I have a funny relationship with eggplant. Most weeks I’ll completely pass it by in the grocery store without even a glance, but every now and then I’ll get a full-on craving for it and have to make a special trip to pick some up. Monday was one of those nights. My favorite eggplant dish is Pasta alla Norma, hands down, but my cheeseburger bender this weekend left me wanting something a little lighter, not so carb and cheese heavy. I grabbed some quinoa from the cupboard, fresh herbs from our urban garden, and whipped up this delicious roasted eggplant salad. Going back for seconds was definitely not something the hubs nor I debated very long – within a matter of minutes we each devoured two bowls. The savory eggplant, fresh tomatoes, herbs and citrus zing make it a perfect end-of-summer yet not-quite-fall salad – great for a busy weeknight or, you know, after a burger bender. The leftovers even make for a great workweek lunch!
- 1 cup quinoa, dry
- 2 small eggplants, chopped into 1/2″-3/4″ chunks
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 8-10 leaves fresh mint, torn small pieces
- 6-8 torn leaves fresh basil, torn into small pieces
- salt and pepper
- squeeze of lemon juice (~2 teaspoons)
- dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
- Parmesan cheese, grated (optional; omit for vegan recipe)
Cook quinoa according to package directions. When fully cooked, remove from heat, fluff with a fork and set aside, uncovered.
Preheat oven to 400F and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil. In a large bowl, toss eggplant, salt, pepper and 3 tablespoons of olive oil until lightly coated. Spread into one layer on the baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes until eggplant is golden brown, tossing once or twice.
Meanwhile, lightly sprinkle tomatoes with salt and set aside Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sauté pan. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, cook for 2-3 more minutes and remove from heat.
Once eggplant has finished roasting, combine eggplant, quinoa, tomato, onion & garlic mixture, fresh herbs and lemon juice. Mix well and season to taste with salt, Parmesan cheese to taste and/or additional red pepper flakes.
Whats your all time favorite eggplant dish? You know mine!