Fried Eggplant Salad

Recipe developed and contributed by Maureen Gualtieri

Between illness, burnout, and the stress of the holidays, we’ve been leaning hard on takeout for the past little while. I’ve discovered that convenience is only half the reason why a well-timed dinner delivery can save the day – the other half is the sheer comfort of eating exactly what you need, in thirty minutes or it’s free! Now that I’ve got some breathing room, I’ve devised this month’s recipe to replicate one of our favourite dishes from the Mediterranean place down the street, to save our wallets. In this sweet and spicy fried eggplant salad, eggplant, bell pepper, frizzled onions, and parsley (gotta get those greens!) are wrapped in a tart, caramelized sauce that uses DFC’s Maple Root Beer BBQ sauce as its base. We scooped this bad boy with pita, cucumber sticks, and heck, the serving spoon, straight into our mouths. If you can resist it long enough to plan mains, try grilled halloumi or shawarma-style chicken. Either way, enjoy – both this dish and the holiday madness!

Fried Eggplant Salad

(Yield: 4 servings)

 1 medium (500g) eggplant

1/2 (75g) yellow onion, sliced thin

1 (160g) yellow bell pepper, chopped

3 (10g) fresh garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 c (50ml) fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp (20ml) coconut aminos

1/3 c (80ml) olive oil, divided

1/3 c (80ml) DFC’s Maple Root Beer BBQ sauce

small bunch (30g) curly parsley, minced

salt and black pepper, to taste

Slice your eggplant in half lengthwise, and score the cut surfaces with a sharp knife in a crosshatch pattern, about 2 cm deep. Coat all surfaces with about 2 tbsp of olive oil, and place cut side down on a baking sheet lined with foil. Set your oven rack to the middle, and broil the eggplant halves on low setting for about 10 minutes. (We’re hoping to get some nice browning on the skin, so watch for that!) Pull them when you’re satisfied, then allow them to cool enough to handle. Chop and set aside.

Glug a couple more tablespoons of olive oil into a big sauté pan or skillet on medium-high heat. Once shimmering, add sliced onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they start to brown and even get some crunchy bits, 3 – 5 minutes. Add chopped pepper and garlic, stirring frequently until the pepper softens, about 5 minutes. Pour in the rest of the olive oil, and then the chopped eggplant. Cook, again stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Then add the lemon juice, coconut aminos, and DFC’s Maple Root Beer BBQ sauce. After another 7 minutes of cooking and stirring, the sauce should be caramelized and ready. Stir in minced parsley, and taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with warm pita, halloumi, or shawarma-style meats, and enjoy!

This salad/dip/spread needs a few ingredients: An eggplant, onion, bell pepper, garlic, lemon juice, coconut aminos, olive oil, parsley, and DFC’s Maple Root Beer BBQ sauce.
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