Home MealsAppetizers Romanian Roasted Aubergine or Eggplant Salad – Vinete

Romanian Roasted Aubergine or Eggplant Salad – Vinete

by Adina 03/07/2017 29 comments

roasted eggplant salad vinete

 

Vinete recipe for the traditional Romanian eggplant salad or spread, made with roasted eggplants, mayonnaise or oil.

 

Vinete or roasted eggplant dip or spread is probably the most common thing to eat in Romanian during summer.

 

eggplant salad vinete Romanian Roasted Aubergine or Eggplant Salad   Vinete

 

ROASTED EGGPLANT SALAD

Here you have it: an updated post for the vinete recipe or eggplant salad describing in detail each method of grilling eggplants, roasting eggplants on the stove top or baking eggplants in the oven.

And using those wonderfully roasted eggplants or aubergines to make the most delicious Romanian roasted eggplant or aubergine salad, dressed with mayonnaise and garlic or with sunflower oil and onions.

This eggplant salad is one of the most cooked and eaten Romanian appetizer recipes. It is absolutely great and I’ve been eating all my life, there is just one thing I cannot really understand.

Why is this the only thing Romanians ever cook with eggplants? I mean, it is really delicious, it is cheap and easy to make, but still… eggplants are so great and so versatile… since having learned how to cook I’ve been eating eggplants cooked in about a hundred ways and a lot of these ways tasted at least just as good as this roasted eggplant salad.

Or maybe it was just my grandmother who did not know or care to know about another way of cooking eggplants? I think that might be it…

There is only just one another dish I remember my grandma ever cooking with eggplants, eggplant slices fried in a lot of oil and then smothered in a “dangerous” garlic sauce (mujdei) made with water and oil and about one whole head of garlic. It tasted great, but I don’t think she made this more than 5 times in my whole childhood and teenage years.

It was only roasted eggplant or aubergine salad – vinete either with oil or with mayonnaise. And either with onions or with garlic in it. I preferred the garlic – mayonnaise version, but the onion – oil version was good as well.

In summer we ate this at least once a week. And in winter at least once a month. In September my grandmother would buy a mountain of eggplants, roast them, chop them and freeze them. I think freezing bags with eggplants were the only things that you would sometimes find in our freezer. This was definitely the main reason why my grandma ever bought a freezer, I’m sure.

I don’t make roasted eggplant salad or spread quite as often now (in Germany you just don’t get the same wonderful eggplants you get in Romania) but I do make this regularly.

 

eggplant salad romanian Romanian Roasted Aubergine or Eggplant Salad   Vinete

 

HOW TO ROAST, GRILL OR BAKE EGGPLANTS?

There are three methods of cooking your eggplants in order to make the eggplant salad. I have used them all and they all work, whatever you decide to use depends on your possibilities and mood. However, all three methods have an effect on the taste of the eggplant salad.

Grilling the eggplants on the grill/barbecue:

  • This is the traditional Romanian way of cooking the eggplants for the salad. You make a fire, always wood in Romania, and grill the pierced eggplants turning them regularly until all the skin is burnt. The temperature of the grill should be about medium low to low, don’t let it get too hot or the outside of the eggplants will burn before the inside is cooked.
  • Depending on their size, you should grill the eggplants somewhere between 20 to 40 minus or until the skin is evenly charred and the eggplant collapses, the flesh should be really soft.
  • The eggplant salad made with grilled aubergines will taste really smoky and so delicious!

Roasting the eggplants on the stove top:

  • This is the method my grandmother used all the time. We lived in a flat, so we didn’t have the possibility of grilling the eggplants on the grill like my aunt did.
  • Lay some tin foil around the burners of the stove top to make sure that the liquid released by the eggplants won’t cause too much of a mess. Prick the eggplants with a fork several times and lay them directly on the flame of the burners.
  • Turn regularly with a pair of tongs making sure that the skin is burnt on all sides. Cook until the skin is evenly charred and the flesh of the eggplants very soft.
  • I find this to be the quickest method of roasting eggplants, it only takes about 10-15 minutes for a medium eggplant, so if I use two or three of my burners, I am done in no time.
  • The taste of the eggplants roasted on the stove top is smoky as well, a bit milder than the grilled one, but still totally delicious.

