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Roasted Eggplant and Sun-dried Tomato Quinoa Recipe

I’m sure everyone’s holiday season is already in full swing. I know mine is, and it’s been very busy so far. So many parties, so much good food and drink. While I do allow myself to indulge a bit, I am also being mindful of my consumption of sugars and starches. Creating meals like this roasted eggplant and sun-dried tomato quinoa recipe provides balance for my overall eating habits.

Roasted Eggplant and Sun-dried Tomato Quinoa

As part of an overall healthy eating lifestyle, I’ve been testing more recipes with ancient grains like quinoa.  While they are carbohydrates, they are whole grains, which means the body has to work hard to break them down.  The advantage here is that they are not just converted right into sugar like refined carbs are. The longer it takes the body to break food down into energy, the fuller you’ll feel for longer.

Quinoa is basically a blank canvas on which to create culinary delights. While it does have a flavor of its own, it’s perfect for pairing with all kinds of different flavors. In this dish, I did an Italian-style preparation but the sky’s really the limit with quinoa. It’s similar to the versatility of pasta but much better for you.

Dry, uncooked quinoa

The main flavors in this dish are sun-dried tomatoes and eggplant. I’ve also used shallots, garlic, pine nuts and rosemary as seasonings. This dish is vegan, but if you were so inclined, you could add some cheese like Parmesan or Pecorino. Just a little would go a long way. Let’s explore our flavors, shall we?

The sun-dried tomatoes you see below are nothing like the sun-dried tomatoes you get in a normal grocery store. These are from Florence, Italy. My friend Vera was kind enough to bring these back to me earlier this fall. To me, they almost look like dried chipotle peppers. All of the moisture is removed from them, and they are very dry, unlike the sun-dried tomatoes here in America where they’re still very moist and sticky. I wish I could get sun-dried tomatoes like this all the time.

Sun-dried tomato composite photo

Every time I eat eggplant, I realize more and more how much I love it. The flavor is excellent, and eggplant is another food item that’s very versatile and has so many uses. For this recipe, I’ve broiled the slices of eggplant then chopped them. It’s the exact preparation method I used for the Emeril’s Roasted Eggplant Muffuletta recipe. I kept the skin on the eggplant because that’s where most of the nutrients reside plus it helps to hold the eggplant together after broiling. If you wish to peel the eggplant, you will have a more mushy vegetable after broiling. Tread carefully!

Eggplant composite photo

So now that our main flavors are out of the way, let’s look at the goodies – our seasonings. I used garlic and shallot for the seasoning base. Finishing flavoring agents included fresh chopped rosemary and toasted pine nuts. These ingredients are all very good for you and provide a dynamic flavor booster to the tomatoes and eggplant.

Rosemary, pine nuts and garlic

Finally, a word about the cooking time versus prep time below. You will actually be cooking all the way through the prep time period. This is the type of dish where several cooked components come together to create a better final dish.

The sun-dried tomatoes need to soak in boiling hot water for 40 minutes. Always soak sun-dried tomatoes before cooking.  They’re much better tasting – less leathery and chewy. I suggest starting with soaking so that you can cook your quinoa in the left-over tomato water. The quinoa takes another 20 minutes to cook, which will bring you up to the full hour of prep time. It’s worth the wait to cook the quinoa with the tomato water. Definitely adds more flavor.

Overall the eggplant takes very little time to cook. While the sun-dried tomatoes are soaking, you can slice the eggplant, season it, broil it and then chop it. That will probably take 30 minutes total so your eggplant will just sit and wait for the quinoa to be done. Which is totally fine. So once you get on the stove to cook the finished product, it will only take a few minutes because you’re really just marrying up all the flavors at that point.

Roasted Eggplant and Sun-dried Tomato Quinoa

Now that you’re in the cooking zone, let’s move on to the recipe!

Yield: 2 servings

Roasted Eggplant and Sun-dried Tomato Quinoa Recipe

This quinoa recipe features sun-dried tomatoes and roasted eggplant along with garlic, shallots, rosemary and pine nuts. A delicious vegan recipe.


