Autumn is one of our favorite seasons. We always look forward to the colorful leaves, bright orange pumpkins, crisp apples and warm cozy soups. Not to mention Stephanie loving her Pittsburgh Steelers weekly football games!
And though we still enjoy our green leafy salads, cooler weather often calls for heartier salads that you can really sink your teeth into.
The salad recipe we wanted to share with you today was originally posted in the New York Times a few years ago. A friend made it at a dinner party a several weeks ago and we have been obsessed with it ever since. The central veggie is the gorgeous eggplant, which is in peak season from July through November, and easily found in farmers markets and local grocery stores.
Eggplant is a truly underrated veggie. Most people are not aware that it is loaded with antioxidants known as anthocyanins, which are protective of the heart and known for reducing the risk of cancer. Eggplant also boasts a good amount of vitamin C, K, folate and potassium, and delivers on fiber as well.
If you did not already know, there are lots of varieties of eggplant, all with slight differences.
- Italian is large and more round (the type you mostly see in the supermarket), with sweet flesh.
- Japanese eggplants are long and narrow, deep in color, while Chinese eggplants (also long and narrow) have a lighter outer skin color. Neither have many seeds and are extra creamy when cooked.
- Fairy tale eggplants are small and somewhat round, with white and purple stripes.
Though eggplant has a bad rap for being bitter, we usually find this is NOT the case (hint: do not try it raw)! You can always choose to lightly salt the cut up chunks and let it sit for half an hour, then rinse before cooking. This can remove any bitterness that may have been there in the first place.
Ok, ready for our yummy recipe? See below. This particular time we made it with TWO kinds of eggplant (as you can see in the ingredients pic on the left, Italian in the middle and Japanese on the bottom).
Roasted Eggplant Salad with Fresh Mint
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh pepper
2 pounds eggplant (any variety), cut into 1″ chunks)
3 ounces organic feta cheese
1 clove garlic
3 mixed bell peppers, cut into 1″ pieces
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
Preheat oven to 375. Whisk together oil, lemon, salt and pepper. Toss eggplant with 1/3 of the vinaigrette and reserve the rest. Toss onto a baking sheet and bake until tender, about 30-40 minutes. Let cool a little.
Whisk feta and garlic into the reserved vinaigrette. In a large bowl, combine the cooked eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and mint. Toss with vinaigrette. This holds up for a few hours (and can be eaten the next day too, makes good leftovers).
Stay tuned to this newsletter for more recipes, nutrition tips, and a brand new program coming this fall! Also, if you haven’t joined our private (free) Facebook group Nutrition and Energy for Busy Women, now is the perfect time. We share challenges every Monday and have tips and tricks throughout the week to keep you motivated and inspired.