The other day I put my 8 week old in her carrier in the hopes of shooting this salad. I had it all planned out, she got in, she fell asleep, everything was perfect until I then just walked around my apartment, kissing her head, taking pictures to send my husband (I know. she has her own drop box account…). Before I knew it, 45 minutes had passed and by the time I got it together she had woken up again and wanted to party. So we did.
Enter my Mother-in-law. She was visiting and wanted nothing more than uninterrupted playtime with her new granddaughter. This blog post (and our lunch) would not have happened without her.
It’s a really quick and flavourful salad (although photographing it slows down the process considerably). It has a lazy falafel vibe and is equally satisfying without dirtying the food processor. I have to admit, I always set out to make a classic tabouli and wind up making spontaneous twists and turns until it becomes, at best, a cousin in the same grade. Tabouli is such an irresistibly delicious jumping off point for salad creativity.
We roasted the eggplant (because raw eggplant doesn’t work) but we added the tomatoes, chickpeas and spices to the roasting pan because everything becomes much richer, sweeter and more intensely flavoured (and intensifies the cancer-crushing antioxidant, lycopene, in the tomatoes) once roasted. Plus it makes your house smell amazing.
The giant handfuls of green herbs, fresh green onions, lemon zest and juice take the sleepy, spiced oven treats and shocks them back to life. The almonds can be raw or soaked to make them more digestible. I know, why would you want soggy almonds in your salad? But what winds up happening anyway is a soggy almond, even if you add them toasted, so it’s actually a great opportunity to eat soaked/activated almonds. Just pretend they’re a richer, chewier, almond-flavoured legume (trust me, you’ll like them). Like our Roasted Squash and Radicchio Salad, this salad is a good transition from terrible weather to cherry blossom sneezes.
It is deliciously satisfying on its own, or serve it with soup or actual Falafel. I like it best with the warm ingredient mixed with the fresh stuff, but it is also great the next day right out of the fridge eaten one handed with a spoon so you don’t spill it all over your baby’s head (although I think she’s starting to like it, it might cause confusion when she’s ready for solid food and just smears it over the top of her head). Or wrap it up in a collard with a dollop of this AWESOME spread, or serve it beside/underneath a veggie burger. If you’re feeling fancy, serve with these Stuffed Grapevine Leaves, a recipe that if you haven’t tried yet, you absolutely must.
If you don’t eat nightshades, replace the eggplant and tomatoes for diced winter squash and zucchini (add the zucchini when the tomatoes are added in the recipe and the winter squash in the beginning) and it will still be delicious. If you’re eating more of a keto-style diet, ditch the chickpeas and add avocado and hemp hearts at the very end. (or do either of these subs based on ingredients you have or don’t have on hand).
I sent most of this home with my Mother-in-law as a thank you and she said it kept her going for a few days. This puts this into the great food drop category in case you know anyone who could use a good veggie hit but isn’t up to cooking these days. Or perfect for you if you want to cook once and eat for a few days. Or if you want to bribe someone to play peak-a-boo and sing Round and Round the Garden for a couple of hours.
- 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
- 2 c cooked Chickpeas
- 2 c Cherry Tomatoes, halved
- 1 medium Eggplant, diced (to approximately the size of chickpeas)
- 4 Garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp Dried Turmeric (2 tsp if using fresh)
- 1 tsp ground Cumin
- ½ tsp ground Cinnamon
- 3 c fresh Parsley, chopped
- ½ c fresh Mint, chopped
- ½ c Almonds, raw or soaked for 8-12 hours, drained and rinsed well
- 5 Green Onions, thinly sliced
- 6 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- 2 Lemons, zested
- 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
- Sea(weed) Salt, to taste
- Several grinds of Black Pepper (to enhance turmeric absorption)
- Preheat the oven to 350*F
- In a bowl, toss together the chickpeas, eggplant, garlic, melted coconut oil, spices, salt and pepper.
- Pour out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread it around evenly.
- Roast for 30 minutes or until the eggplant becomes soft and squishy.
- Add the tomatoes and roast for another 5-10 minutes (until they get wrinkly).
- Meanwhile, put the herbs, almonds and green onions in a large bowl.
- Add the contents of the roasting pan (either while still warm or once it reaches room temp), lemon juice, zest and olive oil.
- Toss together, adjust seasoning if needed and serve.