Roasted Asparagus, Eggplant, and Basil Combine to Create a Fresh, Paleo Summer Salad
It definitely feels like summer here in Minneapolis. The temperatures are rising and best of all, the farmers markets have started up for the season. The sights of farm fresh greens and other early summer produce has me excited to start playing around with summer salad recipes. I experimented with this Roasted Asparagus and Eggplant Salad as a dinner side salad the other evening. The flavors are fresh and it's easy to make, just what you want during the summer months.
Asparagus - (2) Bunches
Eggplant - (1)
Basil - (1/4) Cup
Scallions - (2 or 3)
Tomato - (1) Cup (I used grape tomatoes but you could substitute another variety)
White Balsamic Vinegar
*Choose a high quality vinegar for drizzling and finishing off the flavors. Locally, I love the White Balsamic from Vinaigrette, an excellent source for high quality olive oil and vinegar in Minneapolis (Linden Hills neighborhood).
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. The eggplant will take the longest to cook so I suggest starting your prep here. Cut off the stem of the eggplant and cut into 1" cubes. Toss in olive oil, salt and pepper and spread out on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, tossing a couple of times to ensure even cooking. The eggplant is done when it is tender and browned. (Notes on Eggplant Roasting Preparation: Some prefer to remove the eggplant's skin prior to cooking. Another preparation option is that you can salt the eggplant to remove some bitterness and moisture. I personally don't bother with either of these steps in order to save time but feel free to experiment and see what you prefer. This is a good tutorial on how to roast eggplant cubes if you are curious about these options.
3. Next, cut off the hard ends of the asparagus stems and cut the remaining stalks into 1" pieces. Toss in olive oil, salt and pepper and spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in the oven for approximately 10 minutes, tossing once to ensure even cooking.
4. While the eggplant and asparagus roast, slice the tomatoes and scallions (both the bulbs and the leaves). Again, toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Once the asparagus is tender, remove from the oven and place in a mixing bowl. Using the baking sheet you used for the asparagus, spread out the tomatoes and scallions and place in the oven for a couple of minutes just to soften the ingredients.
5. While finishing up the vegetables, chop the basil and add to the mixing bowl.
6. Once all of the ingredients are to your desired tenderness, remove from the oven and combine in the mixing bowl. Drizzle with white balsamic vinegar to finish. Serve warm or refrigerate for a cold salad
Enjoy and let me know what you think of this recipe!