Escalivada, sometimes called escalibada, is a Catalan roasted vegetable dish. It features eggplant and red bell peppers, and sometimes onions and/or tomatoes. It’s a light option for a Spanish tapas menu or can act as a simple vegetarian side.
Once upon a time in Barcelona, my sister and I sampled escalivada with goat cheese at Vinitus. Our server didn’t speak English, and simply described it as a dish with eggplant. We had no idea what to expect, but gave it a try anyway. It was delicious and unexpected. Definitely a “wow” moment where I made a note to myself to look up escalivada when I returned home and make it myself.
How to make Escalivada
Making Escalivada is truly so easy and straight-forward! This version is more of the traditional approach. It’s less refined and structured than the goat cheese-topped version at Vinitus. Think of it as colorful roasted vegetables with a Spanish-inspired dressing. Start out by lightly rubbing eggplants, red bell peppers, and onions with oil, and roasting until tender. Peel the vegetables and remove the seeds. Then tear the eggplants and bell peppers into strips, and slice the onions.
To make the dressing for escalivada simply whisk together olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. I used some cava vinegar I purchased in Barcelona as the acidic element, but sherry vinegar works great as well. Dress the vegetables, lightly tossing to coat, and then sprinkle the tops with chopped parsley. Refrigerate prepared escalivada for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld and really develop. How easy is that?! You’ve just made a super simple yet satisfying Catalan escalivada that is perfect for tapas night! Although it appears to be incredibly simple (and it is), the flavors are great.
Other Spanish tapas recipes you may like
- Barceloneta Potato Bombas
- Gambas al Ajillo (Garlic Shrimp)
- Tuna-Stuffed Piquillo Peppers
- Warm Stuffed Piquillo Pepper Bruschetta with Goat Cheese
- Patatas Bravas (Fierce Potatoes)
- Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Goat Cheese
I absolutely LOVE Spanish food! Visiting Barcelona was one of the best experiences of my life. I really enjoyed learning more about the food and culture during my time there. Have you ever been to Spain? What were some of your favorite foods you tried? Share them in the comments!
Escalivada (Catalan Roasted Vegetables)
- 2 globe or Italian eggplants
- 2 red bell peppers
- 3 small onions unpeeled
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for coating vegetables
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or cava vinegar
- 1 clove garlic minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Lightly rub the eggplants, bell peppers, and onions with olive oil and set them on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until the skin is blistered and blackened and flesh is tender when pierced with a knife, rotating the vegetables once or twice partway through cooking.
- Remove vegetables from the pan as they are done, the eggplants and peppers will roast for about 30 to 40 minutes, and the onions will likely take an additional 10 minutes or so depending on their size.
- Put the eggplants and red peppers into a plastic bag, seal and let them rest for about 10 minutes. This will loosen the skins. Carefully peel the skins off the vegetables and remove the stems. Gently scoop out the seeds from within the eggplant and peppers, and tear or cut the flesh into strips. Slice the peeled onions with a knife.
- Whisk together the 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper, and dress the vegetables, lightly tossing to help incorporate the flavors. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Arrange the vegetables in a serving dish and top with chopped parsley. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to develop. Serve cold or at room temperature, preferably with crusty bread.
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