This Turkish eggplant salad is uniquely delicious. Charred eggplant and bell peppers are combined with tomatoes, herbs and spices for a delightful convergence of flavors. Like other Mediterranean salads, key ingredients include olive oil, lemon juice and sumac.
If you've been a long time reader, you know eggplant if one of our favorite ingredients. When it comes to eggplant recipes, we love them all; from baba ganoush and Middle Eastern eggplant to hearty karniyarik (Turkish stuffed eggplant). This Turkish style smoky eggplant salad is another favorite that I cannot wait to share with you. It goes well with many Turkish dishes and even eggplant skeptics love it!
Table Of Contents:
Smoky eggplant salad - Turkish style
Charred and smoky eggplant has a special place in the Persian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. Just like melitzanosalata and mutabal, this recipe also calls for the eggplants to be charred on an open flame, preferably your gas range (instructions for the roasted version below).
If you're looking for more ways to use charred and smoky eggplant, try mirza ghasemi, an Iranian dish made with eggplants, tomatoes and eggs.
- Eggplant: The star of the dish is the eggplant, so make sure to get the best ones you can find. It's best to use Italian eggplants for this recipe. If using globe eggplants, make sure they're not too large, otherwise they won't cook completely and will remain raw in the middle.
- Bell peppers: You need both green and red bell peppers for this recipe.
- Onion: Yellow or white onion would work for this recipe.
- Tomato: Firm tomatoes such as roma or beefsteak would work perfectly for this recipe.
- Garlic: One to two cloves would do. It's important not to overuse garlic in this recipe since it can overshadow the smoky eggplant flavor.
- Parsley: Use flat leaf parsley, not the curly variation.
- Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil adds depth and earthiness to the salad.
- Sumac: This bright red spice adds tanginess to the salad and cannot be substituted with any other spice. Find sumac in Middle Eastern or Mediterranean shops or online.
- Lemon: Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds a nice bright flavor to the smoky eggplant.
How to make eggplant salad Turkish style
- Wash and dry the eggplants completely. Then pierce them using a fork and place them on a gas range over medium high heat. Flip a few times using a pair of tongs so it cooks evenly on all sides. This will take about 20 minutes. The skin will get charred and wrinkly, and the flesh will be completely soft.
- Char the peppers on the gas range as well. Make sure to turn them occasionally so they char and soften evenly. This will take about 15 minutes. The peppers are ready once the skin is charred and they are somewhat softer. You can turn on 2-4 ranges at the same time to char the eggplants and peppers simultaneously.
- Place the charred eggplants and peppers in a large bowl and cover with a plastic wrap. Let them sit for 15 minutes to cool down and "sweat". Peel them using gloves or under running cold water. Then finely chop them using a kitchen knife.
- In a large bowl, mix the chopped eggplant and peppers with the onion, tomato garlic and parsley.
- Add in some of the olive oil followed by the sumac, lemon juice and salt. Taste and add more sumac and salt if needed.
- Transfer to a serving plate and top with more olive oil. Serve at room temperature or cold.
If you don't have a gas range, you can roast the eggplants and bell peppers by following these instructions:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Pierce the eggplants using a fork. Brush the eggplants and the peppers with a bit of olive oil and place them on a baking sheet.
- Roast in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, rotating a couple of times, until the skin is wrinkly and the vegetables are cooked.
- Let cool in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and proceed to use in the salad as instructed.
This smoky eggplant salad makes a nice addition to any mezze platter alongside some hummus, fried halloumi and dolma. Even though it's called a salad, I love having it with some bread such as lavash, pita or Turkish pide bread as a light lunch.
You can also serve it as a side with dishes such as roasted chicken and vegetables, shish tawook, kofta kebab or beef shish kabob.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, pierce the eggplants using a fork and roast them at 400 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes until the flesh is tender. You can also broil them for 20 to 30 minutes as well. Follow my roasted eggplant recipe for more details.
Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. It's best to drizzle with some olive oil before serving.
While I'm a firm believer in soaking and salting the eggplant before roasting and frying, I skip this step when charring on an open flame. I find that it doesn't make much difference when charring.
More delicious Turkish salad recipes
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Turkish Smoky Eggplant Salad
- 2 large eggplants see notes
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 yellow onion finely diced
- 1 large tomato finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup fresh parsley chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil divided
- 2 tsp sumac
- 1 lemon juice of
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Pierce the eggplants a few times using a fork. Turn on the gas stove to medium high and place the eggplant directly on the range. You can have 2 ranges on at the same time to char both eggplants at the same time. Char the eggplant for about 20 minutes, flipping every 5 minutes for all parts to cook evenly. This would take about 20 minutes, depending on the size of the eggplant.
- Place the red and green bell peppers on the stove as well to char. This would take about 15 minutes. Flip occasionally so they char evenly.
- Place the charred eggplants and peppers in a bowl and cover with a plastic wrap. Let them sit for 15 minutes so they sweat and are no longer hot.
- Gently peel the eggplants and peppers. You can do so on a board wearing cooking gloves or under running cold water.
- Finely chop the peeled eggplants and peppers and add them to a bowl followed by the chopped onion, tomato, garlic and parsley.
- Add 2 tablespoon of the olive oil, sumac, lemon juice and salt. Stir to combine.
- Transfer to a serving platter and top with the rest of the olive oil.
- The eggplants are going to be charred on the stove top therefore make sure they're not too large otherwise they won't cook completely. Italian eggplants work best for this recipe. If using globe eggplants, make sure they are not too large. Chinese or Japanese eggplants won't work for this recipe since they don't have enough flesh.
- Instead of charring, you can roast the eggplants in the oven following my instructions on how to roast an eggplant.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Give it a good stir and drizzle with olive oil before serving.
- To make this salad a little bit spicy, add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Yummy! Very similar to what my Armenian Mom, born in Isfahan, made. It was called EEKRA. Just didnt use Zaatar. She always made it as side to lamb shish kebab. Daddy would charbroil the eggplant, tomatoes & green pepper on the charcoal grill outdoors. Mommy would then prep the eekra and daddy grilled the marinated skewered lamb..
Hi Linda! Thank you for your comment, what sweet memories <3 We love this salad with lamb too!
This was such a unique and unexpected recipe that does not disappoint! Loved all the flavors and textures; easily, a new favorite salad recipe, indeed!
I love how versatile this recipe is! It's a perfect fit for my family! So delicious!
I've not seen this one in Turkey but I am so going to try it.
Amazing recipe and a great way to use veggies from the garden this summer! The charred eggplant and peppers bring so much flavor to this dish. This would go great over quinoa!
The flavors in this is out of this world! So flavorful and delicious. WOnderful eggplant salad recipe!
...stunning Recipe... Please try not to pierce the Eggplant because in such way you loose the Healthy Juices of eggplant>>Also, You can cook the eggplant in Steam Cooker and keep the Peel of Eggplant because it will be Healthier .. Thanks
Serving this with pita chips for a holiday get together. The perfect "healthy" appetizer. 🙂
I was blown away by how delicious this salad was! I served it with some grilled chicken and it was amazing, but I am looking forward to taking the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.