Salads get a bad reputation for being boring and bland. You would be forgiven for thinking of salad as nothing more than some limp and lifeless leaves of lettuce, but this could not be further from the truth. All of the Mediterranean eggplant salad recipes below are a delight for the eyes and mouth.
What are the health benefits of eggplant?
Eggplants are known in certain parts of the world by the name aubergine too. They are part of the nightshade family of plants, which also includes tomatoes and mushrooms. They are colloquially referred to as vegetables, but in actuality they are fruits as they have seeds in the center and grow from a flowering plant.
Eggplants, like many other fruits and vegetables, contain a high level of antioxidants. These are compounds that protect the cells of your body against harmful free radical damage. Consumption of antioxidants has been correlated with a reduction in chronic disease, including cancer and heart disease.
Some of the antioxidants in eggplants contain a pigment responsible for giving the skin its deep color. These are known as anthocyanins. One important anthocyanin is called nasunin. This has been proven to protect cells against free radical damage.
Studies conducted on rabbits have shown that LDL cholesterol and triglyceride markers in their blood had dropped. At elevated levels, these markers are indicative of heart disease risk.
This suggests that the consumption of eggplant can help to protect your heart. This study showed that eggplant can improve the function of the heart and the severity of heart attacks.
Eggplants are also a good food to regulate blood sugar levels. This is due to the high fiber content which slows down the digestive system, meaning sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream more steadily. The fiber content also helps to keep the digestive system functioning correctly and can help you to remain full for longer.
Eggplants contain compounds known as SRGs (solasodine rhamnosyl glycosides). There is some preliminary research to suggest that these compounds can cause the death of cancer cells.
The Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet is believed to be one of the healthiest on the planet. It is based on the traditional foods from the region including fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, seafood, dairy, olive oil, and the occasional glass of wine.
The Mediterranean people have some of the lowest rates of chronic disease in the world, and the highest life expectancy. This is credited in part to their healthy and balanced way of eating.
Following a Mediterranean diet is believed to prevent the occurrence of heart disease and strokes. The diet is said to reduce your cholesterol, stabilize your blood sugar levels, and improve your overall blood vessel health. This can have a knock-on effect of reducing your Alzheimers and dementia risk.
The antioxidants found in many Mediterranean foods reduce the oxidative stress that the cells of your body are placed under. This in turn will halve your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Finally the diet is very high in fiber, which helps with the maintenance of stable blood sugar levels, slows digestion, and assists in weight management.
This salad recipe is from From Scratch Fast. It is a super simple side dish that can easily be bulked out and made into a main event. This is ideal for a summer barbeque.
This recipe from A Cedar Spoon combines eggplant with mint, tomato, parsley, scallions and bell pepper. It is dressed with olive oil, za’atar, crushed red chili flakes, and lemon juice for extra freshness.
This recipe is from Maria Ushakova, a holistic nutritionist. The ingredients used are all very simple and cheap to get hold of. The salad can be made warm or cold, perfect for any season.
This salad from The Mediterranean Dish is full of herbs and vegetables. It is seasoned with a garlic and lime dressing, making the dish packed full of flavor. It makes a good side dish, or bulk it out with a protein of your choice.
This recipe is from Salads with Anastasia. It is a great summer recipe to showcase the fresh, seasonal produce. It is topped with parmesan crisps to provide a salty crunch to the dish.
This recipe is from Very Well Fit. The eggplant is marinated in a citrussy vinaigrette and can be served as an appetizer or a side dish. Grains are an excellent way to bulk out this salad and make it into a full meal.
This recipe is from Feasting not Fasting. This is a recipe loved by everyone who tries it. There is very little cleanup involved in making this dish, as the vegetables can be roasted together and the salad is assembled in one bowl.
This recipe is from A Couple Cooks. It is vegetarian and gluten free. We love serving it on top of some couscous and lettuce for a delicious summer lunch.
This is a traditional Greek appetizer served with meat, sauce, and pitta breads. The recipe is from Philos Kitchen. This is a great vegetarian or vegan dish and will instantly transport you to Greece.
This is a recipe from Weight Watchers. Eggplant and garlic are roasted whole in the oven until softened, before being blended with other ingredients. Stir through some chopped scallions and tomatoes for extra texture.
This is a recipe from Healthy Life Trainer. The recipe needs only 9 ingredients – eggplant, scallions, cherry tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, vinegar, olive oil, and parsley. It keeps well so can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
This recipe is from Tori Avey. It is a cooked salad from Israel that is suitable for vegetarians, vegans, celiacs, and Kosher diets. It is delicious served with fresh bread, quinoa, or rice.
This recipe is from Two Purple Figs. The eggplant is fried and then coated in garlic sauce and tahini. The salad ingredients also include garlic, vinegar, cilantro, mint, parsley, toasted pinenuts, Greek yogurt, chili flakes, jalapenos, feta cheese, and cherry tomatoes.
This recipe is from Andrew Zimmern. The classic festive Jewish salad is ideal for an evening of drinks and nibbles with your friends.
This recipe is from Recipe Tin Eats. Lentils and eggplants both get bad reputations for being boring, however this could not be further from the truth. It is dressed with a garlic and lemon dressing, making the salad irresistible.
This recipe comes from Epicurious. The inclusion of barley makes this salad hearty and filling. The recipe calls for chicken broth, although this can be substituted for vegetable broth if serving to vegetarians or vegans.
This recipe is from Grab and Go Recipes. It is a healthy and delicious shttps://grabandgorecipes.com/mediterranean-roasted-eggplant-salad/ide dish that takes less than 30 minutes to make. It can be served warm or chilled.