 

eggplant salad roasted Romanian Roasted Aubergine or Eggplant Salad   Vinete

 

Baking the eggplants in the oven:

  • This is the most convenient method of cooking the eggplants for the salad. Place the eggplants on a baking tray lined with baking paper or tin foil and bake them in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes or until the flesh of the eggplants is very soft.
  • This is the ideal method for people who enjoy a milder taste for this salad, baked this way the eggplants will not be smoky, but mild and sweeter.

 

 

eggplant salad romanian vin Romanian Roasted Aubergine or Eggplant Salad   Vinete

 

HOW TO MAKE ROASTED EGGPLANT SALAD

  • After grilling, roasting or baking the eggplants let them cool, then carefully remove all the skin. Place the eggplants in a sieve and let drain for about half an hour to one hour.
  • Chop with a special wooden knife made especially for this purpose (if you are Romanian and have one, of course) or with a regular knife.
  • You could process the eggplants in the food processor, the salad will then have a mousse-like consistency, which is delicious but not very authentic. I prefer to chop the salad rather roughly, so that I have something to chew here and there, but the degree of chopping is totally up to you.

 

eggplant salad chopped Romanian Roasted Aubergine or Eggplant Salad   Vinete

 

HOW TO SERVE ROASTED EGGPLANT SALAD – VINETE:

Vinete with oil and onions:

  • The traditional way of dressing the eggplant salad or vinete, the way my grandmother always did it, was with sunflower oil and very finely chopped onions.
  • Don’t use olive oil, the salad will not be authentic anymore, traditionally we don’t use olive oil in Romania. My grandmother would always use sunflower oil, maybe one brand that is a bit milder in taste.

Vinete with mayonnaise:

  • However, since trying this salad dressed with homemade mayonnaise sometime in my teens, I must say that I do like the mayonnaise version better. And when making the salad with mayonnaise I always add 2 or 3 grated garlic cloves to it and leave out the onions.
  • I always use homemade mayonnaise, it is so easy to make and it tastes so much better than anything you could possibly buy.
  • Have a look at this method, it is genius and you will have the best mayonnaise ever in less than one minute. However, if you still don’t want to make your mayonnaise after seeing that, do use your favorite brand of mayonnaise.

In both cases serve the vinete or roasted eggplant or aubergine salad on fresh bread slices with tomato wedges and some feta cheese, if you like.

 

eggplant salad Romanian Roasted Aubergine or Eggplant Salad   Vinete

 

And now that you know all the methods there are of cooking aubergines for making things like this Romanian Eggplant Salad, have a look at these other amazing bread spreads made with grilled, roasted or baked eggplants:

 

Ajvar

Zacusca – The Best Vegetable Spread Ever

Baba Ganoush

 

eggplant salad 200x200 Romanian Roasted Aubergine or Eggplant Salad   Vinete

Romanian Roasted Aubergine or Eggplant Salad - Vinete

Yield: 10-12
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

The recipe for the traditional Romanian eggplant or aubergine salad or spread, made with roasted eggplants and mayonnaise or oil. 

Ingredients

  • 3 medium eggplants
  • parsley
  • bread and tomatoes to serve
  • Mayonnaise dressing:
  • 2-4 tablespoons homemade mayonnaise or your favorite brand, to taste
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, to taste
  • salt and pepper
  • Oil dressing:
  • 3-4 tablespoons sunflower oil, I prefer a milder sort
  • 1 small onion
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

Prepare the eggplants

See the post for a more detailed description of the cooking methods.

Grill method:

Grill the eggplants on a temperature medium low to low somewhere between 20 to 40 minutes or until the skin is evenly charred and the eggplant collapses, the flesh should be really soft.

Stove top method:

Lay some tin foil around the burners of the stove top to make sure that the liquid released by the eggplants won't cause too much of a mess. Prick the eggplants with a fork several times and lay them directly on the flame of the burners.

Turn regularly with a pair of tongs making sure that the skin is burnt on all sides. Cook until the skin is evenly charred and the flesh of the eggplants very soft. This should take about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the eggplants.

