Garbanzo, Roast Eggplant, Mint, Feta and Tomato Salad

This is another GREAT summer salad (or any time salad).  Heavy on the Mediterranean flavors, it also adds a light and healthy touch to any meal.  Very healthy.  The salad does not require a protein, per se, so I will leave it as such, but by all means, if you so choose, grilled chicken, steak, lamb, fish.. just about anything off the grill works.  The harissa I add gives it a little kick.

It’s an extraordinarily simple and ‘unexpected’ salad.  I say unexpected because it is completely off the beaten path and can be a very welcome surprise in the otherwise boring eating routines we all have.  Try it sometime.

Garbanzo, Eggplant, Mint, Tomato and Feta salad

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 30 min
Yields: about 5-6 servings

Ingredients:

2 cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch mint, fine chiffonade
1/2 medium size eggplant
1 block good quality feta cheese crumbled or cubed
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cucumber, sliced very thin
1/2 red onion, small dice
very good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp harissa paste (moroccan spicy mix)
kosher salt
cracked black pepper
fresh lemon juice

Method:

Heat an oven to 400.  Slice the eggplant lengthwise and toss with oil, salt and pepper.  Roast until tender (not mush!).  Let cool and cut into small cubes (as best you can).

Toss everything except the lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.  Drizzle a little olive oil and lemon juice over the top, season lightly with salt and pepper and mix well.  Check seasoning and add if/when appropriate.

Serve right away.

As this is a Mediterranean dish, things like hummus and pita go well, olives, grilled artichokes, grilled or broiled fish, kebabs, and so on.  It also stands alone as a great salad when you’re in the mood for something a little off the beaten path.  If you feel daring, mix in some baby spinach, peppers, basil, or anything else that inspires you.

Enjoy.

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