Want something meatless? Does your diet require you to have a diet that has no meat? Then sure, you would love Ensaladang Talong, a salad for vegetarians, like you! Once you taste this savory yet healthy food, you will want to have it always or as much as possible. Because of its incredible deliciousness, you might also think of thanking the farmers because had they not planted it, you would not have tasted this delicious salad. A big salute to all the farmers out there!
Read on because we will impart you essential facts about our featured salad dish, various points, and tricks on how you can do it in a much more straightforward and uncomplicated way. We will also share with you the different variations you can try so you can get to taste the most out of it.
What Really Is Ensaladang Talong?
Nowadays, it is indeed a challenge to be a vegetarian because there are many delicious meals made from meats out there. Additionally, it is hard to say no to those meaty treats because they are undeniably delightful, especially when served with a hot bowl of steamed rice. With all that being said, you can still eat some alternatives to those meals that are equally delicious and savory. Say goodbye to those delightful treats yet critical for your restricted diet. Eat your food freely without that guilt feeling after.
Ensaladang Talong or Eggplant Salad is an effortless Filipino food served as a side dish for fried meat or fish. However, vegetable lovers can have it alone for their meals because it is already delicious just by itself.
The word Ensalada means salad, which means a mixture of raw ingredients, especially vegetables. This particular Filipino Ensalada consists of mashed roasted or boiled eggplant, tomatoes, onions, garlic, water, and vinegar. There are sugar, black pepper, and salt for added taste balance and spice.
Vinegar and water mixture serves as the dressing and as a preservative too, so this can be eaten for a few more days, especially for a country where food quickly gets spoiled because of our tropical weather.
Unlike other types of salad, this Ensalada is probably the cheapest in terms of its components. Others Salads use mayonnaise as the souring agent, and they use expensive fruits and veggies, such as lettuce, mango, apple, avocado, and some even have chicken strips. Thus, this Filipino Ensalada is just economical even for the poorest of the poor.
Lastly, it is probably one of the fastest foods to prepare as it only takes 10 to 20 minutes to be done entirely. It depends on how fast you can cut and grill the veggies and smash the roasted eggplants.
Ways To Cook The Eggplants
This featured salad is very uncomplicated to prepare. Despite its delicious and healthy taste, you will not need to do much and exert effort to get a taste of it.
There are two easy ways to soften the eggplants before you can slice them and mix them with the other salad ingredients. The first one is through boiling it, and the other is by grilling or roasting it until the skin is charred already.
Boiling can be an option for you to soften and tenderize our main ingredient. You will only have to put it inside the pan with enough water to cover them all. Then you only have to let it boil for approximately 10 minutes. You can also try piercing it with a fork to know if it is already tender enough to be mashed or sliced.
By Roasting or grilling
Roasting our main ingredient is not a complicated thing to do. Yet, there are still different ways to grill it just the way you like it. These methods are through the gas stovetop, grill grates: instant pot, air fryer, and the oven.
Gas stovetop – when you roast over the gas stovetop, make sure that you do it on medium heat and turn every once in a while so it will soften evenly.
Roast over Grill grates – roasting your veggies over the grill is almost the same as doing it over the stovetop. The only difference is that you have to maintain the heat by fanning the charcoal occasionally.
Instant Pot – To use the instant pot in roasting your vegetable, allow it to heat first. And once it is already heated, layer the slices of fresh talong. Leave them inside the instant pot until the skin from top to bottom is charred already. Then you can now proceed in pressure cooking on High function settings for approximately 3 minutes, and then you can release the pressure immediately.
Air Fryer – If you don’t know it yet, well, yes, you can also roast your veggies in an air fryer. You will only have to fry it in an air fryer basket for 15 to 20 minutes at 400F. But the time may vary by the size of the vegetable.
Oven – Oven roasting our highlighted vegetables is a common thing. To pull off this way of grilling it, place the baking pan inside the range, turn on the broiler, and roast at 400F. Be sure to flip it every 5 minutes until it’s all soft and tender.
Variations of Recipes
Different variations are made for this very delicious and healthy salad. Each of them is equally savory and tasty that you might love them all once you try them. Among these great variants are bagoong, salted egg, creamy mayonnaise, unripe green mangoes, and coconut milk or gata.