Oven method:

Place the eggplants on a baking tray lined with baking paper or tin foil and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes or until the flesh of the eggplants is very soft.

Roasted Eggplant Salad - Vinete:

After grilling, roasting or baking the eggplants let them cool, then carefully remove all the skin. Place the eggplants in a sieve and let drain for about half an hour to one hour.

Chop with a special wooden knife made especially for this purpose (if you are Romanian and have one of course) or with a regular knife. You could process the eggplants in the food processor, the salad will then have a mousse-like consistency, which is delicious but not very authentic. I prefer to chop the salad rather roughly, so that I have something to chew here and there.

Mayonnaise dressing:

Mix the chopped eggplants with 2-4 tablespoons mayonnaise, preferably homemade (to taste), add the grated garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Mix very well. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with bread and tomatoes.

Oil dressing:

Mix the chopped eggplants with the very finely chopped onion and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with bread and tomatoes.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 2-3 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 82 Total Fat: 4g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 90mg Carbohydrates: 13g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 5g Protein: 1g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
 

 

 

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29 comments

Chris Scheuer 04/07/2017 - 01:59

Yum! Sounds wonderful and you’ve given such detailed instructions! How could one go wrong? 🙂

Reply
Adina 04/07/2017 - 12:02

Thank you, Chris. 🙂

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Anca 04/07/2017 - 08:00

Yummy. It’s been a while since I made Aubergine salad. I don’t understand why Romanians don’t cook aubergine in other ways too. 🙂

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Adina 04/07/2017 - 12:02

So many delicius things one can make with aubergines, and then restrict yourself to just one thing! 🙂

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Alina 04/07/2017 - 10:39

Love this! And yes, we posted the recipe during the same day 🙂 I’ll try to use garlic next time I make this lovely salad, I only tried it with onions. Do you think moussaka with eggplants would be considered a Romanian dish? I think it’s actually Greek, but my family always made it when I was a child, so could it pass as a Romanian recipe? 🙂

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Adina 04/07/2017 - 12:01

🙂 I think you should post the moussaka, if your family always cooked that. My grandmother made moussaka only with potatoes, meat and tomatoes, I will post that as well in autumn, I think.

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Dawn - Girl Heart Food 04/07/2017 - 13:32

Love all the options for cooking eggplant here, Adina 🙂 ! Great for an app or simple dinner with a side!

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Balvinder 04/07/2017 - 14:50

This recipe looks fascinating. I love eggplant. I can see myself spreading thickly on top of some GF bread with some tomato slices. YUM! What an excellent share!

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Ritu Ahuja 04/07/2017 - 15:02

wow!! This Aubergine salad looks delicious. This is a must try for me. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe. 🙂

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Evi @ greenevi 04/07/2017 - 17:01

What an awesome recipe….oh, how much I love vinete! I also preferred the mayo garlic version, but never complained when we had the onion version either. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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Anu - My Ginger Garlic Kitchen 04/07/2017 - 17:22

This roasted eggplant salad is new to me. I love recipes made with roasted eggplants and this salad looks so scrumptious. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

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Laura Dembowski 04/07/2017 - 20:55

I always thought I didn’t like eggplant, but I have had a couple restaurant dishes lately that have changed my mind. I think it depends on how it is prepared and what flavors it is paired with. It goes great with garlic in particular and I would LOVE that garlic sauce.

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Sean Mahan 07/07/2017 - 21:13

This looks like such a delicious recipe. I must say I don’t remember ever trying a romanian recipe, so that makes me extra curious to try this one. Can’t wait! =)

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Adina 07/07/2017 - 21:31

I hope you try it, Sean. Romanian cooking is not particularly famous, but we do have our delicious things.

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Sissi 10/07/2017 - 10:44

At first your dish reminded me of babaganouj, but then I saw the seasoning is quite different. I must test this Romanian salad soon because it looks delicious and so summery!

