Warm Eggplant, Fennel, Zucchini & Spinach Salad

Expectations:

Once again, project salad continues!  I love salads because they’re super-easy and quick during the week, plus you can make just about anything you have on hand into a salad.  I had visited the farmer’s market near my office (again) now that I’m clinging to anything that reminds me of summer as the days start to cool off and the eggplant and fennel looked gorgeous… so they came home with me.

Time: 6 – 8 minutes.

Serves: 4.  This feeds my family of 4 people, 2 adults and 2 kids 1 time — can easily be expanded up or down.

Kid modifications:  If your children do not appreciate salad yet, serve the veggies they like ‘a la carte’ on their plates, not touching…without dressing.

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • Baby spinach leaves (rinsed). About 1 cup per adult, if your children eat spinach about 1/8 to 1/4 cup per child.
  • 1 medium eggplant cut into 1 to 1.5 inch pieces (don’t worry about the small seeds, they’re edible)
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, tough outer layer removed and sliced into bite sized pieces (I also typically chop 1/2 a stem).  Remove the ‘furry’ leaves.
  • Optional: 1 or 2 garlic cloves (sliced thin)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Dressing of your choice.  Note, I used a balsamic vinaigrette (easy to make, I haven’t bought salad dressing in over 15 years).
  • To make this a main dish salad, as I did top it with your favorite protein. I made this salad with maple roasted pork tenderloin.
Fennel, eggplant, zucchini & carrots (for my oldest).
As usual, 1 cutting board of cutting! Fennel, eggplant, zucchini & carrots (for my oldest).

Steps to put this on your table:

  1. Saute the eggplant, seasoned with salt and pepper to your taste, in a small amount of olive oil (or other vegetable oil) over medium to medium high heat for about 5 – 6 minutes, until it’s softer no longer quite so opaque yet is still ‘firm’ and chewy (not mushy).
  2. Add the fennel and garlic (if using) sauté for another 1 or 2 minutes.
  3. Top the spinach leaves with the warm eggplant, fennel mixture.  Serve the eggplant and/or fennel as appropriate on your children’s plates (separately).
  4. Add the balsamic or other dressing of your choice.
  5. Enjoy!

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