It’s very rare that I’ll make a salad without avocado, so naturally it’s ended up in this delicious roasted eggplant recipe with the aromatic spices of cumin and smoked paprika.
I was craving the sweet spiciness of an Indian curry but didn’t want the heaviness of a stew so I took two of my favorite curry flavorings and used them as a coating for roasted eggplants. Cumin and smoked paprika have such rich flavors that I didn’t want to dilute with too many other ingredients. The spicy cubes of eggplant pair perfectly with the silky, mild flavor of avocado on a bed of peppery arugula.
A simple sesame and lemon juice dressing brings out the smoky paprika even more. I’ve used this simple oil and acid combination for years as a salad dressing and vegetable dip because it resembles the exotic richness of tahini but takes about thirty seconds to make. I can almost guarantee that you’ll be swapping out your simple balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing and replacing it with lemon juice and sesame oil in no time at all.
Roasted Eggplant Recipe with Arugula and Avocado Salad
1 medium-sized eggplant yielding 2 cups of small cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
4 cups baby arugula
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Chop the eggplant into small ½ inch cubes and toss with the salt in a small bowl and set aside for 20 minutes.
Make the dressing by whisking together the sesame oil and lemon juice. Add a pinch of salt to taste.
Spread the eggplant cubes out on a paper towel-lined plate and squeeze out some of the liquid. Return the cubes to the bowl and add the olive oil, cumin and paprika. Toss until mixed very well and spread the cubes out on a single layer of a baking sheet. Cook for 20 minutes.
Slice the avocado into chunks and add to a large bowl along with the arugula. Sprinkle the cooked eggplant on top and toss with the sesame lemon dressing.
Related on Eco Salon
Photo credits: Ally Jane Grossan