Kitchn Love Letters

The Creamy, Crave-Worthy Dressing That Makes Any Salad a Star

published Oct 7, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Amelia Rampe

I used to really dislike eggplant, but in the past few years I’ve found I really love Middle Eastern-style charred eggplant dips. Over the summer, when some of my favorite restaurants were temporarily shut down, I made it my personal goal to start charring eggplant on the grill to make these dips at home. It never occurred to me that the dip could also be a salad dressing.

I was introduced to this concept via the cookbook Falastin by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley, which boasts a salad with charred eggplant yogurt dressing on its cover. In addition to being beautiful, this recipe has so elements that make for a crave-worthy salad: crisp baby gem lettuce, cool and herbaceous smashed cucumbers, a little heat from the shatta (a fiery condiment made from red or green chiles), and, of course, the hearty, smoky eggplant yogurt. I knew I had to try it.

Credit: Amelia Rampe
Falastin spread

A Salad Dressing That Steals the Show

I loved everything about this salad, but the eggplant yogurt dressing is what really stood out. To make it, you’ll char two large eggplants, scoop out the flesh, and combine it in a food processor with Greek yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, and salt. Process until smooth.

The rest of the salad comes together quickly. Lightly smack English cucumbers and marinate them in an herb sauce made with parsley, mint, garlic, and olive oil. Arrange lettuces on a plate, season with salt and pepper, and splatter the greens with the eggplant yogurt. Spoon over the cucumber mixture, drizzle with shatta, and season with my favorite chile flake, urfa bibir. Although the book includes a recipe for shatta, it also mentions using harissa as a substitute, which is what I did. (I was making six recipes from the book at once, and was happy to have a shortcut.)

Even amidst several other dishes on the table, this salad was clearly the main event. More importantly, I now have a salad dressing in my back pocket for instantly amping up anything I’m serving, from simple mixed greens to roasted veggies. I hope you give it a try.

At Kitchn, our editors develop and debut brand-new recipes on the site every single week. But at home, we also have our own tried-and-true dishes that we make over and over again — because quite simply? We love them. Kitchn Love Letters is a series that shares our favorite, over-and-over recipes.