With bagoong or shrimp paste
It is a variant of the typical Ensaladang Bagoong with a different twist, which you and your family will love. To make this variation, you will only need to roast the talong over the stovetop, grill stand, oven, or air fryer until its skin is charred. Do this over medium heat so you can soften the veggie nicely and evenly. You have to turn or flip it from time to time to ensure that all its parts will be roasted evenly. When done grilling, set aside and let it cool down for a while.
While waiting, dice the other essentials for the salad, like tomatoes and onions. Afterward, you can already peel off the charred skin of the veggie. Make sure to wash it after tearing off the skin to ensure that it’s already clean and safe to eat. Then you can finally slice the talong and mix them with the tomatoes, garlic, and onions and add bagoong at last.
If you want to add some kick of spiciness to your salad, you may opt to add chopped red chilies. Then you can now savor this very healthy and delicious side dish recipe. You will indeed have a happy tummy!
With Salted Egg on top
If you want an additional savoriness to our featured healthy salad recipes, why not follow the initial procedures and then add some slices of salted egg. The egg’s saltiness will affix some robust taste to the salad’s slightly bland and sour taste.
This variation will be something your kids will love. Unlike the usual recipes where you will slice all the veggies into bite sizes, you will chop them into tiny pieces. Then add the mayonnaise to the white onions, salt, and mashed talong mixture. Mix them vigorously until the consistency is already fluffy. Now, you have a portion of very healthy food for your children (who avoid eating veggies) disguised in a very delicious spread or dip.
To add that delicious crunch to your ordinary eggplant salad, you may opt to add unripe green mangoes. You only have to mix all the following: softened talong and onions. The tomatoes are added with the twist of unripe green mangga, cut in cubes, except on the eggplant cut in bite-size. It will be perfect if you include shrimp paste or bagoong in this variation.
For this salad variation, you will need to add green onion springs, white onions instead of the red ones, salt, pepper, chili peppers, red bell paper, and of course, coconut milk or gata. You may also buy powdered coconut milk if that’s the only available from the market.
To start, you have to grill or boil the talong until evenly done. After that, you can tear off its skin slowly and slice it small to medium size. When done with that, mix it with the other chopped components while pouring the thick coconut milk. The coconut milk surely will add that creamy texture you’ll love. Then you can finally serve it to your family, who will undoubtedly love it, too.
Aside from being so budget-friendly of the Eggplant Salad, this has its benefits brought by its components. Let’s talk about talong, tomatoes, and onions. Read on!
Eggplant or Talong
Talong is the main component in preparing this particular salad. It is one of the very common veggies in the Philippines because it is delicious, healthy, and cheap. It is very nutritious due to its countless nutritional contents, which is one of the fundamental reasons it became almost everybody’s favorite.
Below are surprising things you might not know about the talong, which will make you adore it a lot more.
- The eggplant is an excellent source of vitamins & minerals: vitamin C, thiamine, vitamin B6, vitamin K, potassium, niacin, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, fiber, folic acid, and many more other essential nutrients ideal for the body to function normally.
- Talong is high fiber, and fiber is not easily digested, making a person feel full longer.
- Eggplant also has lutein, which is right for your eye health.
- It has micronutrients, Polyphenols, that are said to help protect us from cancer.
- The fiber in talong functions very well in slowing sugar absorption and the digestion rate, lowering blood pressure.
- This veggie is technically a fruit, particularly berries, because it contains seeds and matures from a flowering plant.
- This veggie comes in deep purple, green, and black, all equally nutritious and savory.
- It has anthocyanin that has antioxidant properties and prevents damage to body cells.
- It has low calories that reduce aging and lessens cancer, Alzheimer’s diseases, diabetes, and cancer.
- This veggie has the highest amount of nicotine among all the others. However, it should not concern you that much as it will only be as bad for your health as the cigarette if you consume 20 pounds or more of it.
- During the Renaissance era, talong are called mali sana, which means “crazy apple.”
The tomato’s sour taste adds another layer of savoriness to the taste of this salad, making it more nutritious and delectable. Here are the health benefits of tomatoes you will gain when you savor them, together with several trivia about them.
