Eggplant salad (Treedet al-beitenjane)

treedet el-betenjane If I had been told that eggplant would be my favorite vegetable as a grown-up I would have been in total disbelief; eggplant? That same eggplant I used to hide in my apron so I would not have to eat it? (nun school, we were forced to eat everything).  Well, here is the ubiquitous eggplant, yet again; this time with a light dressing of pomegranate molasses, lemon and olive oil (and lots of garlic); and pita croutons to round it up. 

Recipe is adapted from May Bsisu’s The Arab Table.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large eggplant (about 1 lb)
  • 2 tomatoes or a small can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic mashed with a dash of salt
  • 1 chili pepper (optional), seeded and chopped fine
  • 1 pita bread, toasted till golden brown
  • Dressing: 1 or 2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt to taste, 1 tsp of dry mint, crumbled to a powder

METHOD:

  1. Peel the eggplant and cut in chunks; place the chunks in a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in the oven, preheated at 375F. My favorite method of cooking the eggplants is to place them on a heat diffuser over a gas burner and blacken them over an open flame all over; then run the eggplant under runnig tap water, place in a colander to drain and peel. Let the eggplant drain some more then mash or cut in chunks. The eggplant would have acquired a smokey flavor that is really enticing. 
  2. Combine the eggplant with the diced tomatoes, chili pepper if using, chopped onion, mashed garlic and salad dressing. Serve at room temperature. Druze having a picnic
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19 Comments

  1. Posted February 14, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Scrumptious! Something I cannot wait to try this summer.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. Posted February 14, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Maybe I’ll like it the way YOU make it!

  3. Posted February 14, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    This is one pretty and delicious eggplant salad!

  4. Aran M Cockburn
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Will definitely try this in summer. What could I substitute for the Pomegranate Molasses? I know I can’t get that here.

  5. Joumana
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    @Aran M Cockburn: The pomegranate molasses can be substituted with fresh lemon juice or cider vinegar. It is what folks used to give a sour taste to food when lemons were not available. It adds a little fruity taste also.

    @Linda: My pleasure!

  6. Posted February 14, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    The look of those crispy pitas on top make me want to try this recipe too. I am discovering that I really enjoy eggplant too. My mother never made it and I had some really bad dishes early on.

  7. Linda
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 3:05 am | Permalink

    I really hated eggplant as a child too! Now I love it and buy some almost every week. This salad sounds great – I’ll have to try it! Thanks for the great recipes, Joumana!

  8. Posted February 15, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Hi Joumana! You have a beautiful blog! Thank you for stopping by my blog and now I discovered your blog. I love eggplant (one of my top fav veggies!) yet I rarely used for salad. It’s wonderful to know a new recipe that I can use eggplant for. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  9. Posted February 15, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Love the contrasts in this dish, smoky and sweet, soft and crunchy…YUM!

  10. Posted February 16, 2013 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    What a perfect recipe, just as pomegranate season is about to end here! Since moving to Turkey, I’ve eaten more eggplant than I ever have in my lifetime and have grown to love it. :-)

  11. Posted February 16, 2013 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    Love the look of that with the fresh pomegranate! Excited that I just happen to have all the ingredients necessary for this recipe on hand at the moment.

  12. Posted February 17, 2013 at 12:41 am | Permalink

    I love eggplant. Its such comfort food. I’m definitely trying this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Posted February 18, 2013 at 4:44 am | Permalink

    My daughter also despises eggplant, but I think it is an acquired taste… perhaps the texture? I am sure she will grow into it too…

  14. Posted February 18, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I also love eggplant. Nun school, eh? And aprons! Love the imagery. This recipe sounds delicious and is definitely on my list for this week, Joumana.
    knowing how much dressing eggplant usually soaks in, I am just concerned this may not be enough… but, i will soon find out.
    :)
    V

  15. Selma
    Posted February 18, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for posting great recipes such as this one. My friends and I like to invite each other over lebanese (always comfort) food so I prepared this one and we loved it. it reminded us of home.

  16. Margaret
    Posted February 23, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    This looks delicious. It appears in your photo that there are pomegranate seeds, but it is not listed in your ingredients. A serving suggestion?

    Funny about the lentil soup for breakfast story. This morning I ate freekeh mufalfala for breakfast (your recipe).

  17. Posted February 24, 2013 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Si simple et pourtant si belle…on en mangerait.

  18. Joumana
    Posted February 25, 2013 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    @Margaret: the pom seeds are only for garnish and because there is pom molasses in the salad.

  19. Posted February 25, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m just home from the store where I couldn’t resist the glorious, purple eggplants – now I know exactly what I’ll be doing with them tonight!

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