Miss Fats has been doing a damn good job of getting out to show you all the tasty eats across Chicago. However this has resulted in her feeling a bit like this:
Miss Fats needed some veggie love to combat some of this ice cream bloat, but does not believe in dainty salads. So she turned (again) to the hearty winter salad. This time she wanted some spicy Mediterranean flavors and tangy goat cheese action. The result: a warm eggplant, chickpea and spinach salad.
This combo of ingredients sounded excellent to MIss Fats, however she is also damn lazy when it comes to dishes and many components. So she condensed this recipe to use only one bowl and two baking dishes (or really only one if you have a baking pan bigger than hers). You’re going to see her make some strange moves, but bear with her. It’s damn good and less work.
Roasted Eggplant, Chickpea, Goat Cheese and Wilted Spinach Salad:
inspired by Roasted Eggplant and Smoked Almond Salad
4-6 servings (depending on if you have it as a side or big salad meal)
2 large eggplants, diced
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tbs olive oil + 1 tbs divided
1 tbs white vinegar
1 tsp paprika + 1/2 tsp divided
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
couple of pinches of hot red pepper flake (optional)
1 large bunch or bag of prewashed spinach
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay the diced eggplant out onto your baking sheets and salt. Allow to sit while you make the marinade. Combine 2 tbs of oil, 1 tsp of paprika, garlic, vinegar, coriander and cumin in a large bowl. Using a paper towel or dish towel, blot off any of the extra water beaded up on the eggplant. Toss eggplant in the marinade and spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure they’re not sticking.
2. In the same big bowl, throw in the chickpeas, remaining oil and paprika and a bit of salt and pepper (yeah, just let it hang out in that marinade residue). Toss to coat. Distribute into a single layer on a baking pan. Once the eggplant has been roasting for 20 minutes or so, throw the chickpeas into the oven.
3. Once you’ve hit that 40 minute mark and your eggplant is looking tender and slightly crispy, take the baking sheet out of the oven and just heap the raw spinach on top. I know. It sounds weird and technically this spinach should be wilted on the stove or whatever. But just do it: it’s fast, easy and allows the spinach to steam slightly in the spicy aromas of your roasting fest. Stick your weird pan of eggplant and spinach back in the oven for about 10 minutes or until your spinach has essentially halved in sized (or more if you like your spinach more well done):
4. Remove chickpeas from the oven and squeeze the lemon over top. Listen to that sizzle.
5. Serve up by layering a big pile of your spinach, couple of scoops of eggplant and chickpeas. Crumble that tasty goat cheese over top. Drizzle with additional olive oil if you’d like.
This salad has a lot of flavor and Miss Fats recommends just throwing down a heaping portion for a healthy lunch or stuffing all the components into a pita pocket with a little greek yogurt for a more substantial, sandwich version.