Spicy Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Salad
This Spicy Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Salad has amazing Thai-inspired flavors, and I’m always saying give grilled eggplant a chance!
I’m hoping this amazing Spicy Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Salad might convince some eggplant-reluctant people to try grilled eggplant! Recently I made this very tasty grilled eggplant and zucchini salad with my nephew Jake. We both loved the Thai flavors in the dressing, and absolutely devoured the salad, with both of us loving the grilled eggplant with slightly charred skin.
Then over the next couple of days I told various people about this new favorite salad, and one after the other they told me “I don’t like eggplant.” And I patiently explained to each person how I never liked eggplant either, until I tried grilled eggplant.
So if you like Thai flavors, I’m urging you to be adventurous and give grilled eggplant a chance. Of course you could make the salad with all zucchini if you insist, but Jake and I both thought the grilled eggplant was so spectacular in this that next time I’d probably skip the zucchini and use all eggplant. And if you’re a vegetable fan, this Spicy Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Salad with Thai Flavors was slightly adapted from one I found in Vegetables Every Day (affiliate link), a book I’ve used over and over for interesting ways to cook vegetables.
What ingredients do you need for this recipe?
- Japanese eggplant or Asian eggplant
- Peanut Oil (affiliate link)
- salt and fresh ground black pepper for seasoning vegetables
- green onions
- chopped fresh herbs (preferably cilantro, mint, or Thai basil)
- chopped peanuts
- fresh-squeezed lime juice, I used my fresh-frozen lime juice
- fish sauce, preferably Red Boat Fish Sauce (affiliate link)
- Sriracha Sauce (affiliate link) or other Asian hot sauce
- Golden Monkfruit Sweetener (affiliate link) or sweetener of your choice
What variety of Eggplant is best for grilled Eggplant?
There are lots of different types of eggplant. I used the long skinny Japanese Eggplant from my garden for this, and I always love using some kind of Asian Eggplant for grilling, since they work so well on the grill. This type of eggplant variety doesn’t need to be peeled or salted before cooking, and they’re also great for stir-fried dishes with eggplant.
What gives this recipe spicy Thai flavors?
The interesting dressing for this salad has fresh lime juice, fish sauce (or Vegetarian Fish Sauce), Sriracha Sauce, and Golden Monkfruit Sweetener to give it the sweet-sour-spicy-hot combination that makes Thai food so great!
How can you make this a vegetarian salad?
Just use Vegetarian Fish Sauce, (affiliate link) if you want to make this a meatless salad.
Cooking the vegetables for Spicy Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Salad:
(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)
- Cut off the ends of the eggplant and zucchini, then cut into lengthwise pieces.
- Brush all sides with peanut or grapeseed oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Lay the eggplant and zucchini on a preheated and well-used grill.
- I wanted to get grill marks on two sides, so I put a flat side down and then watched for grill marks to appear. When the first side had nice grill marks, we flipped the veggies to the other flat side.
- After 15 minutes the eggplant was all nicely charred, but we left the zucchini on for another 5 minutes. You also might cut the zucchini a little thinner than the eggplant.
- Let zucchini and eggplant pieces cool on a cutting board.
Finishing the Spicy Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Salad:
- While the vegetables cooled, I mixed the spicy and colorful dressing.
- When the vegetables were cool, I cut them crosswise into strips and put them in a bowl to marinate in a couple of tablespoons of the dressing. (Sorry, forgot to take a photo of that step.)
- Chop the cilantro and slice the green onions. (If you’re a cilantro hater I would use mint or Thai basil, or just a bit more green onion.)
- Mix in the green onions and cilantro with the marinating veggies, adding a bit more dressing. (You might won’t need all the dressing.)
- I served extra dressing on the side to dip pieces of eggplant or zucchini into.)
- Top each serving of salad with a couple of spoonfuls of chopped peanuts and serve.
More Tasty Ways to Give Eggplant a Chance:
Spicy Grilled Eggplant from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Sichuan Eggplant from Appetite for China
Grilled Eggplant with Feta and Herbs from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Slow Cooker Punjabi Eggplant with Potatoes from The Perfect Pantry
Garlic-Lover’s Vegetable Stir Fry from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Low-Cal Hmong Spicy Eggplant from Viet World Kitchen
- 1 lbs. Japanese eggplant, ends trimmed and cut lengthwise
- 3 medium zucchini, ends trimmed and cut into lengthwise strips (I cut the zucchini into sixths lengthwise)
- (see notes for other options)
- 2 tsp. peanut oil for brushing vegetables and grill (see notes)
- salt and fresh ground black pepper for seasoning vegetables
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup (or more) chopped fresh herbs (see notes)
- 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
- 3 T fresh lime juice
- 1 T + 1 tsp. fish sauce (See Notes for Vegetarian option)
- 2 tsp. Sriracha Sauce (or less; this was spicy but not unbearable for me)
- 1 tsp. Golden Monkfruit Sweetener or sweetener of your choice
- 2 tsp. peanut oil
- Brush grill grates with grapeseed or peanut oil, then preheat grill to medium-high. (You can only hold your hand there for a couple of seconds at that heat.)
- Wash and dry eggplant and zucchini, trim ends, and cut into lengthwise strips.
- Brush vegetables with oil and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
- Lay strips on the hot grill, flesh side down and cook about 5-7 minutes or until grill marks appear.
- Turn vegetables and cook until that side has nice grill marks, about 5-7 minutes more.
- Zucchini may take slightly longer than eggplant, but grill all vegetables until they are nicely charred and cooked through.
- As they are done remove the vegetables to a cutting board and let them cool to room temperature.
- While veggies cool, whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, Sriracha Sauce (affiliate link), sweetener of your choice, and oil.
- When vegetables have cooled, cut them into short crosswise pieces.
- Toss with a few tablespoons of the dressing, and let them marinate while you finish prepping other ingredients.
- Slice the green onions into thin strips and chop the cilantro, mint, or Thai basil.
- Chop peanuts.
- Stir green onions and herbs into the salad and add more dressing until the salad is as wet as you’d like it. (You may not need all the dressing; save to use as a dipping sauce at the table.)
- Serve salad in individual bowls, topped with a few spoonfuls of chopped peanuts.
- This kept reasonably well overnight in the fridge, but it was best freshly made.
You can also make this salad with only zucchini or only eggplant if you prefer. I think the dressing would be good on many kinds of other grilled vegetables like peppers, onions, sweet potatoes, or winter squash.
We loved the salad with cilantro, but use cilantro, mint, or Thai basil, whichever you prefer. I like Red Boat Fish Sauce (affiliate link) for this recipe. I prefer Golden Monkfruit Sweetener (affiliate link), but use any no-calorie sweetener you prefer. I prefer Peanut Oil (affiliate link) for Asian recipes, but use the oil you prefer.
For strictly vegetarian, use Vegetarian Fish Sauce, (affiliate link) or just replace fish sauce with soy sauce or Coconut Aminos, whichever you prefer.
Recipe adapted from Vegetables Every Day (affiliate link).
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 111Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 326mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 3.8gSugar: 5gProtein: 3.6g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glyemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Using an approved sweetener makes this Eggplant and Zucchini Salad a perfect salad for any phase of the original South Beach Diet or any type of low-carb eating plan.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Eggplant Recipes or Salad Recipes to find more ideas like this one! Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This recipe was first posted in 2011, when I had Asian Eggplant in my garden. It was updated with more information in 2021.