Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Quick (REALLY!) Eggplant and Quinoa Salad Recipes

My evening of cooking started out rough. I boiled a cup of quinoa while prepping some organic broccoli I bought from my local organic farmer at the farmers' market last weekend, and while doing so I noticed a LOT of aphids on the broccoli. I did a quick soak in warm water and rinsed them once more, but still found hundreds of these little buggers clinging to and hiding in the otherwise gorgeous broccoli florets. So one centimeter at a time, I went through the broccoli with TWEEZERS and removed these creatures. After clearing six florets, I gave up and threw the rest away. Which I absolutely hate to do. The whole ordeal took a little over an hour! Ben (who just turned 4 last week) said "MMM broccoli!" so I gave him the bug-free greens and he gobbled them up with some pasta and tomato sauce. I was planning on eating together, the 3 of us as a family, but the broccoli took so long and Ben was hungry, so I had little choice but to feed him first and make something for Dan and me.

Ben's dinner done, I opened the fridge in frustration, poking through the veggie drawer, wondering what to make for the two of us.

I spied a bug-free (!) eggplant I'd purchased from the same organic farmer, so I scrubbed it while trying to figure out what to do with it. Eggplant is usually a production for me -- in casseroles like vegan eggplant parmesan, or in ratatouille, or sauteed for a long time. None of those ideas appealed to me. Another challenge with eggplant is that it soaks up cooking oil like a sponge, so it's easy to prepare a dish with too much fat. Under pressure, I created the following recipe, which was ridiculously easy and honestly, absolutely delicious. Redemption.

QUICK and Tasty Eggplant

  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 medium to large eggplant, cubed into bite-sized pieces
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil (depending on the size of the eggplant)
  • 1-2 tbsp Balsamic Glaze (such as Blaze)

Place the broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally to cook evenly, for about 8 minutes or until tender. Drain out the excess broth in a colander by shaking the eggplant around.

Return the eggplant to the pot, add the oil and balsamic, stir until well blended, and serve.

Unbelievable!

As you can see by the photo (click it to enlarge), I also made Quinoa Salad. This dish, though never prepared exactly the same, is becoming a staple in my house. Here's all you do:

Quick Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
2 cups water
juice of 1 large lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
handful of fresh flat parsley, chopped
1-2 scallions, white and green, thinly sliced into rounds OR 1/2 small red onion, chopped finely
1 pint cherry/grape tomatoes, halved, OR 1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes (packed in oil and drained)
1 can (1.5 cups) beans (I like chick peas best), drained and rinsed
Freshly ground sea salt to taste

any raw veggies, finely chopped, such as:
* bell pepper
* celery
* carrots
* cabbage
* spinach

optional:
* chopped olives
* nuts (sliced almonds, pecans, or pine nuts work great)

Simmer the quinoa in water for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prep the other ingredients. When quinoa is done, transfer to a bowl and fluff. Let cool or not (warm is nice too) and add remaining ingredients. Toss well.

This is really nice on a bed of fresh salad greens.

4 comments:

TRISTA said...

Your stories so often time perfectly with questions I have in my life. We have a bunch of eggplant, and all the recipes I have roast it (either in the skin or sliced and oiled). It made me think maybe eggplant can't be made any other way. I'll try this recipe when the next batch is ripe. Thanks!

TRISTA said...

Your stories so often time perfectly with questions I have in my life. We have a bunch of eggplant, and all the recipes I have roast it (either in the skin or sliced and oiled). It made me think maybe eggplant can't be made any other way. I'll try this recipe when the next batch is ripe. Thanks!

The Veg Next Door said...

I just made the most delicious eggplant and garlic soup. I crave this stuff!

Virginia H. Davison said...

Hi I found your blog on google because I was looking for a recipe that combined eggplant and quinoa. I am delighted with your eggplant recipe because it is low fat and does not require frying. I absolutely loved the simple taste of the eggplant mixed with oil and vinegar glaze. I hope you will visit my blog. I have some vegetarian soups on mine as well as stuffed peppers that include cheese but that part could be eliminated from the recipe to make it vegan. Also I have a homemade granola recipe that is wonderful.