Easy Eggplant Salad Recipe – Ensaladang Talong Just Like Home

Image source - Pexels.com

#Eggplant Salad: Your New Favourite Vegetarian Side Dish

It’s eggplant season here on my small island, and we’re looking for ways of using this vegetable more. One of my favorites is ensaladang talong or eggplant salad. Eggplants grow so well in our climate and my father always jokes that we;; be turning into eggplants if we eat more of them. But nevertheless, it’s the perfect side dish and also makes a delicious meatless meal.

Eggplant salad is one of those versatile Filipino dishes you can find in almost any Filipino household. The best part is how simple it is to make. While cities have access to all kinds of ingredients, here on the island we have to get creative with what’s in season. That’s where eggplant really shines – it’s such an abundant crop here and works wonderfully in this salad.

However, there’s always debate in the Filipino community about whether the eggplant should be boiled or grilled before making the salad.

Personally, I’m team grill all the way. Now, I know boiling is simpler and you don’t have to stand over a hot stove. But grilling brings out the smokier, slightly charred flavors in the eggplant that just elevate the dish to a whole new level.

The process is a bit more involved but well worth the extra few minutes of work, in my opinion. Here’s how I like to grill my eggplants for this salad:

  1. Prick eggplants all over with a fork. This allows steam to escape and prevents bursting.
  2. Grill over an open flame or under the broiler, turning frequently, until charred and very soft. This can take 15-20 minutes depending on size.
  3. Once blackened and collapsed, remove from heat. Let cool and remove the charred skin. Slice in half lengthwise and scoop out the soft insides.
  4. Dice the grilled eggplant flesh and proceed with the rest of the recipe as usual.

The smoky char gives the eggplant such intense flavor that pairs beautifully with the acidity of the tomatoes and vinegar. Boiled eggplant just can’t compare in my view.

Of course, boiling is more hands-off if you’re short on time. Just don’t skip salting the eggplant first to draw out any bitterness. To do this, you have to wash and slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds. Place in a colander and sprinkle generously with salt. Let sit for 30 minutes to draw out the bitterness. After 30 minutes, rinse the eggplant slices under cold water and drain well, pressing gently to remove excess moisture. Boil until soft.

Anyway, either method works, but one bite of grilled ensaladang talong and I think you’ll be convinced!

To make ensaladang talong, you’ll need:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 small onion
  • Salt
  • Vinegar (you can use rice, coconut or white vinegar)

Here are the simple steps:

  1. Prepare the eggplant by either grilling or boiling.
  2. Remove the charred skin and stem, then ash the soft insides gently with a fork and set aside.
  3. Slice the tomato into wedges and thinly slice the onion. Place in a large bowl. Add salt.
  4. Drizzle with vinegar. I like to start with a 1/4 cup. You can adjust to taste – I tend to go heavier on the vinegar since I like the bright tangy flavor it gives.
  5. Toss gently to coat all the vegetables evenly. Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to blend.
  6. Serve chilled as a refreshing side.

The best part is it tastes great no matter the season. In the heat of summer, it’s the perfect cold dish. Come colder months, the flavors intensify and it almost takes on a warm salad vibe. The natural sweetness of eggplant also balances the acidity from the vinegar wonderfully without being too sharp.

A few tips for the best ensaladang talong:

  • Use Asian eggplants if you can find them. They tend to be less bitter.
  • Go heavy on salting the eggplant. This is key to drawing out any bitterness.
  • Let it marinate at least 30 minutes before serving so the flavors meld together. Overnight is even better if you have time.
  • Adjust the vinegar to your taste. I like a bright tang so tend to use more than recipes usually call for.
  • Garnish with anything your heart desires – additional vegetables, crispy shallots, toasted nuts, fresh herbs like basil or mint. Get creative!

What’s your opinion — boiled or grilled eggplant for this salad? Share your thoughts in the comments below. I’m always happy to discuss favorite Filipino recipes from this island perspective.

So give this eggplant salad a try. It really couldn’t be easier to make and is such a refreshing change from the usual rice and meat meals. As a busy mom, I love having this on hand in the fridge for a quick healthy meal or side.

Let me know if you have any other questions! Leave a comment below or shoot me a message on my Facebook page Relax Lang Mom. As always, happy to help with Filipino recipes or parenting/life hacks from this island lifestyle. Don’t forget to sign up for my monthly newsletter for more easy Filipino recipes and relaxation tips.

Related articles

You may also be interested in

New updates right into your inbox.


Never Miss A Story

Get our Weekly recap with the latest news, articles and resources.
Cookie policy
We use our own and third party cookies to allow us to understand how the site is used and to support our marketing campaigns.