- Like eggplant, it also has fiber, which is ideal for weight management and lowering sugar levels.
- It has the plant compounds, such as Lycopene, Beta carotene, Chlorogenic acid, and Naringenin.
- The most notable nutrient, Lycopene, is an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals that may create oxidative stress in our body as stress is also connected to diseases like cancer, heart disease, etc.
- Lycopene also helps in preventing or delaying the development of eye problems, like cataracts. Lycopene is also ideal for the heart.
- Other vitamins and minerals in Tomatoes include Vitamin C, Vitamin K1, Folate, and Potassium.
- Tomatoes can be red, yellow, pink, purple, white, and black, believe it or not.
- There are as many as ten thousand varieties of this ingredient all over the world.
- It is considered a veggie by nutritionists, but it is technically a fruit (berry) as it grows from a flowering plant and has seeds inside.
Onions are one of the most widely used condiments all over the world. It adds a particular and distinctive flavor to any meal it is used. It also adds a robust pungent smell to it, making it more delicious and appealing to the taste. However, those are not the only things and benefits you can get from onions.
- Onions have a plant pigment, quercetin, that acts as an antihistamine and an anti-inflammatory agent that helps fight allergic reactions and asthma.
- It has an essential oil, allyl propyl disulfide, that increases the amount of free insulin, therefore lowers blood sugar levels.
- Onion also functions in preventing heart diseases and maintains good blood pressure.
- It is also a rich source of sulfur, amino acids needed for protein synthesis.
- It contains types of cancer, especially when combined with turmeric.
- Myths say that we must consume the onions right after they are sliced as it absorbs all the bacteria in the surroundings. However, it is only a myth as, according to the McGill University’s Office of Science and Society, onions are not susceptible to bacterial contamination and poisoning.
- Have you ever wondered why you cry every time you slice an onion? Well, it is because it releases sulfuric acid that reacts with our eyes’ moisture. As a result, it inevitably makes us cry inevitably.
- Onions can be a good remedy for insect bites and skin burns. It alleviates the itchiness and the burning feeling on the skin.
- When mixed with aspirin and water’s right dosage, onions can be an alternative treatment to warts.
All the components of this salad are very nutritious and healthy. With all those benefits, trivia, and functions of this eggplant salad’s ingredients mentioned, there’s no reason for you not to eat this unless you have a child-like heart for veggies. Be sure to let your kids and loved ones have this because they will benefit from it a lot, considering all the nutritional content.
Troubleshooting your Recipe
It’s unavoidable for any chef to commit mistakes while preparing foods, and sometimes the ones with the easiest recipes to follow are the hardest to pull off. Well, this salad is not an exception to that. You will be surprised at how easy you can prepare it, but still, you might encounter kitchen mishap in r
Here are the taste issues your eggplant salad might have and the troubleshooting guide you have to follow to save the salad.
Too Sour Dish
Are you so worried that the outcome of your salad turns out to be sour for your liking? Well, you do not have to be anxious anymore as you can still effortlessly save your salad. While this is not such a big issue because salads like this one naturally have a sour flavor, it might be too much for some people who prefer otherwise. For their sake, here is a tip that will be very helpful to you: add a small amount of water and a little sugar. These two additional elements will balance out the taste making it palatable.
Too Salty Dish
Having finished doing your salad then finally figuring out that it tastes too salty for your preference is indeed a disaster. It happens when you think there’s so much water and you add a lot of fish sauce or salt. Soo, you have to minimize the condiments you will pour into the salad as it can affect the salad’s taste in the end. However, if you forgot to note that and ended up turning your salad to be too salty, you can still save it by adding water or sour vinegar and a little more of the veggies. In that way, it will have balance. The treat you prepared will still be pleasant to consume.