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Onkel flamer 02/03/2018 - 23:37

My absolute favourite food since I can remember , and I always asked myself why we dont cook them in more ways at back home.So many good delicious ways to cook them..yum yum..so why ? Because “salata de vinete” is the best , and because fock you 🙂

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Robert Kiss 16/04/2018 - 06:54

its all good, but why cant we peel the eggplants first,and than bake it or stove top bake them and then cut it up and after that fry them up with onions and garlic ,first the finely chopped onions, and spices,when done, and cooled off add mayo and voalla?

Reply
Adina 16/04/2018 - 08:27

Hi Robert. I don’t think you will be able to bake an eggplant if you peeled it first, its flesh gets very very soft when cooked, so it will probably be a mess. Plus that I think that even if you don’t use the charred skin in the recipe, it still has an influence on the taste of the finished dish, especially if you grill or stove top burn the eggplant, it gives the salad a slightly smoky taste, which is wonderful. Just try it, baking or burning the eggplants on the stove top is really easy and peeling them once they are cool is also a piece of cake, removing the charred skin of one eggplant won’t take more than one minutes. I suppose you could also try frying the peeled eggplants and proceed the way you said it, it would probably taste good, but it would be a completely different dish, the essence of this eggplant recipe (and of other similar recipes like baba ganoush for instance) is the fact that you are baking or grilling the eggplants in their skin, that’s the secret to their taste and consistency.

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Leah Guthrie 17/09/2018 - 17:51

Hi! I just got home from Romania and can not wait to make this! Have you ever put both onion and garlic? We love both, so wondered about putting some of each? While we were there I never had it prepared with mayo, only oil. I will have to try that as well! Thanks for sharing!

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FELICIA FRIEDLI 10/12/2018 - 05:42

Adina so glad I found your page. Your recipes are so good almost like my mom’s. I was born in Transilvania. My mom thought me to cook but I always used feeling and taste. It’s hard to teach my son. Your page is going to help him since is in English. Do you have any cook book released? I would like to have one. Thanks for sharing these recipes. BTW the eggplant salat with bread and tomatoes bring me back in my Romanian home. Amazing feeling. Craciun Fericit.

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Adina 10/12/2018 - 08:39

Hi Felicia. Crauciun fericit to you to soon. It makes me so happy to read your comment, I am glad you like the recipes, most of them are my grandma’s, so really true and authentic. 🙂 I don’t have a cook book.

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Mari 12/04/2019 - 12:56

Just heavenly delicious! Followed the recipe exactly!! Looking forward to our Romania trip this summer to try it there.

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Adina 13/04/2019 - 15:48

Thank you, Mari. If I may suggest concerning your trip to Romania. Do visit Sibiu if possible, it is wonderful and it has so much to offer.

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Abigayle 28/07/2019 - 22:26

Adina, while I have lived in the U.S. most of my life, I am half Romanian. It was such a pleasant surprise to stumble on this group of recipes. Since I have been cooking for over fifty years I can tell these are good ones and will try some this week, using everything from my garden. Thank You! Abigayle Robu-Lofgren

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Adina 28/07/2019 - 23:40

Hi Abigayle. Thank you for your comment. I am so glad you like the recipes, let me know when you try something. 🙂

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Roz 03/08/2019 - 07:33

I love this romainian eggplant salad that my grandmother used to make. I don’t have a grill or a gas stove but I bake the eggplants in my microwave any pricking the skin when soft enough, I slice it open to cool, then scrape the flesh from the skin and Procter to chopping adding minced onions & garlic, salt & pepper. Then enough oil to mix in.. DELICIOUS

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Adina 03/08/2019 - 10:04

Thank you for the comment, Roz, it completes the article on how to cook eggplants . I don’t have a microwave, so I could not have added this Information myself. It’s great that you did.

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Aimee 12/09/2019 - 00:45

Adina, thank you for this recipe! While not Romanian myself, I have adopted the country as my own after many trips and am quite happy to have this resource for recreating some of my favorite recipes! One question though – what do you do with the eggplant seeds? Do you just leave them? I don’t remember noticing them in the vinete I’ve had before, but I seem to have many in the eggplants I have roasted!

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Adina 12/09/2019 - 08:29

Hi Aimee. So nice to read your comment. Yes, definitely leave the seeds inside, they belong there. They are always in vinete, but they are small and everything is mashed, so you really have to look hard to find them. 🙂

Reply

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