The thought of using Iceberg lettuce any day of the week, let alone on a Friday when we should be drinking beers and eating cupcakes with reckless abandon definitely makes my skin crawl.

A really weird reaction to have to such a boring crisp flavorless nutritionally void innocuous vegetable, I know.  But, as I’m sure Freud would confirm, it’s totally my mother’s fault.  Five gazillion too many dinner salads that consisted only of the aforementioned perpetrator, out-of-season tomatoes, and a cup of 100-calorie-a-tablespoon blue cheese dressing later, and this is what happens.

It’s a learned reflex.


My feelings about salad dressing did not make it out unscathed either (though my love of tomatoes remains largely unperturbed).  Whereas Iceberg lettuce induces every nerve cell on my epithelium to seize, most salad dressings activate my gag reflex.  Especially the thick creamy ones.

There’s just something so wrong about a shelf stable semi-liquid made with dairy.  I just can’t wrap my mind or my tastebuds (or my autonomic nervous system) around it.


It was with great trepidation then (and a plastic bag situated strategically next to me…for obvious reasons) that I taste tested the Greek feta dressing from Marzetti’s new Simply Dressed line.  Unlike most salad dressings, these are free of preservatives, trans fat, high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors.  In fact, the ingredient list consisted only of things that I could find in my kitchen, with the exception of xanthan gum, which is used as a food thickener and also in most gluten-free baking, and is a naturally occurring polysaccharide.  I could deal with that.


The verdict?  Yum.  The dressing was tangy and totally feta-full, which I loved.  And it went perfectly on top of my eggplant and chickpea salad with Moroccan-spiced spaghetti squash (the only way in which I’ve ever actually LOVED eating spaghetti squash on it’s own).  While a bit calorie dense at 110 calories for 2 tbsp, it was flavorful enough that only half of that was necessary to dress the salad.

Totally fit for Friday eats.

So long as there’s no Iceberg lettuce around.  I might never be able to get over that one.  At least not without an inordinate amount of psychotherapizing.  We’re working on it.


Moroccan Spiced Spaghetti Squash
Serves 4, adapted from Smitten Kitchen 


  • 1 (3 1/2-4 lb) spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter (I used light butter), cut into pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 3/4 tsp salt


  1. Roast the squash, cutting it in half lengthwise, scooping out the seeds and roasting the halves face-down in an oiled baking pan for about 40 minutes in a 375°F oven.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until it is barely golden. Stir in spices and salt and remove from heat.
  3. Working over a bowl, scrape the squash flesh with a fork so that it forms spaghetti-like strands.  Toss with the spiced butter.

Eggplant and Chickpea Salad
Serves 4, adapted from Bon Appetit Fast/Easy/Fresh 



  1. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggplant cubes and onions; sauté until soft and beginning to brown, about 9 minutes. Stir in garbanzo beans, cumin, and vinegar. Sauté until heated through and flavors blend, adding enough garbanzo bean liquid by tablespoonfuls to moisten if mixture is dry, about 4 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper.  Serve, along with the moroccan spaghetti squash, on a bed of spinach and drizzle with dressing.

I was one of the bloggers selected by T. Marzetti Company and Clever Girls Collective to host a Marzetti Simply Dressed review.  They provided me with product to test myself and compensation for my time.  However, my opinions are entirely my own.

I’m submitting this to Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for Souper Sundays!


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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70 Responses to Eggplant and Chickpea Salad with Moroccan Spaghetti Squash and Feta Dressing

  1. I love moroccan flavors! Moroccan spaghetti squash in now on my list to do! I’m in love

  2. Honestly, I can’t believe people still eat iceberg lettuce. It is just so sad. This dish, not sad at all, though! That eggplant and chickpea salad sounds delicious.

  3. Pam says:

    Except for the eggplant, it sounds good!

  4. bellini says:

    Good for you for stickung to your guns and carrying on with healthy eating over the holidays. I can’t say I am that strong:D

  5. Big Dude says:

    This looks really good and after reading the title, my first thought was “how do you come up with these dishes”, but I noticed you have sources.

  6. Wow, I think you might eat chickpeas more than I do! That’s impressive! I just made spaghetti squash last night, it is SO good!

  7. Amy says:

    Oh! I am always looking for new ways to make spaghetti squash. They are not my favorite winter squash, but my father-in-law always grows them and we end up with a lot. I’m going to give this recipe a try!

  8. Megan says:

    I love feta… will have to look for that dressing!

  9. Faith says:

    We are completely on the same wavelength, Joanne — I’ve been enjoying warm spinach salads for lunch for the past week! This one looks better than any I’ve made though — must pick up spaghetti squash!!

