Thai Eggplant Salad with Coconut Tofu Strips

Recipe courtesy of Mollie Katzen/Harvard University Dining Services

Serves 4

  • Oil or nonstick spray for the roasting trayEggplant (eggplant-on-cutting-board.jpg)
  • 1½ pounds eggplant, peeled only if necessary, and cut into 1½ inch cubes
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ pound Persian cucumber (or another tasty, sweet variety), peeled only if necessary, and cut into small dice
  • 1 small, sweet bell pepper (orange or purple are especially nice), diced
  • Cherry tomatoes (optional), cut in half if large
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • Touch of lime zest (optional)
  • Coconut-lime vinaigrette (see recipe below)
  • Coconut tofu strips (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a roasting or baking tray with foil, and slick very lightly with oil or add a light coating of nonstick spray.

Spread out the eggplant cubes in a single layer, and roast until very tender (about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on their size).

Meanwhile, spread out ¼ cup of the vinaigrette in a shallow dish.

When the eggplant is done, salt it lightly, and transfer to the dish, swishing it gently into the vinaigrette. Toss lightly, adding another 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette as you go.

When it cools to room temperature, add the cucumber, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes (if using), and some red pepper flakes to taste. (You can also add some grated lime zest for more zing.)

Let it sit to marinate for at least another 10 minutes, and as long as a day, covered and refrigerated.

Serve at room temperature or cooled, topped with coconut tofu strips.

For coconut-lime vinaigrette

  • ½ to 1 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons reduced fat coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons agave nectar or sugar
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil (grapeseed oil or olive oil are good choices)

Combine the garlic, lime juice, coconut milk, salt, and sweetener in a bowl or jar with a lid. Whisk until combined, and then keep whisking as you drizzle in the oil to form an emulsion. When all the oil is incorporated set aside. If you are making this well in advance, cover and refrigerate, then bring to room temperature before using.

For coconut tofu strips

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces very firm tofu, cut into strips
  • Dash or two of salt (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar (optional)

Place a medium-sized skillet over medium heat and wait 1 minute. Add the oil, and swirl to coat the pan.

Toss in the tofu strips with a dash or two of salt, and stir-fry (or “toss-fry”) until heated through and beginning to get crispy. Sprinkle in the coconut, and if you like it a touch sweet, some sugar, and continue to cook and toss until the coconut is lightly golden and heavily aromatic.

Serve at any temperature, sprinkled on your favorite rice or vegetable dish with compatible flavors.

Try these other vegetarian recipes from Mollie Katzen and Harvard University Dining Services:

Nutritional information per serving (1/4 of recipe*): 

Calories: 350 ⁄ Protein: 8 g ⁄ Carbohydrate: 18 g ⁄ Fiber: 8 g
Sodium: 460 mg Saturated fat: 7 g ⁄ Polyunsaturated fat: 2 g
Monounsaturated fat: 18 g Trans fat: 0 g ⁄ Cholesterol: 0 mg

*Analysis assumes that optional salt is used and that recipe includes all of the coconut-lime vinaigrette.

Terms of Use

The aim of the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source is to provide timely information on diet and nutrition for clinicians, allied health professionals, and the public. The contents of this Web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Web site. The information does not mention brand names, nor does it endorse any particular products.