Too Watery or Runny Dressing of Ensaladang Talong
Another annoying thing that can happen to you while preparing this salad is when it turns out to be too runny or watery for your taste preference. It is not a vegetable juice, so it shouldn’t be like that at all. When, unfortunately, your salad has too much dressing or water, the most appropriate and ideal thing to do is add vegetables, salt, and pepper. This way, you can retain the taste, and it will turn out more delicious because you added more veggies to it. But adding more veggies to it will mean more effort to exert. Still, we are confident that you prefer to exert more effort adding veggies to the salad than ruining it with a very watery or runny consistency.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
This particular veggie salad is indeed very uncomplicated to prepare. You will be surprised how you can effortlessly pull it off, especially when you do it in your kitchen. However, you can still improve the already delicious and tasty Ensalada. Here are a few tips to better tasting Filipino vegetable Ensalada.
- Grill the talong. Others make the mistake of frying it. We want to avoid oil because we opt for healthier options, so cook them the oil-free way.
- Make sure to buy the freshest eggplants, tomatoes, and onions from the market as whey they are rotten, they ruin the salad texture and even the taste. Avoid those stale ones as they can cause foodborne diseases.
- Vinegar is also an essential souring agent, so consider buying one from the market or any local sari-sari store.
- It might not work for you, but for some, they put it in the fridge before they eat it, just like the other salads, so you might want to try it.
- Try adding red chilies for the extra hot flavor you can affix to the Ensalada’s taste. Chilies are responsible for making these simple sides more exciting and flavorful.
- You may also add unripe green mangoes for the crunchy texture. It will also add another layer of savoriness to the Ensalada.
- You have to wash the veggie after peeling off the charred skin to ensure that it’s
- Avoid using rock salt; opt for iodized salt. They are so much healthier.
- Instead of vinegar, you can use lemon or calamansi juice. But make sure to minimize pouring these acidic liquids as they can turn your Ensalada to being too sour, and you do not want that for sure.
- If you plan to opt for white onions, remember that red onions fit salad for their vibrant color, making them more appealing. They also have a mild taste and strong, pungent flavor that lets it be more appetizing.
Excellent Partners for Filipino Ensaladang Talong
Although for vegetarians, this can stand alone independently, it is still not safe from food pairing. Thus, below is a list of foods that go along well with this Talong Salad. If you are a vegetarian, please don’t read on as you will be craving so much!
Since Ensalada is all veggies, we need fried fish for added texture and flavor. Also, the Ensalada’s vinegar reduces its fishy taste, so it’s only logical for them to be a tandem. Why don’t you try them some time?
Salted egg is such a perfect pair for the ensalada as its naturally salty taste combined with the sour mixture of the appetizer is like a match made in heaven. This combo will make you ask for more rice. So yummy!
Grilled Milkfish or Tilapia
If you want to avoid fried foods, then this particular viand is just a perfect alternative. You can use our featured salad as a dip to your Grilled Bangus or St. Peter’s fish. Savoring them together will make you crave for more than you can even forget about your diet.
Grilled Pork or Chicken
During your barbeque night or day with your family, sure, you will have grilled Pork or Chicken, and Ensaldang can serve as the dip. The tasty meat will complement the delicious Ensalada, which will make you ask for more rice.
Buttered shrimp’s savory flavor goes well with Ensalada’s sour and healthy taste. It might also have a little fishy aftertaste, but having a spoonful of Filipino Ensalada can lessen or get rid of it.
This featured vegetable salad plus Shrimp paste equals an affordable viand that is served with hot steamed rice.
There are so many options and reasons for you to eat healthy foods, and one of those recipes is our featured salad. We hope that you enjoy this salad as much as we did in sharing it with you. Be sure to share it with your family and friends. Happy cooking!
For more delicious recipe, visit Eat Like Pinoy!
Best Ensaladang Talong Recipe
- 4 pcs Eggplants
- 4 pcs Tomatoes cubed
- 1 large Onion cubed
- 1/4 cup Vinegar
- 1/2 tsp Crushed Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- 3 cups Water
- Boil the eggplant in 3 cups of water for 10 minutes.
- Peel the eggplant, take a bowl and slice the eggplant about 2 inches in size.
- Slice the onion cubed also the tomatoes.
- Put everything in a bowl, take 1/4 vinegar, add salt, sugar and crushed pepper, mix until salt and sugar dissolve.
- Pour the vinegar into the eggplant and mix it slowly.
- Serve and enjoy!