The Monk’s salad (Salata el-raheb)

April 10, 2011  • 

 

This salad is named after a monk who will remain nameless; presumably he lived in one of the monasteries that pepper the Lebanese mountains and like all monks, lived a frugal life eating whatever vegetables his plot of land produced (which was the case for most Lebanese villagers and not just monks!).

In any case, this is a refreshing and healthy salad that is usually part of the offerings at a mezze. I think of making it whenever the temperatures skyrocket, as is the case here these days.


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 pounds of eggplant (one or two large or the little ones)
  • 1 bunch of parsley or other herb
  • 1 bunch of green onions or one small white or red onion
  • 4 Tomatoes
  • 1 Green pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil, as needed
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 Tablespoon of pomegranate molasses (optional, but recommended)
  • salt, to taste

METHOD:

  1. Peel and cut the eggplants into slices and sprinkle with salt; set it aside until it spits out a lot of brownish liquid.
  2. In the meantime, cut all the vegetables in small dice, mince the parsley  and transfer to a salad bowl; chop the garlic and mash in a mortar with a dash of salt. Transfer the garlic to a bowl and prepare the dressing: pour the lemon juice and olive oil and pomegranate molasses (if desired) and mix with a small whisk or a fork.
  3. Wipe the eggplant slices dry and sprinkle with olive oil; bake in a 350F oven for 30 minutes or grill until soft. Chop the eggplant into dice and transfer to the salad bowl.
  4. Add the dressing to the salad bowl and combine all the ingredients; taste and adjust seasoning if needed and serve.

Comments

42 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Min {Honest Vanilla} says:

    Haha I’m intrigued to try recipes with such a story 😉 The dish does look really fresh and yummy!

  2. Adelina says:

    I love eggplants and I never knew about the famous monk salad. Thanks for this refreshing salad that’s perfect for this time of year.

  3. Dana says:

    A nameless monk? How mysterious! This looks like it would be remarkably refreshing.

  4. Carolyn Jung says:

    I love Mediterranean salads like this because they are so simple yet bursting with bold flavors. With a stack of pita bread to go with it, I’d be one happy camper. 😉

  5. Rosa says:

    A delicious looking dish!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  6. Juanita says:

    Love the background story. Love eggplant too!

  7. samir says:

    Love this salad..so zesty and earthy..we have always roasted the eggplant whole but is this way better?.and then proceed as you do and trying to remove as many seeds as possible( here the eggplants can be so seedy)….and peel and deseed the tomatoes..

    • Joumana says:

      @Samir: Normally, I would have grilled the eggplant, but I roasted them out of laziness! Works both ways but grilling is better of course.

  8. john@heneedsfood says:

    My mouth actually started watering just now. I adore eggplant anything and have just added this to my to-do list. Thanks!

  9. Banana Wonder says:

    This is my kind of salad, whoever that nameless monk is, he is my friend for sure!

  10. Joanne says:

    Yay! Another healthy delicious recipe that uses pomegranate molasses! I’m loving this!

  11. TheKitchenWitch says:

    Oh, that looks tempting! I cannot wait for warmer temperatures!

  12. Priya says:

    Wonderful looking salad..

  13. T.W. Barritt says:

    Simply monastery meals, always seem to be surprisingly substantial. It’s always good to have more recipes for eggplant – especially in salad form.

  14. Oui, Chef says:

    This sounds delicious, and I love the little eggplant cap on top….beautiful! – S

  15. Tom @ Tall Clover says:

    Joumana, the originality of your recipes continues to amaze me and yep, inspire me to try new things. The recipe is a keeper for my summer garden, should summer ever decide to show up here in the Pacific Northwest. Warm wishes. Tom

  16. Jelena says:

    Beautiful salad! Never used egg plant i a salad! Bookmarked and waiting for the season of the eggplants.

  17. 5 Star Foodie says:

    A very pretty presentation for this unique and delicious looking salad! Would love to try!

  18. weirdcombos says:

    It’s amazing how many beautiful dishes can be prepared with eggplants. Thanks for sharing another delicious recipe w/ us!
    Heg

  19. Suman Singh says:

    Oh, I love anything with eggplants and this surely looks healthy and refreshing at the same time..

  20. Simone says:

    Encore une fois Joumana, tu me mets l’eau à la bouche!!!! Yummy en ce temps de carême!

  21. Claudia says:

    I’m a sucker for a recipe with a story. The nameless monk salad – and it looks grand. The use of the eggplants…. whose season is coming… it’s really coming and presentation is perfect and just a wee bit whimsical.

  22. Mark Scarbrough says:

    Doesn’t pomegranate molasses do wonders? But I’m not even sure such a simple, lovely salad needs it. Still, that little sour spark would be great!

  23. Juliana says:

    Yummie, I love eggplants and this salad looks just perfect. SO SO tasty…have a great week ahead 🙂

  24. Victor says:

    What an intriguing name and story. Looks so tasty!

  25. Bria @ WestofPersia says:

    Beautifully presented. This looks like the perfect warm-weather dish.

  26. Brittany says:

    I love the ingredients you’ve used here. So delicious and flavourful! Plus, your presentation is just gorgeous. Well done!

  27. Ivy says:

    This sounds amazing. I’ve never made this kind of eggplant salad before so it’s definitely in my list.

  28. Cristina says:

    I thought of you the other day when I discovered a Lebanese épicerie, not far from where I live here in Paris. It’s amazing the fact that I had probably walked past this store without actually seeing it! I got in out of curiosity, and its owner, the most charming Lebanese man you can imagine spend a long time talking with me about spices, the world, his country, mine….I feel happy because now I will be able to try to reproduce some of your incredible treats! A visit to your country is one of my “before I die” must-do things!

  29. Maria @ Scandifoodie says:

    Another amazing creation! I love your recipes, always so interesting!

  30. Nuts about food says:

    I saw this picture while skimming through Tastespotting (or was it Foodgawker) and made a mental note to go back to it. Didn’t realize it was yours, but should have known. This is my kind of salad. Next trip to the supermarket I am buying eggplant.

  31. Steve @ HPD says:

    Love the combo of fresh and roasted veggies. And in the spring, any assembly of veggies with a little olive oil and lemon juice always sounds perfect.

    Last time I needed diced eggplant, I diced it first and then baked it. Lets you roast it much quicker, but at the risk of over-crisping it. (“Over-crisping” is the slightly more pleasant way of saying “burnt beyond recognition.”)

    Cheers!

  32. Muriel says:

    Joumana, I love your blog, I love your food… was living in Syria for a long time – loved the food there and found in your site lots of “old” recipes! This eggplant salad was one of my favorietes and I’m happy to do it now again!

  33. Peter says:

    This salad would be out of this world with grilled eggplant. I just have to have that smoky undertone to it. A colourful and inspiring dish!

  34. Magic of Spice says:

    This is such a beautifully presented salad Joumana! I love eggplant, and well everything else hear. Yes perfect for warm weather 🙂

  35. Cherine says:

    One of my favorite salads! Looks fabulous!

  36. Foodafok says:

    You’re a professional.

  37. domi says:

    Une belle touche pleine de fraîcheur avec cette salade gourmande et colorée…Bisous et passe une belle semaine

  38. Familycook says:

    Hey Joumana! I tried making this salad and it was a super-hit at home:) Thank you!

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