By: Sammi Ricke
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?! I blame my parents. Okay, I don’t really…well, maybe just a little. They failed to expose me to some amazing fruits and vegetables. I mean they made me wait almost 30 years to appreciate an eggplant for Pete’s sake!
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, and Pecan Salad!
I was inspired to develop this 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 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. This coming summer I am going to plant SO MANY MORE of these little beauties so I can have them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Spinach, Roasted Eggplant, and Pecan Salad
- 1 eggplant, cubed with skin
- 1 apple, diced with skin
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil spray
- 5 oz clamshell organic baby spinach
- 1/2 orange bell pepper, julienned
- 2 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1.5 tsp lemon juice
- 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 45 minutes or until eggplant is browned and tender. Stir mixture after 30 minutes. Set aside and let cool while you prepare the salad and dressing.
- In a small bowl, mix 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!