Mediterranean Eggplant Chickpea Salad features tomatoes, pine nuts, and fresh basil in a simple vinaigrette. It's made with thin, quick-cooking Japanese eggplant that are grilled to bring out their sweet flavor. Easy to prepare in under half an hour, this hearty summer salad is perfect for picnics, barbecues, and delicious meals any day of the week.
I've always enjoyed eggplant dishes in restaurants, but cooking the purple vegetable at home has never been my strong suit. The most successful way I've prepared it is by roasting it in the oven like when making meatless eggplant pasta.
But now I realize I've been missing out on the easiest and, in my opinion, tastiest way to prepare eggplant. I'm talking about grilling it! In fact, eggplant is one of my favorite vegan grilled foods.
Why you'll love this recipe
- It's easy to prepare in under 30 minutes.
- It's a wonderful way to enjoy seasonal eggplant.
- It's not only delicious, it's colorful and beautiful.
Eggplants, or aubergine, come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. They are members of the nightshade family related to tomatoes and potatoes.
Did you know there are at least ten different varieties of this vegetable? Check out this guide to learn more about them.
I personally love the skinnier Japanese eggplant. They have fewer seeds than the larger Italian version, and I enjoy the texture when cooked. However, for this grilled eggplant salad, feel free to use whatever variety you prefer.
You'll also need the following ingredients:
- Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- Tomatoes (I like to use cherry tomatoes)
- White wine vinegar
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh basil leaves
- Pine nuts
And for the salad itself, you can add additional ingredients to make it your own. These are some of my favorite variations:
- Add more veggies such as red bell pepper, cucumber, or red onion.
- Give it a tangy flavor with olives, capers, or Dijon mustard.
- Add your favorite vegan cheese like feta or mozzarella.
- Add dried spices such as Za'atar, sumac, or cumin.
- Substitute fresh lemon juice in place of the vinegar.
- Swap in your favorite fresh herbs like oregano, mint, or parsley for the basil.
- Skip the pine nuts and use roughly chopped walnuts, or leave them out entirely for a nut-free version.
For the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
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If you don't have an outdoor barbecue grill, you can use a grill pan on your stove. I recommend this economical Lodge Cast Iron Grill Pan.
Eggplants cook quickly on a grill. Slice them lengthwise, brush each side with a little oil and dusting of salt and pepper, and grill them on each side for about five minutes.
Let them rest until they are cool enough to handle. Then slice them into bite-size pieces.
Then to make this eggplant chickpea salad, combine them in a large bowl with the other ingredients, toss, and serve. You can also make this salad in advance and refrigerate it until you're ready to eat.
Eggplant Chickpea Salad is a complete meal on its own. For lunch I enjoy eating it with my favorite toasted or grilled vegan gluten-free sourdough from Bread SRSLY. Use code VEGGIESSAVETHEDAY for 15% off your first order.
It's also perfect as a starter or side with a variety of other dishes. I particularly like it with Mediterranean seasoned yellow rice, lemon herb grilled potatoes, or vegan pasta Bolognese made with walnut meat.
Leftover eggplant chickpea salad can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Freezing is not recommended.
If you can't find Japanese eggplant, you can substitute any variety such as Chinese, American, or Italian.
No, you should not peel eggplant before grilling it. The peel will keep the vegetable from falling apart on the grill.
Salt is often used to remove excess moisture before frying eggplant. However, if you are grilling it, this step is not necessary.
More vegan chickpea salads
And for even more recipes, join the Vegan Mediterranean Diet Recipes Facebook group for support, inspiration & fun!
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! ★★★★★
Mediterranean Eggplant Chickpea Salad
- 2 Japanese eggplants
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 can chickpeas , (garbanzo beans) rinsed and drained (1½ cups)
- 1 dry pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
- 3 Tablespoons pine nuts, (or substitute roughly chopped walnuts)
- Slice the eggplants lengthwise. Brush each side with 1 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Grill the eggplant over high heat for approximately 5 minutes on each side.
- Transfer the eggplant to a plate and let it rest until cool enough to handle.
- Meanwhile, add the chickpeas, tomatoes, white wine vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Slice the grilled eggplant into bite-size pieces and add them to the salad.
- Add the torn basil leaves and pine nuts.
- Gently toss everything together. Taste to adjust for salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. For best flavor, serve at room temperature.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.