. 

This recipe is courtesy of epicurious.com

mediterranean eggplant salad

What’s The Healthiest Way To Eat Eggplant?

There are many different ways to eat eggplant, and almost all of them are healthy. One of the healthiest ways to eat eggplant is to roast it, which brings out its natural sweetness. You can also grill, steam, or sauté eggplant, all of which are healthy cooking methods.

See also
Mediterranean Diet Macros: Taking A Closer Look At What Eating Mediterranean-Style Actually Means

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What Does Soaking Eggplant In Water Do?

If you’ve ever cooked with eggplant, you know that it can be a bit of a tricky vegetable to work with. It’s often quite bitter, and it can easily become mushy if not cooked properly.

Sprinkling eggplant with salt and letting it dry on a rack or paper towel helps to remove some of the bitterness, and also helps to prevent it from becoming mushy. While the salt won’t completely remove all of the bitterness, it will help to make the eggplant more palatable. 

How Do You Make Gooey Eggplant?

Gooey eggplant is often made by frying the eggplant in oil. This cooking method does make the eggplant quite oily, however, so if you’re looking for a healthier option, roasting is a better choice. 

Nutrition Information And Health Benefits Of Eggplants

If you’re looking for a healthy, flavorful addition to your next meal, consider adding eggplant to your dish. Eggplant is a nutrient-rich vegetable that offers a variety of nutritional benefits.

An Impressive Nutritional Profile

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one cup (82 grams) of raw cubed eggplant provides the following nutrients (3):

  • Calories: 21
  • Carbs: 5 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Manganese: 8% of the Daily Value (DV) 
  • Folate: 5% of the DV
  • Potassium: 4% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 2% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 2% of the DV
See also
The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid: Use This To Start A Heart-Healthy Way Of Eating

They also contain small amounts of niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper.

May Aid Weight Loss

Eggplants are low in calories but high in fiber, both of which may promote weight loss.

Fiber is an indigestible plant compound that adds bulk to food without adding any calories. This can help you feel fuller after eating, leading to reduced calorie intake and weight loss over time (4).

Rich In Antioxidants

Eggplants are rich in antioxidants, including phenolic compounds like chlorogenic acid (5).

These plant-based nutrients scavenge harmful toxins and byproducts that can damage cells, leading to inflammation. In fact, some of these compounds may protect LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidation, a process that contributes to heart disease (5).

Read More: The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid: Use This To Start A Heart-Healthy Way Of Eating

mediterranean eggplant salad

May Boost Heart Health

Eggplant contains several nutrients that may support heart health. For example, it’s a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin B6. These nutrients each play important roles in maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels (5).

In addition, eggplants are a natural source of dietary nitrates. When consumed, nitrates are converted into nitric oxide, a molecule that helps relax and widen blood vessels. This can improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure (2).

May Help Fight Cancer

Eggplants contain several plant compounds with potent anticancer effects.

For example, chlorogenic acid, nasunin, and vicenin are all powerful antioxidants that scavenge harmful toxins and byproducts that can damage cells and lead to cancer (5).

See also
Mediterranean Diet 30-Day Meal Plan: The Beginner’s Guide With Clear-Cut Answers About This Diet Plan

What’s more, eggplants are a good source of fiber. Fiber has been shown to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, the third most common cancer in the world (1).

May Improve Brain Function

Nasunin is a powerful antioxidant found in eggplant skin. This antioxidant plant compound has been shown to help protect rat brain cells in test tube studies. Research also suggests that a diet rich in flavonoids like those found in eggplant as well as other fruits and vegetables, may help prevent age-related declines in memory and learning.

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mediterranean eggplant salad

Easy To Add To Your Diet

Eggplants are versatile vegetables that can be added to a variety of dishes. They can be roasted, grilled, sautéed, or even used as a healthy alternative to pasta.

Whether you’re looking for a nutrient-rich addition to your next meal or a healthy way to satisfy your cravings, eggplants are a delicious and nutritious choice.

If you’re looking for a healthy, flavorful addition to your next meal, consider adding eggplant to your dish. Eggplant is a nutrient-rich vegetable that offers a variety of health benefits.

The Bottom Line

This healthy Mediterranean eggplant salad recipe is a great way to add this nutrient-rich vegetable to your diet. This dish is packed with flavors and nutrients that may boost your health in a variety of ways. Give it a try today and enjoy the many benefits that eggplant has to offer.

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DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. Dietary Fibre Protective against Colorectal Cancer Patients in Asia: A Meta-Analysis (2019, nih.gov) 
  2. Dietary nitrate provides sustained blood pressure lowering in hypertensive patients: a randomized, phase 2, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (2015, nih.gov) 
  3. Eggplant, raw (2019, usda.gov) 
  4. Fiber Intake Predicts Weight Loss and Dietary Adherence in Adults Consuming Calorie-Restricted Diets: The POUNDS Lost (Preventing Overweight Using Novel Dietary Strategies) Study (2019, nih.gov) 
  5. Health benefits and bioactive compounds of eggplant (2018, gcirs.iyte.edu.tr) 
  6. Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad (2017, epicurious.com) 
  7. Mediterranean Eggplant Salad (n.d., acedarspoon.com)
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