I made this dish for lunch with friends and served it with hummus, tahini and burnt peppers and everybody loved it, except for my son, Leo, who doesn’t know yet how much he loves eggplants. Alex, my younger son, who won’t try baba ganoush didn’t mind the eggplants. So don’t veto this recipe before you try it. I know eggplants are scary and that it takes time to fall for them but when one does, one falls hard. Speaking from experience.
To make this burnt peppers mezze, first you have to burn extra peppers (Recipe below). Then Instead of dicing them, cut them into lengthwise strips and put in a deep plate. Drizzle generously olive oil and salt, and add chopped scallion, or any herb of your choice.
Smoky butternut squash, eggplant & bell pepper salad
- ¼ cup avocado or vegetable oil
- ½ butternut squash - peeled and diced, about 2 cups
- 1 medium eggplant - diced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 red bell pepper*
- Coarse salt
- 3 sprigs scallion - chopped
- Olive oil
- 1 heaping teaspoon harissa - homemade or store bought
- Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
- Put the butternut squash and eggplant dice on a baking tray. Pour over the avocado oil, sprinkle salt and paprika and toss to coat the veggies in the oil. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping occasionally, until the veggies are tender and have golden spots.
- *Now, you can burn the pepper over the stove or electric stove, which gives it a burnt smoky flavor, or dice it and bake it with the butternut and eggplant. It’s more effort to burn but more flavorful. Put the pepper over the flame and burn until the skin is black, flip and burn until the pepper is black. Remove from the fire and soak it immediately in cold water for 15 seconds. Remove and peel the burnt skin with wet hands (I fill the same bowl I used with water to dip my fingers when I peel).
- Cut the stem off, remove the seeds, then dice the pepper.
- Put the butternut squash and eggplant in a medium bowl, add the diced pepper and the rest of the ingredients, and mix. Taste and add salt if necessary. Serve as a mezze or side.