The cherished moments of Easter, Christmas, and even ordinary Sunday lunches held a special place in our family’s traditions. These were occasions when the heart of our home, my beloved grandmother, would shine in all her culinary glory, weaving tales of love and togetherness through the art of cooking. It was during these beautiful gatherings that she would unveil her most treasured recipes, dishes that transcended generations and filled our souls with warmth.

One such culinary masterpiece was her Romanian Eggplant Salad. This delightful creation held a permanent spot on the grand Easter and Christmas spreads that graced our dining table. As we gathered with eager hearts and empty stomachs, the anticipation of savouring this exquisite salad would fill the room.

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For my grandmother, each dish was a canvas, and her ingredients were strokes of love. The Eggplant Salad was no exception. She began by roasting the eggplants until their skins were gently wrinkled, their tender flesh infused with a smoky aroma. Carefully peeling away the charred exterior, she revealed the velvety heart of the eggplants, which she chopped and allowed to drain, ensuring the perfect texture.

Then, in a bowl, she mixed the eggplant with minced garlic, finely chopped onion, and fresh parsley, creating a symphony of flavours and textures. But the secret to making this salad truly extraordinary lay in her homemade mayo, a creamy masterpiece she crafted with love and expertise. With its rich, velvety texture, her mayo bound the salad ingredients together in perfect harmony.

The Romanian Eggplant Salad, adorned with a fragrant homemade mayo, was not just a side dish; it was a work of art that reflected her dedication to preserving the culinary traditions of our family and our homeland. It was a tribute to the rich tapestry of Romanian flavours, an ode to the gatherings that brought our family closer, and a testament to the enduring love she showered upon us.

Whether it was a grand Easter or Christmas feast, or a simple Sunday lunch, this salad had a place of honor on the table. As we partook of its creamy, smoky goodness, we could taste the history and the love that my grandmother had poured into every bite. It was a dish that transcended seasons and occasions, and like the memories it created, it became a treasure passed down through the generations.

So, as we approach these special times, I invite you to bring a touch of tradition and warmth to your own gatherings with my grandmother’s Romanian Eggplant Salad. Serve it with love, alongside the stories and memories it carries, and make every meal a celebration of the heart.

Traditional Romanian Eggplant Salad (Salata de Vinete)

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes


For the Eggplant Salad:

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Homemade mayo see recipe below

For the Homemade Mayo:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon classic American mustard
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste



    Homemade Mayo:

    • In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and classic American mustard.
    • Slowly add the vegetable oil while whisking continuously to create an emulsion. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens.
    • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Eggplant Salad:

    • Preheat your oven to 200°C (392°F).
    • Wash the eggplants and prick them a few times with a fork. This will help release steam during baking.
    • Place the eggplants on a baking sheet and roast them in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until the skin is wrinkled, and the flesh is soft. You can also grill the eggplants for a smoky flavor.
    • Remove the eggplants from the oven and let them cool for a while. Once they are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and discard it.
    • Chop the eggplant flesh finely and place it in a colander to drain any excess liquid.
    • In a bowl, mix the chopped eggplant with finely chopped onion and fresh parsley.
    • Add homemade mayo to the eggplant mixture, starting with a few tablespoons and adding more to reach your desired level of creaminess. Mix well to combine.
    • Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste.
    • Cover the bowl and refrigerate the eggplant salad for at least an hour before serving. This allows the flavors to meld.
    • Serve the Romanian Eggplant Salad as a side dish or spread on bread, crackers, or pita. It’s a delicious and creamy appetizer, perfect for gatherings and parties.