This salad combines the best tastes of Middle Eastern cuisine: delicious chunks of roasted aubergine, beans, a garlicky tahini dressing and fresh basil to create a very flavoursome dish with clean, bold flavours.
Aubergine – a plant from the nightshade family – is possibly one of the most misunderstood items from the grocery aisle. Because many people have no idea how to cook it they might completely avoid this strange looking dark purple fruit (yes, aubergine is a fruit just like tomatoes) but it’s such a huge pity! Aubergine can taste spongy, astringent and almost bitter when raw but when cooked properly it becomes deliciously tender and develops a rich, complex umami flavour. Aubergines can absorb large amounts of oil when cooked due to their spongy texture; salting them before cooking makes them release liquid thus reducing the amount of oil absorbed.
Today I’d love to share a salad that combines all my favourite flavours – roasted aubergines, garlic and basil. Together, these three ingredients create the most magical, sharp and bold flavours. The addition of the tahini dressing makes the salad creamier and the beans make it more filling as well as adding some texture.
- - 2 large aubergines
- - 1 cup cooked beans, lentils or chickpeas
- - 2 large handfulls salad greens
- - 1/2 cup of fresh basil, chopped
- - 2 tbsp olive oil
- - pinch of salt
- - 2 tbsp tahini paste
- - 1 tsp of any liquid sweetener such as date paste,honey, agave or maple syrup
- - 1 clove of garlic, minced
- - 3 tbsp water
- - pinch of salt
- 1) Wash and cut the aubergines into cubes. Add them to a bowl along with a generous pinch of salt. Give them a good toss with your hands and leave them to "sweat" out the excess liquid for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and give another good mix, making sure all the aubergine cubes are covered with oil.
- 2) Set the oven to the air fan function to 220 degrees Celcius.
- 3) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the aubergine cubes. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the aubergines cubeswith a spoon and bake for another 5 minutes.
- - combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until the consistency becomes creamy and pourable. If the dressing is too thick add more water.
- Lay the bottom of the plate/bowl with washed and dried salad greens, spoon the roasted aubergines on top, add the beans and the tahini dressing. Add a few more basil leaves on top.