Moroccan Eggplant + Lentil and Couscous Salad
Ahhhh I love eggplant. My ability to easily eat a whole one in a single setting somewhat offsets the cheapness of them, but still, worth it!
This meal is very easy to make and while I don’t want you to mess with the eggplant recipe too much (oh, it’s so perfect!), the lentil salad is yours to play around with. Use some fresh veggies that you have leftover, or use what looks good at the grocery store. You can serve both of these salad-type dishes cold, hot, warm, or room temperature. Or you can mix and match. Pita makes a fun accompaniment to the eggplant if you’re making just that. With both it might be starch overkill.
Scant teaspoon cumin seeds (or 1 teaspoon ground cumin)
1 large or 2 small eggplant
1/4 c chopped red onion
2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. Pre-heat your oven to 425. Slice your eggplant in half lengthwise and put flesh side down on a cooking sheet lined with oil-sprayed parchment paper. Roast them for about 30 minutes, or until they start to look deflated and are soft to the touch.
2. If you’re being fancy and using the whole cumin seeds, toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant and starting to brown. Stir frequently, as it’s easy to burn them. When they’re ready, grind them in a spice/coffee grinder or crush them in a bag with a spoon. If you just want to use ground cumin, you can skip this and it won’t be a big deal.
3. While the eggplant is cooking, chop the onion and add to a bowl. Also add the sugar, vinegar, oil, parsley, and cumin.
4. Transfer the eggplant to a cutting board and cut them in half again lengthwise. You can wait till they cool a little bit if you’d like. Holding them by one end, use a big spoon to scoop the flesh from the skin. Coarsely chop and add to the bowl. Mix all the ingredients together.
Lentil and Couscous Salad
1 cup french lentils (brown will do also)
3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup uncooked couscous
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed and mixed with 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
2 big handfuls of baby arugula
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup crumbled feta
juice of 1/2 lemon (or to taste)
1. Fill a small saucepan with the lentils and enough water to cover them by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Transfer the lentils (drain if you have leftover water) to a bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the vinegar and add some salt and pepper. Let cool while you do the rest of the steps.
2. Bring the 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a saucepan and add the couscous and salt. turn off the burner and cover the pan for about 5 minutes while the couscous absorbs the water. Once it’s done, add it to the lentils. Add 1 tablespoon oil and mix together.
3. In a small bowl, mix the mashed garlic, remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix this with the lentils and the couscous.