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(RECIPE) Mediterranean Eggplant + Cucumber Salad w/ Tahini

This is a dish I came across while shooting a tv commercial in Turkey. It was dead of summer and we had a lovely outdoor bbq for lunch (lucky!). The usual suspects were there: meat kabobs, Turkish breads and dips, olives, grilled vegetables and a multitude of salads. One that I found quite unusual and extremely delicious was a  hot  baked eggplant and cold cucumber and tomato layered salad with a creamy garlicky yogurt dressing. I substituted Tahini for the yogurt keeping it Vegan and full of Vitamin E, Copper and manganese  from the sesame seeds. I actually think it even enhances the flavor.

I also like the fresh parsley in this dish. Parsley is so full of flavor and so good for you, its quite sad that it usually ends up on the side of a serving dish. With Vitamins K & C, Parsley is a great way to add freshness, flavor and healthy vitamins to a meal.

This was originally served as a side dish- but this will be the star of the show on any table, theres just too much going on to keep it in the background!


1 cup diced eggplant

1 cup diced potatoes with skins on

½ cup chopped cherry tomatoes

½ cup diced cucumber

½ of chopped parsley

juice of half a lemon

drizzle of good olive oil

pinch of dried Turkish oregano


sprinkle of Zatar  (middle eastern spice)

For the dressing:

2 tbsp of tahini (hulled)

½ lemon juiced

4 tbsp of water

1 clove of finely chopped garlic

Simply cut up the potato and eggplant, toss in a little olive oil and dried oregano and bake until tender, about 20mins on 350 degrees. While the veggies are cooking cut the cucumber and tomatoes into small 1 inch pieces, I keep the skin of the cucumber on for maximum health benefits. Toss together with the chopped parsley and drizzle with olive oil and salt & pepper. For the dressing, mince the garlic really well and add to the tahini along with the lemon juice and water, stir well.

Add the hot eggplant and potatoes to a dish and top with the cold mixture, drizzle the dressing and pinch of Z'atar on top. Serve right away to experience the hot and cold temperatures of the different vegetables.

Kelly O’Dell is a fashion model, healthy chef and nutrition councilor. She started cooking with whole foods, mostly vegetables, 11 years ago after working in the fashion industry for more than 20 years. She has seen it all when it comes to models and diets, and sadly it hasn’t been pretty. With her website www.kellyinthekitchen.com she wants to show not only models but everyone, that it is possible to  look and feel healthy and beautiful  without sacrificing delicious tasting food. Kelly lives in New York City, you can follow her @thekellyodell on Instagram or visit www.kellyinthekitchen.com for recipes, catering and private counseling sessions.

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