Love and Olive Oil

Grilled Eggplant and Goat Cheese Salad

Grilled Eggplant and Goat Cheese Salad

I love summer. Not only for the abundance of deliciously ripe local produce and pleasant temperatures, but also for the light. The light that streams in through our living room windows until 7 or 8 at night at the height of summer. Pictures like these just don’t happen in December. Sucks, but its true. Our giant windows are all but useless after the clocks change. I treasure the summer light, and as the sun sets earlier and earlier, we slowly start cooking earlier and earlier to continue to catch the last breath of light at dinnertime, but I know it won’t last. And it makes me sad. Because no matter what I do, the track lights in our kitchen just don’t cut it. No tripod, no steady hand, no amount of photoshopping can fake this kind of light. But you know what? It’s ok, we’re not going to cook less just because it gets dark sooner. Because that would be silly. And not fair to all of you.

Continuing our exploration into the world of eggplant varieties… as we were perusing the farmers’ market this last week I picked up another variety of eggplant, but this time was lucky enough to find out exactly what it was called. Similar to the sicilian-ish (dark purple tomato-looking) fruit from the eggplant experiment, this one was slightly larger and had white streaks (and silly me got so excited to cook with it I forgot to photograph it until after the fact). This particular eggplant was called a Pomerosa, a variety of Heirloom eggplant (which I wasn’t even aware existed!). And like our previous experiment, the texture was more firm than your typical eggplant, which made it perfect for this dish.

Grilled Eggplant and Goat Cheese Salad

I consider us pretty healthy eaters. We don’t eat a ton of meat (maybe once a week, twice at the most). And ok, aside from the baked goods that are always plentiful, our dinners tend to skew towards the healthier side of things. But that doesn’t stop Taylor from craving burgers and sausages and greasy pizza. And when dinner time rolls around, and I tell him what we’re cooking, he sours as the thought of eggplant and pine nuts. Sounds like hippie food. Of course, until I told him it was a Giada recipe… well, that changed his opinion of things quite quickly. That’s ok, I won’t take it personally that he has a thing for Giada, so long as she keeps coming up with delicious recipes like this one. Because I agree, it is hard to make eggplant as deliciously satisfying as, say, a cheeseburger, but somehow she manages to do it with this one.

Grilled Eggplant and Goat Cheese Salad

Makes 4-6 servings. Recipe from Food Network.

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3 tablespoons olive oil
7 Japanese eggplant, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch wide slices
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup basil, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped mint
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Place a grill pan or heavy skillet over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Drizzle the olive oil over the slices of eggplant and toss to coat. Grill the eggplants until tender and grill marks appear, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Place the eggplants side-by-side on a serving platter. Sprinkle with the pine nuts, goat cheese, basil, and mint. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

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  1. We made this last night and were blown away by the combination of flavors. It’s a keeper!! <3

  2. so bitter what can i do to take bitterness away

  3. I’ve just arrived at your blog via Caitlin’s Roaming Tales food round up. What a cracking recipe this is, and so simple too.

    Being over the other side of the world, we’re just coming out of winter and into Spring. While our winters are never that dark, our light is changing too. It’s brighter, clearer at the moment, although still prone to days of darkness and shadow.

    We have some friends over for dinner on the weekend and I think I might include this recipe in our dinner plans. My partner is a huge eggplant fan, so I know he’ll love it.

  4. Oh my god, this recipe is so fabulous. I love your blog also. The pictures are so yummy and really beautiful. I will let u know how I make out with the recipe, so check back! Please visit us at, click on our press kit to see us in action and we would love for you to blog with us!! Thanks.

    Judy & Joy
    Twice Baked Twins

  5. Perfect! This is exactly what I was looking for today. And I just so happen to have every ingredient.

  6. YUMMY! Digging the Vegetarian! I’ve been now for 6 months! Thanks for the recipe! :)

  7. Wow – this looks like it tastes amazing. I’m putting this one on my list of kitchen experiments. :D

    Thanks for laying it out for us.

  8. MMMMMMMM,..I love aubergine dishes as this !!

    Aubergine is in season now in Belgium & I love grilled aubergine slices & to pair it with Balsamic vinegar & goat’s cheese is just perfect!


  9. This looks fresh and flavorful! And thanks for reminding me about the light. :P I was already getting sad about that! My teeny tiny apartment has such crappy windows, I already take most of my photos in my “light studio” I set up on my BED!

    I’m gonna look into those lights set at daylight color temperature.

  10. Looks delicious! I love grilled eggplant, but have never thought about using it in salad. I wish I could get goat cheese here…

  11. Looks so good! You should have heard my husband and his friend going on about Giada the other day. I swear, that is the only time he has ever been interested in the Food Network!

  12. I love grilled eggplant, it is pretty meaty, but yeah I guess not quite a cheeseburger.

  13. yay for grilled eggplant – one of my fave summer dishes :-)

  14. Yes, the lingering light has been nice. It’s tough being a food blogger in the winter. I end up having to save something until the next day to photograph. But your pictures are lovely and I am glad you have been posting often.

    I wish someone would have told me to not marinate eggplant before grilling it. It was one of my greatest kitchen disasters. The taste and texture were TERRIBLE.

  15. I wish I had seen this post when I was wondering what to do with the eggplant in my fridge earlier today – this sounds delicious!

  16. This is exactly the sort of recipe I love! I did a grilled eggplant salad once that had a yogurty-feta sauce & pine nuts… so good. This looks delicious.

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