Roasted Chickpea, Eggplant, Red Potato, and Arugula Salad is a healthy, summery, refreshing, and slightly spicy dish. It’s full of protein and protein and is gluten free and vegan.
Three weeks into marathon training, I’ve noticed that I am craving vegetables even more than usual. Part of this may be due to the fresh, colorful, and flavorful produce bountifully available here in the Seattle area or that summer is one of the best seasons for fresh produce. Still, the more I run, the more vegetables and fruits I want to stuff in my face. My body just wants all those nutrients and carbs. I’ve become a connoisseur of gigantic salads that are roughly the size of my head.
My body also wants a tall cold glass of pale ale and some salty bacon after a hard run, but let’s focus on the vegetables part.
I’ve always possessed a voracious appetite for fruits and vegetables. Each semester in college, until I got my own apartment, involved a daily struggle not to blow all of my meal card money on a salad towering high with all the vegetables. Most of our grocery cart is filled with produce and I can easily spend half an hour perusing the produce department. It’s my version of a candy store.
But you all know that, since I frequently ramble on and on about my unwavering love for all vegetables green, root, and in between. Photos of vegetables account for more than half of my Instagram posts. Which, by the way, is where this delectable salad made its first appearance earlier this week.
So let me talk about another thing I’m currently loving: natural light. Daylight spans approximately from 5am to 9:30pm here in the Seattle area. I don’t even turn on the lights for most of the day, but just push back the blinds since we have floor-to-ceiling windows in our apartment. It’s so good for the mind, soul, and eyes to work under natural light.
Not to mention how amazing the natural light has been for food photography. I’ve been photographing lots of recipes as I work on an upcoming project and discovered our patio, with all its natural light goodness, is ideal for food photography. I’m shooting on the lowest ISO and the highest shutter speed I’ve ever been able to use. Colors pop now that there’s no unpleasant yellow sheen from overhead lights. Just soft, clear, natural daylight.
It took me a couple weeks, though, to shed the self-consciousness I had about pointing a DSLR at a plate of food on my patio. I’m quite sure that some of our neighbors think I’m mildly insane, as I adjust eggplant on top of a salad and scootch my lens up close to the salad. Or maybe they’ve just figured there’s a blogger living next store? (If any of my neighbors are reading this, hi! I apologize for our overly friendly puggle.)
Speaking of photography, I’m not sure if these photos do this roasted chickpea, potato, and eggplant arugula salad justice, since the only thing that will is if you go, buy the ingredients, and make it yourself.
This salad contains only five ingredients (unless you count the spices or if you add organic BBQ sauce like I did) and can be prepared in under 30 minutes. It’s gluten free and vegan/vegetarian, but it is certainly appetizing to meat-eating gluten-lovers like myself. You can eat it immediately or prep it the night before and pack it for lunch for work or school, as it tastes good both warm and cold.
If you normally select spinach for your salads, I beseech you to give arugula a try. This green complements the spicy seasonings I used on the roasted chickpeas, potatoes, and eggplant with its peppery taste. I opt for baby arugula, which has a delicate hint of sweetness to balance out any bitterness. Arugula has a daintier leaf than spinach or other leafy greens, which make for such a beautiful and perfectly bite-size salad.
If you normally find eggplant to be bitter, try this trick before cooking it. Lay the slices of eggplant down on a paper towel, generously sprinkle with salt, and then lay another paper towel on top. Let rest for 15-20 minutes and then blot any extra moisture off the eggplant with the paper towels. The salt helps remove excess moisture, so the eggplant stays firm while cooking, and denatures enzymes found in eggplant that often lend a bitter aftertaste to it.
For the dressing, I simply drizzled the salad with a tiny bit of olive oil and some organic BBQ sauce. You can use any dressing of your choice, although I highly recommend the BBQ sauce as it adds a tang that complements the spiciness of the roasted vegetables.
- 2 red potatoes
- 1 eggplant
- 1 cup chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Salt and black pepper, as desired
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder*
- 2 cups baby arugula
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or oil of choice)
- 2 tablespoons organic, HFCS-free BBQ sauce (optional)
- Heat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Chop the vegetables into bite-size pieces (approximately 1/4-1/2 inch in size). Toss the vegetables and chickpeas with the olive oil and spices and then spread in a single layer on a lined or oiled baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender and chickpeas are crispy.
- Divide the arugula into two bowls and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil each. Divide the vegetables and chickpeas between the two salads and drizzle with BBQ sauce if desired.
- Serve immediately or store in the fridge in an airtight container.
- *Adjust the spices according to your palate. These measurements are for moderately spicy vegetables.
Questions of the Day:
What’s your favorite type of green? —-> Toss-up between romaine and arugula
What foods do you crave the most when training?