Saturday, September 3, 2011

Grilled Eggplant and Mango Noodle Salad with a Sweet Chili Dressing

It looks as though the heatwave here has finally passed.  Last weekend it was over 100 in my part of town, when it's barely topped 85 all summer.   The desire to cook and to eat both take a hit when it's so hot, but this salad from taste space looked so interesting, refreshing, delicious, and just pretty, I knew I had to try it.  But my neighborhood supermarket, although it has phenomenal produce, bulk goods, and strange imported pickled things, is not the best place to buy tofu.  Nor have they had asparagus for months.  By substituting chickpeas for tofu (inspired by yet another asparagus-fruit recipe), green beans for asparagus, and regular noodles for spiralized zucchini, we were able to make this awesome salad without making a more involved grocery run.

I chose to make this noodle salad and a chilled carrot soup because they were cold and refreshing.  I didn't think about how much heat I'd have to use to create said refreshingness!  Although in the original version Janet grilled the veggies outside, I don't have that option, and roasting in the oven really heated up my apartment.

The finished product, though, was delicious: chewy, salty eggplant and green beans; buttery tangy mango; crisp onions; aromatic basil and cilantro; and zingy vinegar and chili.  The overall product was ever so slightly too vinegary for my tastes, but I also didn't use quite enough noodles.  Anyway, I will definitely make a salad like this again--it would be easy to improvise some fun variations.

Grilled Eggplant and Mango Noodle Salad with a Sweet Chili Dressing
(adapted from taste space)

1/6-1/4 c rice vinegar
1 TB agave or honey (omitted, partly because I had pre-seasoned rice vinegar)
1/4 tsp salt (omitted, partly because I had pre-seasoned rice vinegar)
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
zest and juice from 1 lime
1 1/2 c chickpeas
1 TB soy sauce
1 TB toasted sesame oil
3/4 lb Asian eggplant (around 2), sliced lengthwise into 1.5-cm strips
3/4 lb green beans, trimmed
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced or diced, soaked in water for at least 10 minutes, then drained
1 large or 2 small mangoes, cubed
large bunch basil, chopped
small bunch cilantro, chopped
8 oz soba noodles, cooked

1. Combine the rice vinegar, agave, salt, garlic, chili flakes, toasted sesame oil, lime zest and juice. Stir and set aside.
2. Marinate your chickpeas with the soy sauce and toasted sesame oil for 5 minutes or so.
3. If you had big eggplants, definitely salt your eggplant for 30 minutes or so. The smaller Asian ones don’t need it. If salting, after salting, rinse off the salt and drain off excess water. Drizzle with a bit of oil and spread out on an oiled baking sheet.  Toss the green beans with a bit of oil, salt and pepper and spread them out on a second baking sheet.
4. Roast both the eggplant and the green beans in the oven at 375.  For me the eggplant took longer: about 30 minutes, flipping midway, and broiling at the very end.  Remove the eggplant when soft and slightly golden; remove the beans when bright green and starting to blister.  Chop the eggplant into chunks when slightly cooled.
5. To assemble the salad, toss together the noodles, chickpeas, grilled eggplant and green beans, onion, mango, basil, cilantro and the dressing.  Serves 4-6.

1 comment:

janet @ the taste space said...

Yum! So glad you enjoyed it with all the changes. It is completely adaptable, for sure! :)