Monday, June 13, 2011

Roasted Summer Vegetable and Chickpea Salad

A few weeks ago Austin brought home dinner from Saladelia, the Mediterranean deli down the street. I asked for a vegetable side sampler, which he picked using his best judgment. When he got home and I saw he'd brought me some eggplant salad I thought "Yup, he knows me well".  I love almost any (vegetarian) dish containing it, and this salad was no exception. Besides roasted eggplant, it had chickpeas, tomatoes, parsley abd some spices I didn't bother to try and identify. Simple but delicious.

So delicious in fact, that I couldn't get it out of my head. When I got some Japanese eggplant in my CSA box, I knew I'd use it to make a similar dish. The thing is, I'd also gotten some squash and purple onions that I had no plans for, so they found a home in the salad too.  If it had been up to me, I would have left the eggplant unpeeled (especially since mine had particularly thin skin) but Austin probably wouldn't have been too happy. He says he hates eggplant, but when probed admits that it's really the skin he has problems with.

Even he enjoyed the salad, though. It was delicious the night I made it, but even better the next day once all the flavors had a chance to marry. So, if you also have to put a dent in your seasonal veggie supply, you won't be disappointed if you give this at try. I'm always looking for new ideas for how to cook summer veggies, so if you have a favorite way of decimating your squash and eggplant stash, please share it with me.

Roasted Summer Vegetable and Chickpea Salad
Makes about 4 servings
  • 1/2 lb eggplant, peeled, if you'd like, and chopped into about 3/4 inch cubes
  • 1 lb summer squash, halved if the squash is large, then sliced into about 1/3 inch rounds
  • 1 small red (or other) onion, chopped
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes, drained 
  • 1/2 cup packed chopped basil
  • 1/3 cup packed chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 350 F / 175 C. Arrange the eggplant, squash and onion in a single layer on a greased, foil or parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle the vegetables with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season them with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Roast the vegetables for about 30 minutes or until they're tender and have started to brown in some places.

2. In a medium to large salad bowl, combine the chickpeas, fire roasted tomatoes, basil and parsley. Once the vegetables are roasted, add them to the bowl too. Drizzle the salad with the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Toss until all they ingredients are evenly coated. Taste and adjust the seasoning if you think it's necessary. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. I know I say this often, but the world won't come to an end if you eat this room temperature (or even warm, if you're really hungry).


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  2. This sounds delicious. I will def have to try it. I like to make a orzo with veggies in a pesto vinaigrette. This is the recipe below:

    8 ounces orzo (about 1 1/3 cups)
    5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    4 tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided
    2 medium zucchini or summer squash (about 9 ounces total), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
    1 red or yellow bell pepper, quartered
    4 tablespoons pesto
    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    2 heirloom tomatoes (8 to 10 ounces total), cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups) or grape tomatoes
    1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves plus sprigs for garnish

    Cook orzo in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Transfer to large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon oil.
    Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Whisk 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons vinegar in small bowl. Brush zucchini and bell pepper with oil mixture, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Whisk pesto, lime juice, remaining 4 tablespoons oil, and remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar in small bowl for pesto vinaigrette.
    Grill zucchini and bell pepper until crisptender, about 3 minutes per side for zucchini and 4 minutes per side for bell pepper. Transfer to work surface. Chop zucchini and bell pepper; add to bowl with orzo. Add remaining vinaigrette, tomatoes, and sliced basil; toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill.
    Garnish with basil sprigs and serve cold or at room temperature.

    I'm in love with the pesto vinaigrette. I like to make my own pesto (my fridge always has a couple of mason jars full) and this was a different way to use it all up. You can use store bought, but I've always liked homemade better and since you're vegan, you can leave out the cheese that most commercial brands contain. Grilling the veggies really makes this dish, the charred flavor is a wonderful balance with everything going on. I usually put cubed mozzarella or crumbled feta cheese in this, but I know you'll def leave that out. I also like to use grape tomatoes because the juices stay nicely contained inside and doesn't get everything liquified, but nothing beats the flavors of a cherokee purple tomato, so if you have that around, I would def use that. Let me know if you try to recipe out, I brought it a couple potlucks and it's always been a hit!

  3. It sounds amazing Trinh. I make my own pesto too, especially at this time of year, when we can get basil from our CSA. Sadly, we don't have a grill but should we getting one in August when we move. I'll try either pan-searing the veggies or roasting them. It won't have that amazing BBQ flavor but I'm sure we'll still love it.
    Also, I've eaten orzo many times but have never actually made it at home (it's just pasta, so I don't really know why). Another reason to try this.

  4. Looks great. How about coming home tonight and making me some.

  5. Wish I could! You'll have to make due without me :(