Salads are basis of all diet programs. Eat more veggies!
And that’s where we falter. After a while the green salad becomes boring. We start craving carbs and bolder spicier flavors.
Before Vipul reaches that point, I made him a bold and spiced eggplant-cauliflower and chickpeas salad. Roasted eggplant and cauliflower make a “warm and nourishing” base for this salad. It has that “feel good” effect of a fulfilling meal on a cold winter night. The flavors are reminiscent of Indian curries – cumin, coriander and red chili powder. Paired with protein powerhouse of chickpeas and crunch of other veggies like celery and radishes, this was a complete meal.
I topped mine with diced cooked chicken sausage for an extra boost but any other protein would work just fine. Vipul had his as is and was blown away by the flavors of eggplant, roasted cauliflower and lemony-mustard flavors of the chickpeas.
Don’t be daunted by the long list of ingredients. The hands on prep is really easy and mostly it is the oven that does the work. It roasts and caramelizes the eggplant and cauliflower and brings out their natural flavors. This is probably the only way I will eat eggplant – ever!
Use a Chinese or Indian eggplant that has a thin skin rather than the globe one that I used. The skin was a bit tough on roasting. Or maybe I should have peeled it before roasting.
I am loving this diet phase of Vipul’s. I get to try new recipes, new vegetables ( fennel, butternut squash, and now eggplants!) and he gets a fresh home cooked meal every night! Bring it on weight loss 🙂
Spiced Eggplant, Cauliflower and Chickpeas Salad Recipe
- 1 cup cauliflower florets sliced
- 1/2 eggplant sliced into rounds ( any 1/4 inch thick)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, divided
- 2 teaspoons coriander powder, divided
- 1 teaspoon chili powder, divided
- Salt to taste
- 1 15 oz can chickpeas drained and rinsed thoroughly
- 2 celery sticks diced
- 4-5 small red radishes diced
- 1/4 red onion diced
- 1/4 cup pre-cooked edamame pods
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- Salt to taste
1. Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
While the oven pre-heats, lay cauliflower and eggplant on two baking sheets in a single layer. ( I used a bowl and foil as I don’t have baking sheets in temporary accommodation here; but baking sheets will give even results). Lightly sear the eggplant in a cross hatch/tic-tac-toe pattern with knife on both sides.
2. Oil the eggplants and cauliflower. Then add the spices (cumin, coriander,, chili) and salt. Toss the veggies to make sure that the spices cover it.
(Alternately prep these in a bowl and then layer them on baking sheets)
3. Bake the cauliflower and eggplant for about 30 – 40 minutes till they are golden brown. Depending on how thick the eggplant slices are they may need additional time. Keep them in till they looked cooked and their sides curl up.
4. In another bowl, mix mustard, lemon juice and salt. Marinate the celery, edamame, chickpeas, red onion and radishes in the mustard-lemon mix. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.
5. Once the cauliflower and eggplant are done, take them out. Start with eggplant as a base, layer cauliflower over the eggplant circles and then top with the chickpeas-veggie mix.