Have you ever heard of a rahib salad or salatet el raheb before then?
I ran into this delicious cold roasted vegetable salad a while ago. The hubs and I were on a last minute vacation. That was at the Hyatt resort in Taba, Egypt. It is a lovely place to do some snorkeling.
We had a blast!
The hotel wasn’t even half full.
Egypt has struggled for the last decade to attract tourists and visitors. Mainly because of a couple of extremist attacks and turbulent government changes. But nevertheless, even with rooms less than half booked, the kitchen staff still did a pretty good effort to provide a fresh and varied buffet choice every day anyway.
So much so that you really didn’t notice that they were catering for a smaller group. What an amazing job the kitchen staff did. The freshest ingredients, lots of choice, beautiful presentation. We felt like kings.
This roasted eggplant salad was always part of the lunch buffet for instance.
Gosh I loved it. I put it on my plate every single afternoon. But I had honestly never heard of this rahib salad it before. So I wrote down the name that was on the little label next to that huge ceramic bowl. And also the ingredients that I could taste in it.
So that I would be able to make it again at home.
Rahib Salad (Roasted Eggplant Salad)
And so I did.
Ever since I made this rahib salad numerous times. And my vegetarian friends are raving mad about it. And you can’t disagree with them. Because this Eastern style roasted eggplant salad is a surprising veggie treat!
It is also a very popular recipe here on my food blog.
Is it because it just looks and sounds great? Or because there are very little recipes online for this rahib salad.
Both could be the reason why I guess.
Apparently this salad also goes by the name of Monk’s salad. And even if I tasted it for the very first time in Egypt, apparently this roasted eggplant salad is also a Lebanese recipe.
Which is not a surprise. Lots of dishes in Eastern cuisine pop up in numerous Eastern countries of course. Whether you are in Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia. Just think of the classic chickpea hummus for instance.
Impossible to know for sure in how many Eastern cuisines this classic dish is very popular.
Or tabbouleh to name just another one.
I truly love this rahib salad.
Just because I see it also as a delicious alternative for the classic eggplant baba ganoush that you also know very well. Roasted eggplant is also a main ingredient here. But instead of blending it all into a smooth paste with yogurt, you just need to chop up the roasted eggplant.
And then you add the freshly chopped tomato, mint, cilantro and onions to it. Give it all a good stir, season, add olive oil. I think I like the crunch of the chopped onion the most here.
Some recipes also use red and green bell peppers.
Whatever you do, just don’t forget the lemon juice here. That’s an important finishing touch for this rahib salad. It really makes or breaks this dish.
You can serve this fresh and easy rahib eggplant salad as a healthy lunch salad with bread or as a veggie appetizer dip with tortilla crisps, crackers or pita bread.
Rahib Salad Recipe
- 1 large fresh eggplant
- 1 medium fresh tomato
- 2 tbsp onion
- a handful fresh cilantro chopped
- a handful fresh mint chopped
- ½ tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- garlic powder
- ⅓ tsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
- 5 tbsp olive oil
1. Wrap the eggplant in tinfoil and place it on an oven rack.
2. Roast the eggplant in a preheated oven at 400°F (200°C) for 45 minutes. Once done, turn the oven off but let the eggplant inside for another 45 minutes until it's super smooth soft.
3. Remove the tinfoil and slice the soft eggplant in half lengthwise. Remove any tough seeds on the inside if necessary and discard them.
4. Then dice the eggplant up finely and add it to a bowl.
5. Also dice the tomato finely and add it to the eggplant.
6. Give it a good stir. Add the chopped onion, lemon juice (or vinegar), ground coriander and ground cumin. Season with a pinch of pepper, salt and garlic powder.
7. Stir well again. Drizzle with the olive oil. Also add the caster sugar and chopped cilantro and mint.
8. Stir the rahib salad well. Keep it somewhere between mushy and chunky. Then check the seasoning and add extra pepper, salt, garlic powder, cumin, coriander or lemon juice to taste.
9. Put the rahib salad in the fridge for another 15 minutes to chill. Serve with tortilla crisps, crackers or pita bread.