This eggplant salad recipe is one of our favorite summer side salads. It pairs nicely with any type of grilled meats, from beef to fish. Slightly tangy, the creamy richness of the eggplant is balanced with a gently spiced vinaigrette dressing and crisp cucumbers. Tonight we’re grilling salmon and serving it on a bed of this eggplant salad.
And, although I mention using it as a side dish, this grilled eggplant salad is a good light main course. For example, if you are ever entertaining and wondering what to make for a vegetarian guest, this is a great vegetarian main course option. Here are some additional salad ideas to give you inspiration for your next barbecue.
How to make grilled eggplant
You can either broil or grill the eggplant but I highly recommend grilling the eggplant since the smokey flavor it adds is quite amazing. You’ll want to begin by slicing the eggplants crosswise into 1/2″ discs. Then, lightly brush each side with olive oil before placing onto the pre-heated barbecue grill.
I keep the grill at a medium-high heat and close the lid. Wait four minutes before opening the grill and flipping eggplants. You should begin to see browning or grill marks. Grill another 3-4 minutes with the grill lid closed.
Every grill is a bit different so keep an eye on the eggplant while grilling. You want the eggplant to be slight tender (it will be floppy instead of rigid) but not so tender that it tears as you try to pick it up.
Grilled Eggplant Salad
- 2 eggplants
- 7 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon)
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
- 3 tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 5 tbsp cilantro, chopped
- Slice eggplants crosswise in 1/2" rounds.
- Lightly brush olive oil on the eggplant slices and grill (or broil) until golden brown on both sides. The eggplant should be tender but not mushy. Allow slices to cool and then cut each round into quarters.
- Mix remaining olive oil with the garlic, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper then pour into a dish over the warm eggplant. Chill for at least 2 hours, up to over night.
- When ready to serve, toss cucumber and tomato with chilled eggplant. Drizzle yogurt on top and sprinkle with chopped cilantro before serving.
Pro-tip: Optimize your grilling time
When ever I turn on the grill to prepare a meal, I try to optimize my time. We often are only grilling a couple items for the two of us, I think ahead to what else I need to prepare for the week ahead and add whatever I can to the grill while it’s on. Tonight we’re grilling salmon but I’ll also add mushrooms, red peppers, and zucchini since I’ll need these roasted vegetables later this week.
What is your favorite summer side salad?
Although I didn’t grow up eating eggplant, it’s a vegetable that I’ve come to love as an adult. And this eggplant salad is now my favorite way to kick off summer barbecue season. Here are some more grilled eggplant salad ideas from other sites:
- Chickpea and eggplant salad (Epicurious)
- Oven-roasted eggplant (Fine Cooking)
- Turkish stuffed eggplant (Saveur)
Is there a summer salad that you love making? Tell me about your favorite in the comments section.
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