Spiced Eggplant and Cucumber Salad

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad

A Couple Cooks was an accident, really. When we started this blog, we had no idea that we’d still be doing it three years later — that it would become part of our identity, a creative outlet for artistic fulfillment, and an expression of whole and sustainable living. Beyond just artistic expression, it’s become a way for us to connect to people, to support our community and charities around the world, and a way to push ourselves to constantly evolve, change, and self-reflect.

Sometimes we look around the internet and see the explosion of creativity in beautiful food and wonder, why are we doing this? Does the world need more recipes? Does Cyberspace really need our photographs and recipes, when there is so much talent around the globe contributing new content daily?

What we’ve decided is that there’s really no limit on the amount of recipes this world needs. While the sheer number of recipes available on the web can be overwhelming, there are also billions of people on this earth who need to eat every day. And for every person, there’s a new unique perspective and way of eating. Just like pieces of music or art, there are and always will be infinite ways to combine foods for day-to-day eating.

We’re still not quite sure whether the world needs our perspective, but somehow we’ve fallen into this thing that’s become life-blood to us: combining foods and capturing them on film (well, digital film). In our photographs, we’ve tried to not overly glamorize or create a false sense of reality, but capture the food in its best light to represent the beauty of the flavors.

Thanks to you, readers — for being there as we experiment, taste, create, and evolve. This recipe is something we’d never have come up with even one year ago, but it’s part of our journey. Thanks for being along for the ride.

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad

Thanks to Oh She Glows for the inspiration; we’ve tweaked her salad and added eggplant for a tasty combination of flavors and textures. Serve this salad with bread, muffins, or pita for a complete meal. 


Spiced Eggplant and Cucumber Salad

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  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Yield: 4


This recipe makes enough for 4 modest servings; if desired, double the amount of eggplant and chickpeas to make for a more filling salad. Asian eggplant is best, which is small and thin, but globe eggplant can be substituted in a pinch.


  • 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 Asian eggplants (or substitute 1/2 globe eggplant)
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • 15-ounce can chickpeas
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup peanuts


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon cumin, and ½ teaspoon turmeric.
  3. Wash and thinly slice the eggplant (if using globe eggplant, thinly slice and cut large rounds into smaller pieces, about 2 inches wide). In a large bowl, add half of the spice mix and 1 tablespoon olive oil to the eggplant. Roast for about 20 minutes or until cooked through, then allow to cool.
  4. Rinse the chickpeas and dry them with paper towels. In a medium bowl, stir to combine the other half of the spice mix and ½ teaspoon olive oil.
  5. Peel the cucumbers. Dice the cucumber, red onion, and red pepper. Chop 1/4 cup cilantro. Place all vegetables in a bowl (without the chickpeas).
  6. In a small bowl, stir together 1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar, 1 1/2 tablespoons honey, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Sprinkle the dressing into the cucumber mix; save out additional dressing if desired.
  7. To serve, on each plate or bowl, place the cucumber mix, then top with chickpeas and roasted eggplant. Garnish with chopped cilantro and peanuts. Serve with bread, muffins or pita for a complete meal.


Adapted from Oh She Glows


About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    Nicole B
    September 19, 2013 at 1:32 am

    Looks delicious! I’m going through quite an eggplant phase (or aubergine as they call it here in England which is so random!) but am really struggling to make them crispy like you would get in a restaurant. Hopefully the way you suggested to prepare them will do the trick!

    • Reply
      September 19, 2013 at 9:32 am

      Hi Nicole! Actually, this eggplant did not turn out crispy — it is more of a roast-y texture. However, perhaps roasting it for a longer time would crisp it up? I’d only worry that it would burn. Let me know if you try something like that out!

  • Reply
    Belinda @themoonblushbaker
    September 19, 2013 at 7:16 am

    Really that is wonderful piece of writing. I love how your experiment turned into something so great. Some times I do wonder why I blog and I can not help but be selfish. It is for me, my place run 400 words of ranting thoughts along with good food. Your voice is definitely need in the food blogging world; who else can make veggie food look so good?

    • Reply
      September 19, 2013 at 9:25 am

      Belinda, thank you so much for your kind words! Sometimes blogging seems inconsequential in the scheme of things, but in other ways we couldn’t live without it. Thanks so much for your sweet comments :)

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    September 19, 2013 at 7:44 am

    I absolutely love the colour of this! GORGEOUS salad…and Asian eggplants are my favorite!

    • Reply
      September 19, 2013 at 9:23 am

      Thanks, Katrina! We love Asian eggplant too — we had forgotten how great it was!

  • Reply
    September 19, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Couldn’t agree more. Glad you guys are part of this big blogging world. Always enjoy your recipes!

  • Reply
    September 19, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Completely love the way the salad looks. My kinda of food.

  • Reply
    Clem @ clementinecuisine
    September 20, 2013 at 12:54 am

    Thanks to you for the inspiration! I had never seen eggplant and cucumber combined (though I love both) but you convinced me about it. Hey, a new food idea that works for people!
    I totally understand what you mean about blogging, but I also agree with you on the fact that there are never enough recipes out there. This salad is a perfect example of that: I would never have thought of it if it weren’t for your blog!

  • Reply
    Chelsea @ BigBitesLittleBudget
    September 20, 2013 at 9:49 am

    I love nontraditional salads. This one is so beautiful and simple!

  • Reply
    September 22, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Such a great post – I for one am so glad that you guys did start blogging. I always feel so inspired when I come here.

  • Reply
    Millie | Add A Little
    August 18, 2014 at 2:12 am

    mmm love the spices and the fresh cucumber! How delicious!


  • Reply
    Kristi Rimkus
    June 26, 2015 at 9:25 am

    I’m always looking for ways to incorporate eggplant into dishes. This salad looks fantastic, and with the chickpeas in the mix, it makes a meal.

  • Reply
    Alex @mightydelicious
    July 4, 2016 at 9:28 am

    This recipe is by far one of my favorite salads out there. Ive been bringing it to a lot of parties throughout the last year and it’s always a hit. It burst with flavor and yumminess, but it’s also one good looking dish! Thank you Sonja!

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