Chickpea Salad with Zaatar-spiced Aubergines

Some ingredients have the power of turning side salads into mains. Aubergines and chickpeas are a perfect example!
This hearty and easy to prepare salad is absolutely brimming with flavour and ideal for a healthy vegetarian meal! The Zaatar spiced aubergines add a meaty texture and make it equally enjoyable for everyone. 

What goes in the salad?
Chickpeas, fresh herbs, Zaatar, cucumber, tomato, a red onion, a bit of garlic, some citrus, good quality extra-virgin olive oil.
The aubergines are prepared separately but served together.

Why not peel the aubergines?
The skin is totally edible and full of nutrients. Try to get hold of young, not too large fruits (yes, aubergine is a fruit) and their skin is not too thick. They will be super tender and melt-in-mouth after cooking.

Why bake the aubergines?
It´s not necessary but highly recommended! The flesh tends to absorb oil and liquids that can be avoided through baking in oven or grilling making the salad healthier and slightly crunchy.
Frying or cooking in pan is absolutely fine too if youre ok with a softer consistency. Make sure, theyre cooked through! Aubegines taste spongy and horrible if the flesh is left partially uncooked.

Why boil the canned chickpeas?
To bring out the flavours and the melt-in-mouth consistency! Seasoning warm beans will help them absorb the dressing better. However, DO NOT add fresh vegetables to warm chickpeas! Theyll loose their crunch and will become limp and soggy. Add once the seasoned beans have completely cooled.

Why should you be making it?

  • This healthy summer salad has a delicious citrus dressing which makes it a great lunch idea for the warm weather we will soon be having upon us.
  • It can be served warm or cold and can even be prepared ahead of time
  • It can also be served as a side dish to grilled meat, even if just the baked aubergines or the refreshing chickpea cucumber part.

If you decide to give this recipe a go, do share your thoughts with me in the comments below or tag #chefonrhine on insta! I’d love to see your creations! 

Chickpea Salad with Zaatar-spiced Aubergines

This hearty Mediterranean summer salad combines roasted aubergines with chunky chickpeas and fresh herbs. It makes an ideal vegetarian lunch dish, and also works brilliantly with grilled meat.
Servings: 4
Author: Fatima Sadal - Chef on Rhine

Ingredients

  • 2 medium Aubergines thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • 5 Tbsp Olive Oil to drizzle
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked or canned chickpeas
  • 4 tbsp Za’atar spice divided
  • 1 tomato diced
  • 1 cucumber diced
  • 1 red onion sliced in 1/2 moons
  • 2 Tbsp chopped dill optional
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley

VINAIGRETTE:

  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt+Pepper

Instructions

  • Slice the aubergines and line on a large baking tray. Sprinkle with salt. Allow to sweat for 15 min. Pat dry with paper towel.
  • Drizzle generously with olive oil and roast in the oven on 220 C until crispy on the edges.
  • Allow to cool.
  • Assemble the baked aubergines in a serving dish. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp Za’atar.
  • Boil the canned chickpeas in 2 glasses of water until cooked through. Drain.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Drizzle 2 tbsp over the aubergines and pour the remaining over the chickpeas and mix.
  • Allow the chickpeas to cool.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the diced tomatoes, cucumbers, cooled chickpeas, red onions, parsley and dill.
  • Add the chickpea salad to the serving dish with the Za’atar spiced aubergines.

Notes

  • The aubergines can be baked or fried in pan.
  • If you are using canned chickpeas, make sure to boil them again until fully cooked.
  • Mixing some vinaigrette and seasoning to warm chickpeas ensures maximum flavor.
  • Allow the chickpeas to cool completely before adding cucumber and tomatoes etc. Else, the heat will turn them soggy.
  • Try to get hold of good quality Zaatar. Or make at home using this basic recipe:
  • 2 Tbsp sumac + 2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds + 2 Tbsp thyme + 1 tsp salt = mix.

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