This fresh, summery salad combines soft grilled eggplants and lots of fresh herbs. Make a big batch since cold leftovers make great pita fillings with hummus and extra greens. Serve with a big squeeze of lemon for a refreshing kick.
Za’atar Grilled Eggplant Salad [Vegan]
For the Salad:
- 4 small eggplants
- Olive oil
- 1 tablespoon za’atar (recipe below)
- 1 cup beluga lentils, preferably soaked overnight
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1/4 cup golden raisins or currants
- 1 cup packed fresh herbs; mint, parsley, and dill
- Juice and zest of one lemon
- Black pepper and salt, to taste
For the Za’atar Home Blend:
- 1/4 cup sumac
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
- 2 tablespoons dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
To Make the Za’atar Home Blend:
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Keep in an airtight jar in your pantry.
To Make the Salad:
- Slice the eggplant into rounds, place in a colander, and sprinkle generously with sea salt. Set aside for 30 minutes, or up to 1 hour, flipping over every now and then.
- Rinse and drain the lentils, and place in a large pot with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes, until the lentils are cooked al dente. Don’t overcook, or you will have a mushy salad. Drain any excess water and rinse the lentils clean. Set aside.
- Preheat your bbq or grill pan to medium-high heat, and lightly press the eggplant with a kitchen towel to remove any excess water. Brush the sides generously with olive oil and sprinkle with za’atar. Place on a grill and flip after 5-7 minutes, then cook for another 5-7 minutes. Brush with extra olive oil if looking dry. Eggplant is done when the meaty center is soft and tender.
- Toss the cooked, cooled lentils with all the herbs, raisins, and toasted pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper and dress with a little olive oil and fresh lemon juice.
- Top with grilled eggplant, sprinkle with extra za’atar and lemon zest.