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Eggplant Salad with Bell Peppers, Onions & Parsley (vegan)

In Salads, Vegetables On June 4, 2023 0 Comments


Eggplant, bell peppers, onions and parsley are staple ingredients in Mediterranean countries. I grew up in an Italian kitchen where these simple veggies and herbs were transformed into delicious meals on a daily basis.

This eggplant salad boasts luscious flavors, especially when fused with garlic and olive oil. The best part of this salad is that you can keep it as an exquisite leftover in refrigerator (covered) for up to four days. Buon appetito!<

Active prep time: 50 minutes
Inactive prep iime: 30 minutes (for eggplant to sit & drain)
Serves: 6 to 8

2 large eggplants (dark-skinned & firm – without marks or dents)
3 tablespoons salt (to coat eggplant & drain bitter juices)
vegetable oil (for oiling baking sheets)
2 red bell peppers
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
3 small spring onions or scallions, peeled & finely chopped
1 cup packed fresh, flat leaf Italian parsley, finely chopped
Ground black pepper, to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1. Cut and discard tips from both ends of the eggplant; cut eggplant into 1/2-inch thick rounds.

2. Cut each round into 1/2-inch thick slices and then into 1/2-inch cubes; set aside in a large colander set over a bowl.

3. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons salt over eggplant cubes.

4. Wearing disposable chefs’ plastic gloves (to prevent brown staining of hands), toss the eggplant; set it aside in a colander set over a bowl to drain for 30 minutes.

5. In the meantime, coat two 18-inch X 12-inch baking sheets with vegetable oil.

6. After eggplant has drained for 30 minutes, wearing gloves, grab a batch of eggplant and squeeze it tightly over a sink to drain bitter juices.

7.Set squeezed eggplant cubes on baking sheet; continue squeezing remaining eggplant & scatter it evenly over the baking sheets.

Boiling/Grilling the Eggplant:
1. Set oven to “BROIL” (this is the upper element in oven that turns red).

2. Place one baking sheet with eggplant on a rack set 6 inches away from upper boiling element.

3. Broil (this is the same as “grill”) eggplant cubes until they look golden brown (about 7 to 8 minutes).

4. When eggplant cubes look golden brown, toss them and broil/grill them for an additional 5 to 6 minutes or until they look golden brown. DO NOT LET THEM BLACKEN OR CHAR.

5.Set the baking sheet with broiled/grilled eggplant aside on a rack or trivet on counter; repeat above procedure with the second baking sheet.

6. Meanwhile, cut the red bell peppers in half lengthwise, remove & discard tip and seeds. Set aside.

7. With a spatula, gently transfer the eggplant to a large glass or porcelain bowl; set aside.

8. Place bell peppers, rounded side facing up, on one of the same baking sheets previously used for eggplant.

9. Transfer the baking sheet with peppers on an oven rack set 6 inches away from top broiling element.

10. Broil the peppers for 8 to 9 minutes or until skin has blackened. Set sheet with peppers aside on a counter or trivet to cool.

11. After peppers have cooled to “lukewarm”, remove & discard skins. Chop peppers into 1/2-inch pieces; set aside.

Assembling the Salad:
1. Combine the broiled eggplant, bell peppers, garlic, onions, parsley, pepper and olive oil (SINCE THE EGGPLANT IS ALREADY SALTED, DO NOT ADD ADDITIONAL SALT). Toss and taste.

2. If needed, adjust seasonings and olive oil. Cover the salad with plastic wrap & set it on a counter at room temperature until ready to serve.

3. When served with Italian, French bread or pita bread, this dish stands on its own. You can also serve it as part of a Vegan, meat or fish course and/or buffet table. Enjoy!

Text & Photograph ©2023 Nancy DeLucia Real

Spring-into-Easter Salad (Vegan)

In Salads, Sides On April 8, 2022 0 Comments


This salad is vegan, fresh and easy to make. I chose ingredients with bright colors – they remind me of Spring and Easter. Although this salad stands on its own, it’s great when served alongside any meat or seafood dish at Easter or other occasion.