Sun-dried Tomatoes:
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup dried quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup light olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant, cut into 1/2" slices
Extra ingredients for final dish:
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary


Sun-dried Tomatoes:
  1. Soak tomatoes in the cup of boiling water for 40 minutes.
  2. Once done, reserve water for cooking the quinoa.
  3. Once cool enough to handle, diced the sun-dried tomatoes and set aside for final dish.
  1. Bring reserved tomato water, extra cup of water, kosher salt and quinoa to a boil.
  2. Cover pot and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Once this is done you should be ready to start the final dish.
  1. Combine salt, pepper and olive oil.
  2. Brush eggplant on both sides with olive oil mixture.
  3. Place in broiler and cook about 6 minutes per side. Watch carefully so eggplant doesn't burn.
  4. Once cool enough to handle, cut into large cubes/chunks.
Finishing the Dish:
  1. Heat olive oil over medium high heat.
  2. Add the shallots, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes.
  3. Cook about 3 minutes until fragrant and shallots have softened a bit.
  4. Stir in the pine nuts, rosemary and quinoa. Mix well to combine.
  5. Gently stir in the eggplant chunks and serve.

Prep:1 hour

Cook:5 min

Total:1 hour 5 min

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  • Hello! I just made this dish and it was kind of special… 🙂 The pine nuts go great with the eggplant and quinoa! I didn’t have any fresh rosemary, so I used a dry one, but it kind of didn’t come through… As the recepie says, I put two table spoons of salt in the eggplant seasoning and they were waaay to salty, so I had to put them in some water for a while, so the salt came off, before I put the eggplant in the final dish. The big surprise was that the final dish acctually tasted kind of sweet, not salty. Maybe slovenian dried tomatoes are different than the ones you used in the recepie, because they were really sweet and it would have been better to put half less of them in the dish. I will eat the rest of the dish cold, because it tastes better cold, because it is sooo sweet. Anyway, thanks for the recepie! 🙂 I will certainly cook this again, but with a lot less salt, less tomatoes and more rosemary, garlic, pine nuts and onions. I think I will also add fresh parsley! 😀 Thanks again and bravo!

    • Hi Tana, I’m glad you tried one of my recipes and thanks for the feedback. I rechecked the recipe and it calls for two teaspoons, not tablespoons, of salt. The little “t” is for teaspoon. I’m sorry if that wasn’t clear.

      Also, when you used dried rosemary, did you increase the amount? When you use dried versus fresh herbs, you need to use about 3x as much dried as is called for with fresh herbs. Dried herbs are much less potent.

      I hope you’ll make this recipe again with this feedback. 🙂 Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  • Paul

    I just made this. In fact I am eating it right now. The more bites I take the more I like this dish. It the roasted eggplant with the sun-dried tomatoes is an interesting combination. And the pine nuts are a must. Great idea! Definitely do three times the rosemary if you are using dried, which I did.


    • Thanks, Paul! I’m glad you liked the recipe 🙂 Thanks for visiting and for the kind words.

  • This recipe is SO wonderfully Mediterranean it has to be fantastic! How can we duplicate these Italian sun dried tomatoes? Since living in Italy for a year, I always keep a potted rosemary plant in my kitchen window year ’round so I always have a sprig to toss in a pasta pot (or quinoa pot), soup or sauce. Eggplant soaks up a lot of oil so putting it in the microwave for a couple of minutes , can reduce the amount if oil needed if one prefers a less rich version. I can’t wait to make this, maybe with the Commander’s Palace Salad! Thank you for sharing these lovely recipes! I’ve become a fan! 🙂

    • I wish I could duplicate them. I did a little digging online and found a brand from Italy on Amazon. May be worth the price overall. I feel so fortunate to have a huge rosemary bush in front of the house we live in – the landlord planted it and it’s gigantic! And thanks for the tip on the eggplant – I’d never thought to do that!

      And finally, I think this would pair wonderfully with the Commander’s Salad. Or even my apple, endive and candied walnut salad!

      thanks for your comment, Betty! Always appreciated when you stop by and say hi!

  • That’s not too bad for 3 pkgs . . . a little goes a long way. I think I’ll order them and let you know! Making this dish tonight . . can’t wait for the Italian tomatoes! 🙂

    • That’s great! Let me know how it all turned out! 🙂

  • Betty Christensen

    It was delicious!. We needed a little more protein that day so I added some navy beans. I also added a few sliced Greek olives a little white wine (for moisture). I have a hard time letting well enough alone on recipes =)
    Thanks again for the site. I’m telling friends about you.

    • Thanks so much, Betty! I love the changes you’ve made to the recipe. I’m like that, too. Often the recipes that end up on the site are recipes made with what I have on hand or what’s in season. I firmly believe every recipe can be changed or improved to suit the taste of the people eating it. Thanks for helping spread the word. Most appreciated! 🙂