It’s Raining Outside but It’s Sunny in Here with Two Spiced Salads


While some may think of salads as summer food, I’m a a fan of heartier (but not heavy) salads that can play a starring role year round.  For these, I get inspired by traditional vegetable dishes from around the world.  Right now, California is being deluged with heavy rains.  Keep it warm and sunny inside with these two salads.  The first, which I first  presented a while back, comes from Morocco, and features eggplant, one of my favorite vegetables, and some of my favorite spices. The second, is an Indian savory take on fruit salad and is a recipe I learned at my  first Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives conference at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, St. Helena, California.

Zaalouk: Moroccan Eggplant Salad

The food of Morocco, in Northern Africa, is known for its use of warm spices in dishes such as tagines and couscous. This warm Moroccan eggplant salad (Zaalouk), combining eggplant, tomatoes and classic Moroccan spices, is enjoyed as a side or with bread. This recipe was adapted from the Lands and Flavors blog, and my version includes the sweet touch of ground cinnamon.

Spices are not only wonderful for flavor, but for medicinal purposes. The spices in this dish include cumin and cinnamon, two spices known to have significant beneficial health effects. Cumin is a source of iron, aids digestion, and some studies have shown that it can possibly fight cancer. Cinnamon helps lower blood pressure and regulates blood sugar.

Servings: 8

Cooking Time: 45 minutes


2 lbs eggplant
Olive oil for roasting the eggplant and for finishing the salad
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon sea salt
Black pepper, to taste
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped


Heat oven to 450. Peel eggplant and slice lengthwise into ¼ inch thick slices. Drizzle a large parchment-lined baking sheet with a generous tablespoon of olive oil and arrange the slices evenly on the parchment. Drizzle another generous tablespoon of olive oil over the slices, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and roast in the oven until the slices are cooked and browned, around 35 minutes. Once they are golden brown, remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes on the counter. Once eggplant is cool, cut into bite-sized chunks.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the garlic and cook for around 30 seconds. Add the paprika, cumin, cinnamon and hot pepper flakes and bloom the spices in the hot oil for 10 seconds before quickly adding the chopped tomatoes, water, salt, black pepper, and bay leaf. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Add eggplant chunks, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for another 5 minutes.

The eggplant should now be fully cooked and tender but shouldn’t have disintegrated. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and the chopped cilantro. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve hot, warm, or room temperature with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

Calories: 66
Fat: 4 g
Protein: 2 g
Sodium: 284 mg
Sugar: 5 g


Kachoombar (Indian Chopped Mixed Salad)

This recipe for a delicious kachoombar salad, or an Indian chopped mixed salad, which I adapted from one by Chef Suvir Saran, was a runaway hit at my first Thrive Kitchen class last month. This is a savory, slightly spicy, cumin-scented salad that includes both fruits and vegetables. It’s an example of how I try to broaden my students’ ideas about cooking and introduce less familiar recipes and flavor combinations.

Servings: 8

Prep Time: 20 minutes


2 large tomatoes, diced into 1/2” cubes
2 Granny smith apples, 1/2” dice
1 large English cucumber, seeded and finely chopped
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
1 mango, diced
1 cup pineapple chunks
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon toasted ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Juice of 1 lime


Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Adjust salt, lime juice, or cayenne as needed.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

Calories: 145
Protein: 5 g
Fiber: 3 g
Fat: 4.5 g
Sodium: 150 mg

Like what you see? Join my healthy eating community on Facebook:

If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, come cook with me at the Thrive Kitchen, presented by Kaiser Permanente San Francisco.  To register for my next Thrive Kitchen class and for more information, visit the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Health Education website or email

To your health!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s