I am a little embarrassed to admit this, but up until a few years ago I had no idea what an eggplant was.
I envisioned it being a weird ugly vegetable that stunk like rotten eggs.
Seriously, who was I back then?! Ha!
I blame my parents. Okay, I don’t really…well, maybe just a little. LOL Still joking! 😉
Don’t worry though, I have forgiven them and have tried my best to get them to love eggplant just as much as I do.
I am so happy to tell you that my mom loves this Spinach & Roasted Eggplant Salad!
I was inspired to develop this vegetarian Spinach and Roasted Eggplant Salad from a recipe I found a few years ago at SugarFreeMom.com. Her recipe is fantastic, but I decided to jazz it up a little to suit my tastes!
I wanted a little more texture so I added gluten free pecans and a pinch more sweetness in the dressing so I added several drops of Stevia.
This salad packs so much flavor that I crave it if I haven’t eaten it in a while.
The sweetness of the roasted apples and eggplants paired with the crunchiness of the sweet bell pepper and pecans is simply divine!
I literally cannot imagine my food life without eggplants now. We grew them in our garden for the first time this past summer and I cannot tell you how excited I was to eat them!
We grew two different kinds, a speckled light purple variety and the most well-known dark purple kind.
I often bake them according to this recipe to eat during the week, even if I don’t make this entire salad.
Spinach & Roasted Eggplant Salad
- baking pan
- large bowl
- 1 eggplant, cubed with skin approximately 1" cubes
- 1 apple, diced with skin
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil spray
- 5 oz clamshell baby spinach
- 1/2 orange bell pepper, julienned
- 2 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese
- 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1.5 tsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp honey or 4 drops liquid Stevia
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- few dashes black pepper
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place cubed eggplant and diced apple on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat or parchment paper. Spray lightly with the olive oil spray and sprinkle garlic salt and pepper evenly.
- With a spoon, gently toss coated eggplant and apple on baking mat to evenly coat each piece with seasoning.
- Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes or until eggplant is browned and tender. Stir mixture after 20 minutes. Set aside and let cool while you prepare the salad and dressing.
- In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients.
- In a large serving bowl, combine spinach, orange pepper, feta cheese, and pecans.
- Add the eggplant and apple mixture to the spinach. Then pour in the dressing. Gently toss and Viola you are ready to serve!
- Refrigerate leftovers...if you have any!