Grilling is one of the most popular ways to prepare food in the United States. It's a growing phenomenon and more people every year are purchasing their gas grills and using them to turn out fantastic meals. When you think about a grill, you probably think hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks and ribs, any huge hunk of meat that can be cooked with fire. But there is also a growing population of vegetarians who love grilled food. Most grilled vegetables and non-meat products on a grill are looked at poorly, as if they contain no substance. This just isn't true. You can prepare delicious meals on the grill and still eat 100% vegetarian. One of my favorite vegetarian meals on the grill is grilled eggplant and new potato salad.
Both eggplant and potatoes are meaty in texture and very filling. This salad of sorts is tossed with a wonderful, citrusy dressing and some red onions. It's a big hit at my house and I'm sure it will be at yours, too. It's relatively simple to make, even a beginner on the grill can make this meal. This is the perfect meal for vegetarians or anyone who likes vegetables. It's warm and inviting; sure to hit the spot on a beautiful day.
Eggplant and potato salad:
This shopping list is really short. All we need from the store is a couple of lemons, 2 eggplants and 1 pound of new potatoes. They're the small ones with the red skin. Also, grab some olive oil if you don't have any, a small bottle of red wine vinegar, a red onion and a bulb of garlic. Most of the work is going to be done in your kitchen. The grill is just to give this salad a killer smoky flavor.
When you're ready to cook, cut the bulb of garlic in half, rub some olive oil on it, wrap it in foil and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. While that's baking, wash your new potatoes and put them in a pot of water. Bring the water up to a boil, kill the heat, cover the potatoes and let them cool in the pot. Now, we want to cut up that eggplant. We want to slice it from stem to bottom to the slices look like long oval disks. When it's sliced, brush liberally with olive oil and season them with some salt and pepper. Also, dice the red onion up.
After you get your garlic out, allow it to cool completely before handling. The potatoes will take a few hours to cool, but once they're cool, slice them in half and season them the same way you did the eggplant. Make sure to turn your grill to medium heat, oil the racks and allow it to heat up for 10 minutes. Place the slices of eggplant and the sliced potatoes on the grill. Make sure you close the lid and don't stray too far away from the action.
Make sure you turn your eggplant after 5 minutes or so. Turn the potatoes also, but they're already fully cooked so we're only looking to get color on them. After they're cooked, remove them and allow them to cool enough to handle. The potatoes should be perfectly bite sized, if not, just cut them again. Slice the eggplant into relatively the same sized pieces also. Place the veggies into a bowl and add the diced red onion.
In a blender, we want to squeeze the roasted garlic into the jar. Next, add a few tablespoons of red wine vinegar and the juice of both lemons. Close the lid and begin to blend up. Opening the top of your blender, we want to add some salt and pepper, (you can also add some red pepper flake for a kick) then slowly drizzle about ¼ cup of olive oil into the mixture. This is a tasty vinaigrette to go along with your salad.
Now all you have to do is toss the vinaigrette with the veggies and enjoy. This makes a great meal by itself or it can compliment any meal perfectly. The eggplant and potatoes have different tastes completely, yet compliment each other perfectly with the addition of the vinaigrette.
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