  10. Jeanette says:

    Love all the ingredients you put together for this salad. I am wary of store bought dressings too so it’s good to know there are some out there that are pretty much unprocessed.

  11. Nicole, RD says:

    Hahaha…that’s how I grew up on salads too! Which reminds me, everyone last night and dinner LOVED the salad…it was SATURATED in dressing. I couldn’t do it…even though it was oil and vinegar-based. Bleck!

    This looks delicious, Joanne! I need some of this in my life after all that peanut butter pie!

  12. Nice food, good to know there are no mystery ingredients in the dressing. Interesting that you eat cupcakes when drinking beers, unusual but interesting. I haven’t noticed this trend yet

  13. Fantastic looking salad. I’ve used the Balsamic and really liked it, I’ll have to look for the Feta.

  14. Foodycat says:

    I can’t agree about iceberg lettuce – I love the stuff! But shelf stable creamy dressings are scary and weird.

  15. Laura says:

    I’m a big fan of feta and spaghetti squash-will have to give this recipe a try!

  16. Rachana says:

    This Salad has my name written all over it. It has all my favourite ingredients there… Yum!

  17. I just made spaghetti squash for the first time last week and loved it. The addition of the moroccan spices sounds great!

  18. Nicole says:

    Looks delicious!! I love anything with eggplant!

  19. This is a fabulous post, these recipes sound so good to me right now…I’ve overdosed on my own cookies…

  20. Pam says:

    It always amazes me how creative you are with your recipes and ingredients. This one looks like another winner!

  21. vianney says:

    eggplant and chickpeas..oh yeah digging this!!

    ps. I love lettuce, lol

  22. Your feta dressing sounds delightful and what a fresh looking, colourful dish.

  23. I DEFINITELY need more spaghetti squash in my life.

  24. I’m always shocked when I see people buying iceberg lettuce in the store! I think most Americans grew up eating it. I love your dedication to squash and delicious and healthy dishes like this!

  25. Christine says:

    You’re so funny, I was Iceberg-lettuce warped by my mom as well! Every meal had a sad little salad though she liked 1,000 Island dressing…gag. Glad to hear about Marzetti’s new dressing line. Finding one without the sugar element at the top of the list isn’t easy, thanks!

  26. Claudia says:

    Now, now – iceberg lettuce has a place in a sandwich where you might want a crunch. And yes, I do keep a feta-vinaigrette handy. Even though I can make it myself. And double yes – I’ll take the salad now.

  27. i love those dressings! tried them this summer but damn they are small and pricey.
    iceberg is for blue cheese-bacon and the white trash taco too

  28. Kalyn says:

    This salad is a winner!

  29. Chris says:

    I actually like iceburg lettuce in appropriate situations but bottled dressings? I only like a few. Marzetti’s is one, Brianna’s and Girrard’s come to mind.

  30. Reeni says:

    I haven’t eaten nearly enough spaghetti squash this season! This serves as a delicious reminder – love the chickpeas and eggplant with it too. I don’t mind iceberg occasionally as long as it’s mixed with lots of other stuff.

  31. Amy says:

    Oh wow, really? A hatred of iceberg lettuce and bottled dressing. Hm. Note to self: don’t ever have Joanne join you at a salad bar.

  32. sophia says:

    A feta-full dressing? Now that’s my kind of dressing. To be honest I don’t usually like to buy dressing in bottles either.

    Joanne, sweets…I MIGHT be in NYC March 2012. I sincerely hope to see your lovely face then. Fingers crossed.

  33. Hotly Spiced says:

    That is a great looking salad. I agree with you re the iceberg lettuce phase. It’s like when we were growing up the greengrocer only had iceberg lettuce and granny smith apples on offer – I think I had those two green things every day of my childhood.

  34. I totally here ya sister. Iceberg lettuce is freakin nasty and a waste of refrigerator space! Your salad on the other hand is worth investigating.

  35. Elpiniki says:

    Such a beautifull salad! I love feta cheese and your blog! Nice finding you! Visit me at:

  36. Hmm, I beg to differ – I love iceberg and am devastated that it has so little nutritional value. Mind you, I love a wedge of iceberg with an equally large dollop of blue cheese dressing, so we’re at opposite ends of the spectrum on this. But our minds converge when it comes to the wonderful salads you have here. This one’s no exception. Yum indeed!

  37. OMG, we had exactly the same salad when I was growing up, except the dressing in our house was “mayonnaise” made out of a tin of condensed milk mixed with vinegar and mustard. Very idea of it still makes me gag!! Love the look of this eggplant and chickpea salad. I’ve never actually tried spaghetti squash, but with these Morrocan spices I bet it’s wonderful.
    Sue xo

  38. Sanjeeta kk says:

    Ohhh…eggplant in a make me think girl..have to give a try.