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 4

1 large carrot, peeled & julienned (cut into matchsticks)
2 Persian cucumbers, peeled & julienned
2 celery stalks, peeled & julienned
1 medium-large tomato, cut in half, pulp discarded & flesh julienned
1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced into strips
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped Serrano Chile
1/2 cup corn kernels (canned & drained)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, washed & patted dry with paper towels
4 to 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1 lemon
salt and ground black pepper, to taste

1. In a large glass or porcelain serving bowl, combine carrot, cucumbers, celery, tomato, onion, Serrano Chile, corn and half of the cilantro together.

2. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper; toss. Taste and adjust seasonings.

3. Garnish with remaining cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.
Text & Photograph ©2022 Nancy DeLucia Real

Red Potatoes & Fresh Dill Salad (Vegan)

In Salads, Vegetables On May 5, 2021 0 Comments


This dish is made with four ingredients – that’s it! Make Red Potatoes & Fresh Dill Salad in minutes. It’s a  great dish for that Mothers’ Day buffet!

Prep time: 5 minutes (plus boiling potatoes)
Serves: 4 to 6

1 pound small red potatoes
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt, to taste
1/3 cup chopped fresh dill

1. Rinse potatoes in a colander in cold water; drain.

2. Transfer potatoes to a 4-quart saucepot; cover with cold water.

3. Bring potatoes to a boil.

4. Cook on medium-high heat until potatoes are fork-tender – about 12 to 15 minutes.

5. Drain potatoes in a colander.

6. When potatoes are warm to the touch, cut them in half.

7. As you cut potatoes in half, transfer them to a mixing bowl.

8. When all potatoes have been cut in half, add olive oil, salt and chopped fresh dill.

9. Stir and taste. Adjust seasonings, to taste.

10. Transfer Red Potatoes & Fresh Dill Salad to a serving bowl. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve. NOTE: This dish can be made in the morning and left at room temperature until dinner time.
Text & Photograph ©2021 Nancy DeLucia Real



Summer Cactus Salad – Truly Vegan (no processed ingredients added)

In Salads, Sides On July 2, 2020 0 Comments


In Mexico, cactus leaves (nopales) are usually combined with ingredients such as tomatoes, chiles & onions. This results in refreshing salads that act as a side dish to meat, poultry and fish.

Nopales (cactus) leaves can be purchased in Latin American supermarkets or grocery stores. Here is our exquisite take on this traditional dish –  Summer Cactus Salad.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

3 cactus (nopales) leaves (found in Latin American grocery stores or supermarkets)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 of a Serrano Chile, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped, fresh mint leaves
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lime

1. Working on a cutting board, chop the cactus (nopales) leaves into 1/2-inch pieces.

2. Transfer the chopped cactus to a colander set over a bowl; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, combine the chopped red onion, red bell pepper, Serrano chile and mint in a mixing bowl.

4. Rinse the chopped cactus under cold water and drain.

5. Working in batches, transfer about 1/4 of the chopped cactus to double paper towels set on cutting board.

6. Take paper towels and pat dry (cactus will stick to the paper towels).

7. Release the dried cactus  from paper towels and add it to other ingredients in bowl. Repeat with remaining cactus.

8. Add olive oil and lime to salad ingredients and toss. Taste and adjust salt level, if needed.

9. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 2 hours ahead.

Text & Photograph ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real

Brown Rice Confetti Salad

In Pastas, Rice & Legumes (Beans & Grains), Salads On May 5, 2020 1 Comment


This salad is delicious as a side or as a buffet dish for any celebration. Make it for Mother’s Day – they’ll love it!

Prep time: 15 minutes (to assemble ingredients)
Makes: 3 to 4 cups

1-1/2 cups cooked, brown rice
4 to 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium carrot, peeled & finely shredded
2/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 cup chopped, fresh chives
5 to 6 fresh mint leaves, slivered
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
salt & ground black pepper, to taste
Dash cumin

1. Cook rice according to package directions.

2. If rice has excess liquid after cooking, drain and discard the liquid.

3. Transfer the rice to a 4-quart glass or porcelain bowl & stir in the olive oil.

4. Let rice cool to room temperature.

5. When rice is at room temperature, stir in remaining ingredients; toss, taste & adjust seasonings.

6. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap & serve later in the day.

7. Brown Rice Confetti Salad can be made early in the morning. Any leftovers will keep, refrigerated, up to 3 days.
Text & Photograph ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real