This dish combines two things I didn’t eat much until recently. Eggplant languished on my short list of veggies that I don’t like for many years. But if you are doing a farmshare, there’s a lot of eggplant, so I gave it another try. I found grilling the eggplant to be crucial for me, adding a nice caramelized flavor. Now I have an appreciation for the substance this vegetable can add to a dish. Salting the eggplant as described in the instructions is also very helpful.
The first couple of times I made quinoa, I didn’t like the way it came out. I didn’t try it again for many years, but gave it another shot after having quinoa preparations I liked a few times eating out. I find the key with quinoa is combining it with enough flavorful foods, as it doesn’t have a lot of taste by itself. This new Quinoa with Grilled Eggplant, Spinach and Feta is a great example of a quinoa dish with plenty of taste!
I was initially going to just toss the grilled eggplant with onions and feta, but to make it a more nutritionally well-rounded dish, I also added a couple handfuls of baby spinach. That was easier than making a separate green salad! The spinach wilted a bit just from the heat of the grilled onions and just cooked quinoa. So now the ingredients sound like they could be a Greek pizza topping or something, but here they make for a flavorful quinoa dish.
We had this quinoa dish as a side along with some Juicy Grilled Chicken Breasts. This quinoa with grilled eggplant is certainly hearty enough to be a vegetarian main dish, too. I wrote the recipe as a side; if serving as a main, I would say this would serve two people in the proportions given. Whether as a side or on its own, I hope you give this tasty dish a try and add to your quinoa repertoire!
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed in cold water until the water runs clear
- 2 cups of water
- 1 large eggplant, sliced
- ⅓ cup feta cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Spread the eggplant slices out on a plate and sprinkle with salt. Let the eggplant sit with the salt for at least 20 minutes.
- Preheat a grill to medium high.
- Toss the onion with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Spread out on a grill pan, and place on grill.
- Grill the onion, stirring occasionally, until it browns and softens. This should take about 10 minues.
- Remove the grilled onion from the grill, and scrape into a bowl. Add the baby spinach, and stir in a tablespoon olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.
- Start the quinoa as the onion grills. Heat the water to boiling, stir in the quinoa. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer covered for 16 to 20 minutes until the water is absorbed.
- When the quinoa is done, stir the onion spinach mixture into the quinoa. Cover to keep warm as the eggplant grills if it isn't done yet.
- Start the eggplant grilling while the quinoa is cooking. Coat the grill with oil spray. Spread the eggplant out in a grill pan or directly on the grill if you have large slices. Grill the eggplant for 5 minutes, then turn over and grill for another 4 or 5 minutes until tender.
- Remove the eggplant from the grill, then stir into the quinoa. Stir in the feta cheese. Serve and enjoy as a side dish or vegetarian main.
Looking for more tasty and healthy quinoa recipes? Try Turkey Sausage with Kale and Quinoa.