Just when you thought you’d tried all the eggplant recipes, along comes a roasted eggplant salad that’s the perfect summer salad recipe, but also says fall. Beautifully charred and savory seasoned roasted eggplant and squash are drizzled with the best lemon tahini dressing. Topped off with crumbled goat cheese and pistachios, this is a salad that doubles as a side dish.
As the end of summer looms, eggplant fills produce bins and farmer’s markets as it’s the best season to find it locally. Visit your favorite stop for just about everything you need to make this tasty roasted eggplant salad.
And the lemon tahini dressing is the easiest thing to whip together! If you can stir, you can make it.
Seriously, if you thought making homemade salad dressing was hard, this recipe is going to prove you wrong. Plus, there’s nothing like a pouring that homemade drizzle over your freshly made salad.
It’s truly the best eggplant salad recipe and will become a fall side dish favorite. Let me show you how easy it is!
Gather up these eggplant salad ingredients— you’ll love how beautiful this bowl is!
Here’s are the highlights:
Eggplant – Look for an eggplant that feels heavy for its size and has smooth, shiny, vibrant skin. It shouldn’t have any blemishes or soft spots.
Butternut squash – You want your squash to feel firm and dry, and if it’s cracked or looks like it has a bit of mold on it, leave it behind. The sweetest squash will be heavy for its size because that means it’s not dried out.
Red onion – Any sweet onion will do, but I love the rich purple color the roasted red onions give the salad.
Mixed greens – You can use any kind of salad base you’d like, but I like a hearty Romaine or even a spring mix. Arugula or kale will make a great base too.
Goat cheese – So much tangy flavor comes from the goat cheese, but feta is a great option.
Pistachios – Roasted and shelled pistachios give this salad a crunch that I absolutely adore (I might be known to sneak some extra pistachios into my serving!). Feel free to use pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, or even crispy tortilla strips instead.
How to make roasted eggplant salad
Some eggplant salad recipes are just complicated, but you know me… if I can make it easier for you, I’m going to! And…the hardest part about making this easy eggplant salad is waiting!
Here is what you’ll do:
- Roast the veggies. Drizzle diced eggplant and sliced onion with oil and evenly space on a large baking sheet. Roast the veggies for about 30 minutes, or until they’re gorgeously golden, then remove them and let them cool.
- Make the dressing. Whisk all the ingredients together in a measuring cup until thick and creamy.
- Assemble the salad. Layer the greens on the bottom and top with the roasted veggies.
- Dress and Garnish. Drizzle your fresh dressing over everything (or if you prefer, serve it on the side). Sprinkle the goat cheese on top of the salad, then add the pistachios, and you’re ready to serve!
For a cobb salad-style presentation, keep your veggies separated on the sheet pan, then lay them over the greens in rows. Do the same with the goat cheese and pistachios, then drizzle the dressing on top.
I love how this looks!
Eggplant insider scoop
Avoid bitter eggplant
The older the eggplant, the more it stands the chance of being bitter. Buying from a farmer’s market gives you the best chance of getting a just-picked, young eggplant which would be less bitter.
The best way to cut eggplant
To chop the eggplant into cubes, cut the top stem and bottom ‘blossom’ end of the eggplant and then cut the entire eggplant crosswise into 1-inch thick slices. Cut the slices lengthwise to make 1-inch thick strips, then cut the strips into 1-inch thick cubes.
To get rid of some of the water in eggplant, lay thin slices of eggplant on paper towels and sprinkle with some kosher salt. Leave it to sit for about 20 minutes. The salt will draw the excess moisture out of the eggplant, so it’s less likely to become mushy when you cook it. Rinse and blot with paper towels to soak up the excess water
This roasted eggplant salad calls for a dressing with tahini which is a paste made from toasted sesame seeds and a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. Tahini has a really rich and nutty flavor. It’s not one bit sweet and some may find it a little bitter.
You can buy tahini ready-made in a jar at the grocery store (Trader Joe’s has a really economical tahini), or you can make it by roasting sesame seeds to enhance their flavor and then grounding them into a smooth, creamy paste with a touch of oil. (But between you and me, the store-bought version is usually quite yummy, so save yourself the trouble!)
ALLERGEN NOTE: Tahini essentially is sesame seeds, if you or someone you love is allergic to sesame, this isn’t the ingredient for you.
Some options for alternatives: peanut butter, sunflower butter, almond butter, or tahini-free hummus.
Make ahead and storage notes
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Roasted Eggplant Salad with Goat Cheese and Tahini Dressing
- 1 whole eggplant, sliced and cubed into 1” cubes
- 1 lb butternut squash, cubed
- 1 red onion, sliced thin
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon roasted garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 6-8 cups mixed greens, or kale or arugula
- 4 oz crumbled goat cheese
- roasted shelled pistachio meats
- Preheat oven to 400˚.
- Lay the cubed eggplant, butternut squash and onion on sheet pans. Use a separate sheet pan for the squash so it doesn't steam from the eggplant (not shown). Toss with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and the seasoning/herbs.1 whole eggplant, 1 lb butternut squash, 1 red onion, 2 T olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon roasted garlic powder, ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- Roast until golden at 400 for about 30 minutes. Allow vegetables to cool.
- Meanwhile, mix the dressing ingredients together in a glass measuring cup.1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 c lemon juice, 1/8 c tahini, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1 T honey, 1 tsp chopped garlic
- Lay greens in a salad bowl. Top with veggies and drizzle over dressing. Mix and then sprinkle over crumbled goat cheese and pistachios.6-8 cups mixed greens, 4 oz crumbled goat cheese, roasted shelled pistachio meats
- For a cobb salad-style presentation, keep your veggies separated on the sheet pan, then lay them over the greens in rows. Do the same with the goat cheese and pistachios, then drizzle the dressing on top.
- You can let the dressing sit in the fridge for a few hours or up to a week. Make sure to shake it before serving and allow to come to room temperature for the best flavor.
- If you’ve got the time, I like to do a little trick to get rid of some of the water in my eggplant. After you cut it, lay it on paper towels and sprinkle some salt overtop. Leave it to sit for about 20 minutes. The salt will draw the excess moisture out of the eggplant, so it’s less likely to become mushy when you cook it. Give it a little rinse, then use paper towels to soak up the water.
- At about the 25-minute mark, try poking the veggies with a fork. You want them to be caramelized so turn as needed
About Lori Murphy
Lori has over 30 years in the food industry as a marketing strategist, culinary instructor and chef for three kids with discerning palates. As the chief content creator at Josie + Nina, Lori is dedicated to helping home cooks create food memories through fresh ingredients and Italian flavors.