This gluten-free cooked eggplant salad recipe post contains affiliate links.
I can’t stop thinking about this gluten-free cooked eggplant salad! Before I share the gluten-free recipe, let me back up a little…
Last month I was in Israel and learning all about the Israeli people and immersing myself in the culture. One of the best parts about traveling to the area was the food – many dishes we rarely find in the U.S. and most are naturally gluten-free – score!
Eggplant is a staple ingredient in many Israeli dishes. Why, I cannot tell you… but as someone who is eggplant-obsessed, I say bring it on! I love eggplant. Over the years, I’ve made gluten-free eggplant meatballs, gluten-free eggplant parmesan, a gluten-free roasted eggplant dip my family LOVES, and most recently, fried parmesan eggplant with almond flour.
When I returned from my whirlwind adventure in Israel, I wanted to bring home some of the dishes and flavors I tried in the Promised Land. That’s when I discovered a blogging gem named Tori Avery.
I don’t know Tory Avery personally, but she writes one amazing blog featuring recipes of the past or what she calls “historical cookery.” Her focus is on Sephardic Jewish cuisine, Israeli dishes, and everything Mediterranean. (Ed. Note: Avery is not a gluten-free blogger – but many of her recipes are gluten-free or easily adapted to be gluten-free.)
I’ve already made a few of her recipes – and hope to make more. That said, the one I’m sharing today is definitely a new staple in our house. I made this cooked eggplant salad, which is naturally gluten-free, while entertaining some good friends. Everyone loved it! The flavors popped and it was a BIG hit. Seriously, everyone was raving about this dish!! It was so good that we ate all of it up that night. I was sad that I didn’t have any leftover, so I found myself back at the store buying more eggplant and then making this same dish a second time just a few days later.
The dish is so flavorful and aromatic. You can taste every ingredient… the eggplant, peppers, garlic, tomato sauce and spices. It even has a little kick thanks to the red pepper flakes (omit the flakes if you’re sensitive to heat). It makes a perfect stand alone meal, side dish or gluten-free appetizer. I might pair it with some gluten-free bread (perhaps these gluten-free breadsticks from Chebe) the next time I make it!
You can find Avery’s original recipe here and below. If you have time, poke around Avery’s site. She has so many Mediterranean and Sephardic-style foods that look irresistible and completely authentic. I plan to stop by her site often!
Gluten-Free Cooked Eggplant Salad Recipe
- 2 large eggplant
- 6 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 red or yellow bell peppers (I used 1 of each color), washed, seeded and diced into 1 in chunks
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 15 ounces tomato sauce 1 can
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. salt (or more to taste)
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
Wash eggplants, then peel half of the eggplant. I use my peeler to peel a strip and then leave a strip so it looks like zebra stripes when I'm done. Then dice the eggplants into large chunks.
Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a large skillet pan over medium high heat, then add one diced eggplant. You'll want to work the eggplant in batches. Cook eggplant for about 10 minutes or until gently browned, stirring often. Once eggplant is lightly cooked, remove from skillet and put it in a large stockpot.
Add 2 Tbsp oil to the skillet and then add the other diced eggplant. Cook the same as the first batch, then add eggplant to stockpot.
Next, add 2 Tbsp of oil to the skillet pan and add diced peppers. Cook until softened and slightly brown or for 3-4 minutes, stirring often.
Mix in minced garlic to the pepper mixture and then cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute until fragrant.
Remove pan from heat. Add peppers and garlic to eggplant in stockpot.
Add to stockpot the remaining ingredients: tomato sauce, water, cumin, salt, sugar, crushed red pepper flakes and pepper. Stir.
Bring mixture to a gentle boil, then turn down heat to a simmer and cover.
Cook for 1 hour 30 minutes (or longer) to allow the flavors to come together and eggplant and peppers to cook down more, stirring occasionally. I cooked mine for 4+ hours and it was even more flavorful and amazing!
Serve warm (delic!) or refrigerate overnight to serve as a cold salad or dip.