Okay, here we go! Now THIS is a healthy dinner, isn’t it?!? So many layers of flavor in each bite and you can even make extra to eat all week long. I’ve been topping everything with the Grilled Watermelon & Eggplant Salad and I even put the avocado sauce on my eggs this morning. I was inspired to make this salad by the fresh vegetables and herbs growing in my own garden. I love the sweet flavor of Japanese eggplant and there is seriously nothing like homegrown tomatoes. And would you believe this was my first time grilling watermelon?!? The fruit stays crunchy but completely changes to a sweet new flavor from the hot grill. It’s brilliant!

This salad has grilled fruit and veggies, fresh tomato, spicy peppers, bright herbs and citrus and crunchy pine nuts. Nothin’ wrong with that!

And to add even more to this dish, I made a cool and creamy avocado sauce to add healthy fat and to balance the spiciness and acid from the salad.

THIS is lunch AND dinner!

Pan-Seared Tilapia with Grilled Watermelon & Eggplant Salad and Avocado Sauce
 
Ingredients
Pan-Seared Tilapia
  • 2 tilapia fillets
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Grilled Watermelon & Eggplant Salad
  • 4-5 pieces of thinly sliced watermelon
  • 1 Japanese eggplant (can also use baby eggplant)
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 golden cayenne (optional, very spicy)
  • 1 vine-ripe tomato
  • 5-6 leaves of fresh mint, chopped + extra for garnish
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp pepper
Avocado Sauce
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions
Avocado Sauce
  1. Combine the avocado, sour cream and lemon juice in a food processor and blend until smooth. If you want to make the sauce thinner, add more lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place the sauce in squeeze bottle (for presentation) and refrigerate until ready to use. Can be made 3-4 days in advance.
Grilled Watermelon & Eggplant Salad
  1. Heat an indoor or outdoor grill to 350 degrees F (medium-high heat).
  2. Drizzle the watermelon slices with a thin layer of olive oil then place them on the hot grill. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side to form dark grill marks. Remove the watermelon from the heat and sprinkle with salt. Cut the watermelon into small pieces and place in a bowl.
  3. Thinly slice the eggplant (keep the skin on) and combine in a bowl with the jalapeno and golden cayenne. Drizzle with 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil, a heavy sprinkling of salt and pepper and stir to combine. Remember that the olive oil and salt will seep into the eggplant while it cooks so don’t be afraid to add a lot.
  4. Grill the eggplant and peppers at the same time, for 4-5 minutes on each side. The peppers should be blackened an all sides.
  5. Cut the grilled eggplant into pieces that are similar to the size of the watermelon pieces. Slice the peppers in half, scoop out the seeds then chop into small pieces. Add the eggplant and peppers to the bowl with the watermelon.
  6. Chop the vine ripe tomato and fresh pint and add to the bowl with the pine nuts. Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Set the salad aside until ready to use, or refrigerate 1 day in advance.
Pan-Seared Tilapia
  1. Sprinkle both sides of the tilapia with cumin, paprika, salt and pepper then rub the olive oil on both sides of the fish. In your grill pan or in a flat pan, cook the tilapia for 3-4 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
Assembly
  1. Place the cooked tilapia on a plate, top with the grilled watermelon & eggplant salad then drizzle with the avocado sauce.
  2. You can squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the top as well, for some added acid. And it never hurts to sprinkle the fish with some coarse sea salt.