When I tore this Spiced Eggplant with Bulgar Salad recipe out of Bon Appetit magazine and told Matt that I wanted to make it, let’s just say he was more than a little bit skeptical. Specifically, he told me to make it when he was out of town. Ouch.
Well, I fully planned to make it when he was out of town (as I’ve said before, he prefers when his meals have some meat in them, plus I think he was hesitant about the eggplant); but, I got really busy and, long story short, he was home before I got around to making it. Sorry Matt.
I don’t know what called out to me about this recipe, but it just looked like it was going to be so flavorful and like I wasn’t going to miss the meat. I finally made it for lunch one day, and I must say both Matt and I were both very pleasantly surprised! The eggplant was so spicy (not too hot spicy, but spicy as in it has lots of spices… haha) and flavorful, and the salad along side was delicious, even on its own. With a dollop of Greek yogurt on top, let’s just say that I think this was actually crave-worthy.
The full-size eggplants in my store looked not-so-hot when I went shopping, so I opted for the smaller, mini ones. For presentation, I thought these looked very nice, but I’m not sure I’d use them again in the future. Perhaps I didn’t roast the eggplant quite long enough (I had to guess to adapt the cooking time to smaller eggplants), and therefore the flesh and skin weren’t really as tender as I would have liked. I think in the future, even though it won’t look as impressive, I would make this again but with cubed pieces of eggplant, tossed in the spice mixture. So if you use whole eggplant halves, definitely make sure to cook the eggplant long enough, until it’s very tender, so it’s easier to eat than mine!
This recipe also called for several ingredients that I couldn’t find (and/or didn’t want to buy for just one recipe), like preserved lemons and currants, or ingredients that I completely forgot, like the bulgar (forgot to buy it) and olives (forgot to add them! oops). You can see the original recipe here, and my adapted recipe below:
Spiced Eggplant with Quinoa Salad adapted from Bon Appetit
Time: 30 min. active, 30-60 min. inactive , Yield: 4 servings
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
- 4-6 small eggplants or 2 medium eggplants, halved lengthwise
- Plain Greek yogurt for serving (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries, slightly chopped
- 1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup pistachios, lightly chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Stir half the oil, all the spices, and a healthy pinch of salt together in a small bowl. Score the flesh of each eggplant with diagonal crosshatches, being careful not to cut through the skin:
Drizzle the eggplant halves generously with olive oil and season with salt. Spread the spice mixture evenly on all the halves:
Roast until very tender, ~30-40 minutes for smaller eggplants or 50-60 minutes for regular sized eggplants:
Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to the package directions. Let cool, then stir in the remaining ingredients, plus salt and pepper. Let the salad stand and the flavors mingle for at least 30 minutes.
Serve the eggplant atop the salad, with a dollop of yogurt.