grilled eggplant and almond kale pesto pasta salad

When you combine grilled eggplant with pesto, artichokes, and the mild fresh bite of some ricotta salata, you are bound to end up with some bold yet balanced flavors. Being married to an eggplant lover, I have learned to find ways to love eggplant myself. Besides having it as baingan bhartha (made by mom) I never liked eggplant. Recently though, I’ve been growing to love it- grilled, sauteed, baked and yes, even pureed as baba ghanoush.

This pasta salad is anything but boring. Bring it to your next bbq party as an impressive side or vegetarian entree.

recipe adapted from smitten kitchen 

for the pesto:

3/4 cups of raw almonds

2-3 handfuls of kale

3/4 cup parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

enough olive oil until consistency is smooth

2 cloves garlic

for the pasta:

1/2 lb campanelle (or any fun short pasta you can find)

one grilled or oven baked eggplant

1 cup jarred artichoke hearts (chopped)

1 cup ricotta salata crumbled

dried thyme and dried basil (1/2 tsp each)

To make:

Grill (or bake) eggplant and chop. Boil pasta and add the pesto to it while it’s still hot. Then add the remaining ingredients and gently combine. Season as necessary and enjoy at room temperature or cooled.


Note- any leftover grilled pasta slices can be used as a sandwich with maybe fresh mozzarella, tomato and some of that pesto…yummm