This flavorful Thai Grilled Eggplant Salad is simple, light, and refreshing with a tangy, umami dressing made from fresh lime juice and fish sauce. Healthy and tasty, this Thai Salad comes together in 35 minutes! (Vegan-adaptable) Serve it with jasmine rice and make it a meal.
Here’s a delicious recipe for Thai grilled eggplant salad made with grilled eggplant, red onion, red bell pepper, jalapeños, cilantro, green onion, and fresh mint, seasoned with fish sauce and lime juice. It’s tangy and refreshing with a good umami flavor from the fish sauce.
Traditional Thai Eggplant Salad is served with boiled eggs on the side and typically includes ground pork and dried shrimp for the extra meaty flavors- but today we’ve intentionally left out the meat for a lighter version.
Still, this recipe is flexible, can be adjusted as you please (see recipe notes), and uses fresh herbs for extra flavors!
Ways to serve Thai Grilled Eggplant Salad
Ingredients in Thai Grilled Eggplant Salad
- Purple eggplant. Long Japanese or Chinese eggplant work best here, or sub other purple eggplant. Some may need to have the skin peeled off after grilling.
- Red onion. Or sub shallot or white onion. Both will work great.
- Red Bell pepper. Bell peppers are a perfect addition to the salad. The sweetness and crunchiness add to the refreshing flavor of the salad.
- Jalapeño. Leave the seeds on for extra heat. You can also use banana or Serrano peppers.
- Cilantro. Fresh cilantro is a must herb for this recipe.
- Green onion. Use extra onion, shallot, and cilantro if you don’t have green onion.
- Mint. Many Thai salads use fresh mint leaves for the extra refreshing and minty flavors. It compliments the grilled Eggplants well for a refreshing flavor.
- Roasted Peanuts. Cashew, almonds, macadamia, or pistachio is perfect for the extra nutty, crunchy taste.
- Oil. You’ll need a very small amount of oil for brushing or spraying on the eggplant before grilling. It prevents the eggplants from sticking to the grill.
- Fish sauce. Not all fish sauce brands are created with the same level of saltiness. Start with 1 tablespoon or less and add more to adjust.
- Fresh lime juice. Best to use fresh lime juice for this recipe. Start with 1 tablespoon and adjust for more before serving.
- Optional ingredients for extra flavors. Ground white peppers, sliced fresh Thai chilis, Thai chili flakes, fresh serrano peppers, dried shrimp, ground meat, chicken, turkey, or pork.
How to make Thai grilled eggplant salad
Slice the eggplants in half (or slices) and brush both sides very lightly with oil. Grill on high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side. Let cool while preparing the salad.
Add all the remaining ingredients to a large mixing bowl, including the fish sauces and lime juice. Mix well.
Slice the eggplants into long strips, 3-4 inches long. You can peel some of the skin off the eggplants or leave them on. I left some of mine on.
Add the eggplants to the salad bowl, and mix them.
Taste and adjust with more lime juice, fish sauce, and chilis or white peppers for extra flavors.
Garnish with boiled eggs (traditional) and served with jasmine rice or by itself.
- Use a slight amount of oil to brush (or spray) on the eggplant before grilling.
- Use a timer for cooking the eggplants on high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side.
- The salad is best eaten fresh and not recommended for leftovers as the vegetables and herbs will get too mushy and lose their texture and taste.
- The traditional salad is served with boiled eggs. You can have it soft or hard-boiled, and this is purely optional.
- Serve the salad as a pre-dinner salad, side dish or light meal.
Can this be made Vegan?
Yes. Use vegan fish sauce instead of the regular fish sauce.
Ways to Adapt
- Add ground meat, shrimp, or firm, crispy tofu for extra meatiness. Simply brown the ground meat (1/4 pound) in a small skillet, season with salt, and add to the salad.
- You can also use a broiler for cooking the eggplant. Brush some oil and broil for 10 minutes, 4-5 minutes on each side or until eggplant is tender and translucent.
Ways to elevate
- Use dried shrimp for the traditional and umami flavor. Soak the dried shrimp in water for 6-7 minutes, drain, chop and add the shrimp to the salad.
- Toast the nuts in a small skillet to add a nutty flavor to the salad. This step will add an extra depth to your grilled eggplant salad!
More Thai recipes you may enjoy
I hope you enjoy this recipe! I truly love sharing what I know about making tasty Thai food and bringing a little bit of my Thai culture to your kitchen. Food is a huge part of Thai culture, and we truly believe that sharing and eating food with others makes life so much better. I hope this recipe brings great delight to your heart and home!