When it comes to aubergines or eggplants, Lebanese cuisine does not restrict itself to the famous Baba Ghannouge or Moutabbal, we do several dishes ranging from salads to main courses, with or without meat. This one is a healthy salad starter for the summer. The addition of fresh tomatoes, spring onions and fresh mint to the grilled aubergines, makes this dish colourful and tasty. You can prepare the aubergines ahead of time and keep in the fridge until you are ready to eat.
There are different varieties of aubergines that come in different sizes, shapes and colours like purple (most commonly available in the Western supermarkets), green, or white, there are even orange varieties. You can read more on the subject and look at photos of the different varieties by visiting:
For this salad, you need large plump aubergines (purple) because they are meatier and grill better. As for the herbs, go for fresh ones if you can, they give a better taste and you can vary: fresh parsley or basil for example make a good alternative to the mint I use for this recipe.
- 2 large aubergines or eggplants about 1½ kg / 3¼ lb
- 300 g / 11 oz tomatoes washed
- 3 spring onions trimmed and washed, alternatively use one medium red onion
- Leaves of 3 sprigs of fresh mint, rinsed and patted dry on kitchen paper
- The seeds of half of a sour pomegranate or 1 tsp paprika.
- 2 or 3 fat cloves of garlic peeled.
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & freshly milled black pepper
You also need a large shallow baking tray, lined with aluminium foil to catch the juices later, and prevent them from sticking directly onto the baking tray.
- Pre-heat the grill to a medium to high setting.
- Wash the aubergines as they are (you do not need to remove the stems) and pat dry the skin with kitchen paper. Laying the aubergines on the baking tray, make four evenly spaced longitudinal cuts to stop them from bursting during cooking.
- Grill the aubergines for 40 minutes turning them every 10 minutes to cook all sides thoroughly. You should end up with a black charred skin with soft inside and some of their juices coming out. Let it cool down slightly so it is easy to handle.
- Split each aubergine in half lengthways, remove the soft flesh and lay it in the salad dish. If you have too much excess juice, use a kitchen paper to absorb it because it can affect the taste. You can stop at this stage, if you are not eating immediately, cover the salad dish with cling film and pop it in the fridge.
- When you are ready to serve, smash the garlic until smooth, then mix in all the dressing ingredients, season and adjust taste.
- Chop finely tomatoes and spring onions, roughly shred the mint leaves, then scatter the whole lot over the prepared aubergines. Do likewise with the pomegranate seeds
- Drizzle the dressing all over the aubergine mixture and serve at once with warmed Lebanese bread.