Looking for a fabulous salad for spring and summer? TasteofBeirut.com blogger and Chef Joumana Accad shares this vegan salad boasting fresh vegetables and grilled eggplant, which she says will convert anyone into an eggplant lover.
Monk’s Salad (Al-Raheb)
According to Chef Accad, this satisfying salad is named for a Lebanese monk after the bounty of foods he found available in the mountains in which he lived and in the garden he created. “Bursting with crispy vegetables and mellowed by the smooth and smoky flavor of the eggplant, this salad is served at room temperature, often offered at mezzes as part of the array of dozens of dishes that constitute a mezze. It is also served at buffets, wedding parties or any big celebration,” she explains.
- 1-1/2 pounds eggplant (one or two large or the little ones), peeled
- 1 bunch green onions or one small white or red onion, chopped
- 4 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1 bunch fresh parsley or other herb, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- Olive oil, as needed (at least 1/2 cup for the dressing, plus more to grill the eggplants)
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (optional, but recommended)
- Cut the eggplant into slices and sprinkle with salt. Set aside in a colander until eggplants release liquid.
- Combine green onions, tomatoes, green pepper, and parsley in a large bowl.
- Using a mortar and pestle, mash garlic with a dash of salt.
- Transfer the garlic to a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup olive oil, lemon juice, and pomegranate molasses (if desired) and mix with a small whisk or fork.
- Preheat grill to medium heat. Wipe the eggplant slices dry and brush with olive oil.
- Grill eggplant until soft and charred a bit on both sides.
- Dice eggplant and add to vegetable mixture.
- Add the lemon dressing to the salad bowl and toss to coat.
- Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed, and serve.