This refreshing salad can be served warm or chilled in split halves of pita bread along with hummous or baba gannouj and a selection of brined olives.
- 1 lb eggplant, peeled and diced
- 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
- 1⁄2 cup chopped red onion
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1⁄2 cup pitted kalamata olives or 1⁄2 cup pitted green olives, chopped
- 1⁄2 cup chopped Italian parsley
- 1⁄8 cup toasted slivered almonds (may substitute pine nuts)
- 1 -2 lemon (juice of, no seeds, amount depending on size)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint (optional)
- 4 pita bread rounds (optional)
- Soak sun-dried tomatoes in boiling water 15-30 minutes until they soften, then drain and dice; set aside until needed.
- Heat oil in a large skillet; add eggplant, red pepper, and onion along with salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, and garlic.
- Cook mixture, stirring occasionally, over medium heat, for 8-9 minutes or until lightly tender, then remove from heat and allow to cool.
- In a large bowl, mix together chopped olives, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, chopped parsley, toasted almonds, lemon juice, and mint (if using).
- Mix in cooled eggplant mixture, tossing lightly (add extra-virgin olive oil, salt, or fresh lemon juice if desired to adjust consistency to your taste).
- Serve salad warm or chilled with fresh pita bread, or alone as a salad or first course.