Roasted Caponata Salad with Chickpeas & Goat Cheese

Posted by on Wednesday Apr 24th, 2013 | Print

Tonight, after a packed day, I’m heading to our monthly girls’ potluck, still known as Mag Club in spite of not having adhered to the original meaning (we’ll all present an article from a magazine! and a dish the article inspired! yeah, right!) for years. These days, instead of dating and parties, we talk of engagements, weddings, and apartment decoration. In spite of these topics, we manage to have fun getting together.

Back to that packed day. One of the challenges of living and working in New York City is the extended time we spend away from our apartments. To leave at 7am and return when the clock strikes 10pm, after work, dinner, and the gym is exhausting in its own right, never mind the work and plans that take a toll on people like me who enjoy fresh air, homemade lunches, and 8 hours of sleep. Being out all day often means carrying a lot of bags, too, wedging ourselves plus our gym clothes, lunch bags, and scarves into an already slim column of air on the 4 train.

Even when it means an extra bag, I like to bring a homemade dish to Mag Club. (We don’t dock membership if you buy sushi, sesame noodles, or pizza, but have you met me? I’m the queen of homemade.) Since everyone has become pretty health-conscious, my last few carb-y contributions (Swiss Chard Lasagna, and a huge container of fried rice) weren’t ideal for the occasion. I decided to eliminate the carbs and load up on vegetables in tonight’s roasted vegetable salad with chickpeas and goat cheese inspired by the sweet-and-tangy flavor combination of eggplant caponata. I hope you – and the girls tonight – like it!

And here’s how to be a potluck party all-star.

**Recipe**

Roasted Caponata Salad with Chickpeas & Goat Cheese
Serves 6 as a side

Most of the time I roast my vegetables nearly to oblivion. I like them crispy and as crunchy as possible. Not so here – I wanted the zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and shallots to be just tender, a little juicy, like they’d been gently sautéed. That just means this recipes comes together more quickly!

Ingredients
1 Japanese eggplant
Coarse salt
1 zucchini
1 red bell pepper
1 shallot
Olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
juice from half a lemon
About 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
One 14-ounce can chickpeas

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the eggplant lengthwise and place the slices on a paper towel. Salt them generously and then flip them and salt again.

While the eggplant is resting, cut the zucchini and pepper in a half-inch dice. Place on the baking sheet. Blot the eggplant slices, then cut those in a half-inch dice too. Toss with olive oil–about 1 tablespoon. Put the pan in the oven and cook for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, dice the shallot, then toss it in with the other vegetables. Bake for 12-15 more minutes, until the vegetables are cooked and just barely colored. Squeeze most of the lemon juice over the veggies and sprinkle on the sugar. Cook 2 more minutes, then remove and let cool for 10 minutes.

Toss slightly cooled vegetables with the chickpeas and the rest of the lemon juice. Taste and add another drizzle of olive oil and some salt to taste. Layer half of the salad into a serving bowl and sprinkle with half the crumbled goat cheese. Pile on the rest of the salad, then the rest of the goat cheese. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.

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  • http://twitter.com/wvanillasugar Warm Vanilla Sugar

    Love this! So simple, and totally delicious!

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Thank you, Katrina!

  • http://twitter.com/lisaathome215 Lisa

    This looks great. Perfect summer ‘leave in the fridge and pick at all week’ recipe

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      That’s just what I was thinking!

  • Lori Yates

    Yum, this is beautiful! I think roasted eggplant. mixed with CHEESE, can get even non eggplant eaters to eat it :)

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      I still can’t even understand how there are non eggplant eaters in the world. I love it so much.

  • marie @ little kitchie

    This is lovely, and would be so welcome at a potluck! As a teacher, I bring my lunch to work every day, and I would love to just make a batch of this for a week’s worth of lunches!

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Yes! Potluck favorites always do seem to double as brown bag winners.

  • Elisa @ Insalata di Sillabe

    I love vegetables-based plates and this salad looks perfect to be made ahead of time and taken at school with me! Such a great and yummy idea, thanks so much for sharing!

    http://www.insalatadisillabe.blogspot.com
    xo, Elisa

  • Megan@CookingOnEmpty

    This is a great recipe! I’ve been looking for a good vegetarian dish that I could use for a light dinner. Also, I’m curious why you used Japanese eggplant, as opposed to regular eggplant? Also, what’s the difference in flavor/texture here?

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      I used it mainly for the size – a regular eggplant would have yielded a bit too much. Also, off-season, the Japanese eggplants seem a bit firmer/better quality.

  • http://www.facebook.com/diane.thee.double.oh Diane Too

    Hello Cara, I am thrilled to have stumbled upon your blog from http://www.shape.com! I must say, I love the basic checkered-layout of your blog and the top-notch quality of your pictures. The colours are absolutely striking! Most of all, I love your personal input on food as you relate to our society’s view on food today. Indeed, we are growing to be very picky with our food. Also, I have recently joined the “Vegetarian Club” and I have no idea where to begin on a decent vegetarian meal. It looks like you will be my new guide to stay in this club! :)

  • http://twitter.com/_sweetathena_ Jess & Linz

    I love this meal. Simple, healthy, let’s the flavorful produce do the talking. ~Jess

  • http://twitter.com/CookbookCreate CookbookCreate

    What a great spring recipe! Would it be possible to make this in advance? How long does the eggplant keep it’s texture? Do you think we can prepare it the day before a party?

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      The eggplant will keep its texture for a day or two! I’d probably add the goat cheese right before serving though so that it doesn’t get mixed in.

      • http://twitter.com/CookbookCreate CookbookCreate

        Great! Thanks for the tips :)