  39. Allison says:

    When my body craves healthy interesting vegetables i go straight to your blog and you seriously never disappoint. Another incredibly delicious looking meal.

  40. Katerina says:

    I live with salads throughout the week so any new recipe is more than welcomed here! This one with the Moroccan touch looks like my next weekday meal!

  41. Barbara says:

    Hah! Iceberg lettuce. Brings back memories of my dad. He loved it, with thousand island dressing. (And I notice it’s coming back in some of the steakhouses.)
    Really an interesting salad, Joanne. Would never have occurred to me to use spaghetti squash in a salad, but it goes beautifully here. I’ll watch for the dressings in my market.

  42. Nicole says:

    That looks healthy and filling at the same time. It would counteract the effects of the sugar cookies I’ve been topping with peanut butter and devouring. Shamelessly!

  43. I don’t mind iceberg lettuce as long as I don’t have to eat them too often ;-))
    I love your chickpea salad with eggplant and spinach..very appetizing!

  44. Claudia says:

    That’s a lovely way to utilize spaghetti squash. Previously I have not been very original, just using it for spaghetti. As far as dressings go, I like to shake up some homemade in a bottle and keep in the fridge,

  45. Erica says:

    The eggplant and chickpea salad sounds amazing!I love the addition of cumin….Tasty!

  46. The salad looks amazing and nutritious! Never tasted spaghetti squash, it sounds pretty easy to whip up…

  47. daphne says:

    You are so right about dressings- they make a break a salad and somehow, the delicious ones are usually high and fat and calories.
    That pasta squash looks amazing as well- quick and easy for this season.

  48. Michele says:

    My goodness. Whenever I visit your blog, I think I’m at a gourmet restaurant! This looks fantastic.

  49. Love your continuation of the 12 weeks of winter squash! 🙂 I agree, though, I hate the mayo dressings.. no matter what they are disguised as. 😉

  50. Cajunlicious says:

    Joanne this looks so delicious!

  51. Carolyn Jung says:

    What a great winter salad with so many wonderful textures. Plus, creamy feta dressing just makes it even better.

  52. peachkins says:

    Delicious -looking salad!

  53. Sippity Sup says:

    I can always count on you to bring these flavors to the sublime. GREG

  54. Miriam says:

    I’m not a fan of ice berg either…and I actually have some cooked spaghetti squash that i was wondering what to do with. Great looking salad!! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  55. Elizabeth says:

    For some reason I’ve only ever had spaghetti squash maybe 4 or 5 times. I need to have it more.

  56. Johanna GGG says:

    oh you just need to rediscover ice berg lettuce – I can’t have it the way my mum used to serve it but I have discovered other ways to eat it – san chow bow and tacos are among my favourites

  57. sally says:

    I totally agree with you on iceburg lettuce. We are spinach salad eaters around here. I’ll take some of your eggplant and chickpea salad too.

  58. I have such a hard time with bottled salad dressings – so much icky stuff in most! I’ll have to check this one out. And your salad looks delish!

  59. tigerfish says:

    Many times, I do not like salads due to the dressings! And certainly spinach works for me too, over iceberg.

  60. I usually stay far away from bottled dressings but I like that these are pretty natural. Your salad looks delicious and I love how you used the spaghetti squash. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays. 😉

  61. Yasmeen says:

    Spaghetti Squash is so amazingly underrated. Love the stuff, and love what you’ve done with it!

  62. That is what a salad should look like!

  63. Oh WOW! That sounds really good and good for me!

  64. This is exactly the kind of salad I love to eat!

  65. Deborah says:

    I’m always looking for creative ways to eat spaghetti squash, and this is definitely creative!!

  66. Lora says:

    Wow you just reminded me how much I love spaghetti squash with this creative delicious dish.

  67. Shannon says:

    Mmm, that eggplant chickpea salad might be my favorite part 🙂

  68. Anonymous says:

    AAAAAAmazing! Made this over the weekend, before my week of med school exams started, and I’ve eaten it for lunch EVERYDAY 😉 Which is perfect…so healthy, tasty, and fast…aside from the fact I had to burn a little gas to pick up an extra bag of spinach after I devoured the first (my knees prefer that I don’t jog to the market). Thank you thank you for keeping me inspired in the kitchen!

    – Lauren in Virginia

  69. Eva R. says:

    Joanne, this Moroccan spaghetti squash was phenomenal! Thanks for another great recipe!

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