If you’re watching your weight, or just looking for something new and exciting to try, this smoky grilled salad is for you! This central Asian-inspired grilled veggie salad is delicious, healthy and super easy to make. For those of you who don’t care for traditional salads, this dish has an intriguing smoked flavor that will make you reconsider what salad can be.
To start, heat up your grill to 500 degrees. You can also use a grill plate in your kitchen if you don’t have an outdoor grill. Gather four medium-sized eggplants, two tomatoes and one green pepper. Of course, these ingredients are optional. Feel free to add any vegetables you may like, just be sure to account for cooking time. Eggplants, tomatoes and peppers all cook at about the same rate, but root vegetables such as carrots or squash will require a little more time. Put all vegetables on the grill and cook until blistered and soft all around. When you see grill marks on one side, use tongs to turn the vegetables on another side. When finished, let the vegetables cool for several minutes.
When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, the next step is to peel and seed the eggplants and tomatoes. When fully cool, the skin should peel off easily. If it doesn’t, the veggies may not be fully cooked. The eggplant flesh can be roughly chopped with a large knife, or it can be mashed. Either way will work, it’s all about your personal preference! Skin the tomatoes, then cut them into thirds to make them easier to remove seeds. Cut the green pepper into bite sized pieces. It can be diced, or left in larger strips. Keeping all vegetable pieces roughly the same size will enable you to taste all the vegetables in a single mouthful and give a more cohesive presentation to the finished dish.
Asian salads always include herbs. Herbs are a great way to add satisfying flavor without extra calories or fat. This salad uses cilantro and mint, which are both traditional central Asian flavors. Use a large knife to chop about half a cup of fresh cilantro and mint into very fine pieces. A gentle back-and-forth rocking motion with the blade will help you efficiently chop all the herbs to the same size. Next add one bunch of green onions, also known as scallions, chopped into bite-sized pieces. Add both green and white parts for their subtly different flavors. They are great in combination. Finally, drizzle about 1/4 cup of olive oil over all of the combined ingredients. This salad doesn’t need a lot of oil because of the moisture in the veggies, use only 1/4 cup at the most. Then salt and pepper to taste.
Mix it all up, plate it on a bed of lettuce and garnish with lemon wedges. This dish is perfect with kebabs or anything else cooked on the grill. Your healthful and eye-catching smoked salad is an object to behold. Enjoy!