Spa Salad with Tuna, Beets, Eggplant and Mozzarella

Course Main Dish, Salad
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • 1 small eggplant or 2 medium zucchini ends trimmed
  • Sea salt
  • 4 medium fresh beets ends trimmed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large or 2 small heads Boston lettuce or other tender greens torn in bite-sized pieces
  • 1 carrot peeled and cut in shavings with a vegetable peeler
  • 2 cans (7 ounce) tuna drained*
  • 2 tomatoes cut in thin wedges
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella ball cut in cubes, or bocconcini
  • Shredded basil leaves optional


  1. Halve the eggplant lengthwise if it’s a fat one. Cut crosswise in ¼-inch slices. Place the eggplant in a colander in the sink and mix with 1 teaspoon salt. Let stand for a half an hour or so, until it softens and gives off some liquid.
  2. Meanwhile, place the beets in a saucepan just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Bring to a boil, adjust the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, until tender when pierced with a knife. Drain and cool until warm.
  3. Combine ½ cup olive oil in a jar with the vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and shake well.
  4. Peel the beets, cut in cubes and place in a small bowl. Moisten with a tablespoon or two of the dressing.
  5. Rinse the eggplant slices and lay on paper towels; blot dry. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet or grill pan (well-seasoned cast iron is best) until almost smoking. Brown the eggplant on both sides. Cool and turn in a bowl with a tablespoon or two of the dressing.
  6. Combine the greens with the carrot shavings in a large bowl. Toss with dressing (you may not need it all). Using tongs, heap greens on four dinner plates.
  7. Arrange the eggplant, beets, tomato wedges, tuna and mozzarella around and over the greens. Dress mozzarella with a little olive oil plus salt, pepper and the basil leaves (if using).

Recipe Notes

* If the tuna is canned in water, mix it after draining with a little olive oil and fresh lemon juice.