Air-fried Eggplant mixed with Lettuce, tomatoes, and onions and dressed with a yogurt-based zesty creamy dressing, this salad is definitely a keeper.
Eggplants are my favorite kind of vegetable. I love all kinds of eggplants, from Thai eggplants to Chinese eggplants to Mediterranean eggplants. They all are uniquely delicious. And good vegetables to incorporate into your healthy diet. Frying and baking eggplants can make the flesh really soft while crispy on the outside. And it also enhances the taste a lot. In other words, they’re perfect for salads.
I use my trusty air-fryer to fry eggplants as it’s much easier and healthier at the same time. But I know many people don’t use air-fryers so in that case you can definitely deep or shallow fry. Wait until the oil gets hot otherwise, eggplants absorb a lot of oil and can become soggy. Fry until they’re golden on the outside.
I have a ninja 4qt air-fryer. Please note that the time I have given to fry the eggplants can change depending on the air fryer you’re using. My recommendation is first to fry the eggplants for about 4 mins on 375F and then adjust the timer accordingly. If you have a larger air fryer. you’d need to fry it for longer as it takes a little longer for the air-fryer to heat up. In my 4qt air-fryer, it usually takes about 12 mins without preheating.
What else can I use in this salad?
I use some easy-to-find ingredients and keep it very simple. You can make this with just eggplants and tomatoes. It makes a wonderful dish to serve with rice. You can also add some croutons to add some texture. Grilled chicken cubes, fried fish cubes or balls, or fried paneer or tofu to add some protein. Adding lemon or lime zest to the dressing can give you that extra zing. You can replace lettuce with young kale or Arugula. If you live in Asia, Gotu kola is a good alternative too. Mine is such an easy basic salad recipe. Get creative and make it your own.
Yellow rice with, red lentil curry and some protein like pan-fried chicken drumsticks is my favorite way to serve this eggplant and lettuce salad. If you serve it this way, this is enough for 4 servings.
Goes so well with any grilled protein. My favorite is grilled chicken or pan-fried fish.
Mix in or top with grilled paneer, tofu, chicken or steak, or any protein of your choice and you got yourself a yummy healthy bowl of salad for lunch.
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Eggplant and Lettuce Salad
Air-fried Eggplant mixed with Lettuce, tomatoes, and onions and dressed with a yogurt-based zesty creamy dressing, this salad is definitely a keeper. Very easy and quick to make.
For the dressing
Cut eggplants into wedges about 11/2 inches long and 1/3 inch thick.
Add them to the air fryer (you can deep/shallow fry too). Spray with cooking oil. Flip and spray again. Toss them to ensure every piece of eggplant is coated with oil.*
Air-fry on 375F for 6 minutes. Flip eggplant pieces and air-fry for another 6 minutes or until eggplants turn brown on the outside and soft on the inside. Total of 10 - 12 minutes. (time may vary depending on the air-fryer. adjust the time accordingly).
Making the dressing and the salad
Add yogurt to a large bowl and whisk until the texture become smooth. Add black pepper, garlic, salt, and lime juice and mix. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your taste.
Add fried eggplants, lettuce, onion, tomatoes, and green chilies, and mix everything carefully. Serve immedietely. (If you're planning to serve it later, mix the salad ingredients with the dressing just before you're serving.)
- you can use any chili variety of your choice. I love it hot so I use a Thai green chili. You can use cayenne or serrano for medium heat. Skip chilies if you don't like your salad hot.
- If you don't have oil spray, Mix your cut eggplants with about 2 tsp of cooking oil. Make sure every piece is coated nicely.
- Do not overcrowd the air-fryer basket. Do it in batches if you have a smaller air-fryer or have more eggplants to fry.