This hearty salad is the perfect side dish for any protein. Bright flavors of cilantro and mint bring out the earthiness of the warm veggies. Try serving over a bed of spinach with crumbled feta cheese, or tossing in a cup of quinoa for a quick meal.
Makes a large 6-8 serving batch
1 medium eggplant
2 large bunches broccolini
2- 15 ounce cans chickpeas
1 cup (4 ounces) julienned sundried tomatoes*
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
3 tablespoon olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional for spice)
*Look for sundried tomatoes not packed in oil, rather packed loose in a plastic bag.
1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and non-stick cooking spray.
2. Remove the ends from the eggplant, and dice the remaining eggplant into ½ inch pieces.
3. Remove the dried ends from the broccolini stalks. Dice the rest of the broccolini, including stalks into large pieces.
4. In an extra-large bowl, toss the eggplant and broccolini with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the oregano, basil, salt and pepper.
5. Lay this mixture evenly on the baking sheet. This will seem like a large amount to put on the sheet but will shrink down in the oven.
6. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and toss the veggies. Bake 5-10 minutes longer, until the eggplant cooks through and the broccolini is cooked, but still has some texture to it.
7. In the extra-large bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil with the lemon, cilantro and mint (and optional red pepper flakes).
8. Pour the hot veggies into this mixture and toss until well combined.
9. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Pad dry with a paper towel. Add the chickpeas and the sundried tomatoes to the bowl with the veggies and toss until all of the ingredients are combined.
10. Serve warm. Leftovers can be served chilled or heated.
Jess Cerra is the owner of Fit Food by Jess, a private chef and catering company in Encinitas, Calif. Jess recently launched Harmony Bar, and all natural gluten-and soy free bar designed to tasted like a soft baked cookie. She is an ex-professional XTERRA triathlete and mountain biker, and current elite amateur road cyclist for the SPY GIANT RIDE p/b MRI Endurance team. Follow Jess’ recipes on her “Fit Food by Jess” Facebook page, as well as the “Harmony Bar” Facebook page. Also on twitter @fitfoodbyjess and @harmonybars.