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