Dorm-Friendly Roasted Japanese Eggplant Salad (healthy, vegan + gluten free)

With the close of the fall quarter, I’ve been guilty of eating the same meals every single day. It is nearing Thanksgiving and I’ve pretty much abstained from sweet potatoes for two days out of the fifty-eight days in college. Yes. TWO. But then again, sweet potatoes are just so darn amazing. Apologies to the Instagram followers who are getting increasingly sick of my sweet tater photos–they’re not going to stop anytime soon!

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetAnyways, another foodie obsession I’ve resurrected over the quarter is my love for Japanese eggplants. They are just so versatile, warming, comforting and satisfying as a vegetable. But my obsession with eggplants has its limits. I’m not going to pay an extra $2 for three measly slices of Japanese eggplant in my Thai pumpkin coconut curry. While I can say that my foodie obsessions have limits (yes, even to sweet potatoes), my stinginess has NONE. I’m dead serious.

Now that my local farmer’s market sells Japanese eggplants, I’ve found that I’ve been roasting them in my apartment kitchen at least every other week! Whether I add them to chickpea pasta, Thai takeout or salads, I never fail to enjoy them. Now, I am absolutely thrilled to share this recipe with all of you because it’s become one of my favorite kitchen staples to make now that I’m out of Banza pasta and edamame spaghetti! It’s been nice, bean pasta, but sometimes with the transition of a new quarter comes the need for change. Salad dinners it is!

Why I love this Japanese eggplant salad is that it is completely dorm and college apartment-friendly because you only need four ingredients (not including optional ingredients), and you cook yourself a lunch or dinner that will last you for plenty of the week. Unlike most meal prep plans, you’re not going to spray chicken and olive oil all over the place, so it’s completely mess-free too!

Well, unless you spill your dressing all over the floor. This scenario hasn’t happened yet for me, BUT I have dropped a tomato sauce glass jar before. NOT going into depth with that!

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

RECIPE (serves 3-4)

  • 4 cups of thick slices of Japanese eggplants; about 2-3 Japanese eggplants
  • 1 packet of Trader Joe’s Chickenless strips; can also substitute for any vegan protein or meat if not vegan, or even omit completely if desired
  • 6 cups of greens of choice; I used spinach
  • 4-5 cups of vegetables of choice; I used mushrooms, bell peppers and red onions
  • Dressing of choice; I used a vegan teriyaki sauce
  • Opt: almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pecans, avocado, peaches, figs, vegan or regular cheese, seasoning, etc.

PROCEDURE (eggplants)

  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rinse the eggplants and scrub the water off each eggplant thoroughly.
  3. Slice each eggplant in relatively evenly-sized pieces.
  4. Line a baking tray with parchment paper, nonstick aluminum foil or a Silpat sheet, and bake the eggplants for 25-30 minutes.
    1. If you do NOT have a baking tray, just substitute the tray by layering one or two large blankets of aluminum foil as a surface. Make sure you cover the eggplants with ANOTHER sheet of foil!


  1. In a large mixing bowl, assemble all major ingredients minus the dressing.
  2. When the ingredients are evenly combined, add the dressing either with the rest of the salad or separately with a single serving of the salad.

Would you pay an extra $2 for a small piece of your favorite food to be added to your dish? What was your biggest kitchen fiasco?


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