We love salads and I’m always on the lookout for a hearty salad that’s fit to be the main course. It makes me feel good when I eat a salad for dinner that is loaded with lots of fresh ingredients. I’ll admit we don’t eat salads for dinner often enough, they’re usually served on the side. To EJ, a salad for dinner needs to be substantial. It needs to be more than the standard lettuce, tomato, cucumber, etcetera, etcetera…
It needs to be able to stand on it’s own.
It needs to be… interesting.
It needs to be filling.
It needs to be hearty.
And it above all else, it needs to be absolutely delicious!
This Grilled Eggplant, Pear and Spinach Salad is all of these and more and it’s totally changed how I view salads for dinner.
There’s something hearty and substantial about eggplant. It’s certainly a vegetable that will fill you up and satisfy your hunger.
My favorite way to prepare eggplant is to slice it, brush both sides with olive oil, sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper and place them on the grill. I love the lightly charred, soft insides and the slightly crispy outer edge. I could eat the eggplant right off the grill just like that with nothing else added.
For this Grilled Eggplant, Pear and Spinach Salad however, I combined savory flavor of eggplant with the sweetness of pears. The pears were sliced and sauteed in a bit of butter and orange juice.
This might surprise you, but eggplant and pears go remarkably well together.
I placed the slices of eggplant which were softened by the heat of the grill on top of a beautiful bed of fresh baby spinach. I love how the fresh spinach slightly wilts after placing the warm slices of eggplant on top. A simple vinaigrette was sprinkled over the top. Then, the softened pears were scattered over the eggplant and topped with a handful of toasted pine nuts and asiago cheese. To finish, I drizzled a tiny bit of honey over it all.
A wonderful, healthy and hearty salad that comes together in minutes. Easy and flavorful, this Grilled Eggplant, Pear and Spinach Salad is a great addition to your weeknight dinner rotation.
Do you have a favorite main dish salad you love to prepare? I’d love it if you’d leave me a comment and let me know.
Other recipes you might enjoy…
Grilled Eggplant, Pear and Spinach Salad
- 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled and sliced lengthwise 1/4- thick
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 inch pears, peeled, cored and sliced lengthwise 1/4 thick
- juice of 1 small orange
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon honey
- thin shavings of asiago cheese
- Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a small skillet on medium high heat. Add the pine nuts. Stir for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. Remove pine nuts from skillet and set aside.
- Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Grill the eggplant over medium high heat until lightly browned and tender, about 3 minutes per side.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the pear slices and cook over moderate heat, tossing, until just starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the orange juice and orange zest and stir to coat completely.Cook for a minute more. Remove from the heat.
- In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the vinegar, 1 tablespoon of the parsley and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Place the spinach on a platter and arrange the eggplant slices on top of the spinach. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the eggplant and spinach.
- Arrange the pear slices over the eggplant and drizzle with the honey.
- Scatter the pine nuts, cheese and remaining parsley over the top.