I’m having a love affair with eggplant lately. I guess I never realized how versatile it is. I always knew it was nutritious but didn’t see a big variety of cooking options until I came across this recipe. It inspired me to add a couple of ingredients and tweak some others. What I got was a delicious new eggplant recipe that happens to be gluten-free and vegetarian.
You can eat this dish plain on it’s own, add some feta or olives (kalamata or black) or both, top a veggie burger or have it as a side dish. All of the ingredients bring out the delicious flavor of the roasted eggplant. This made me like eggplant even more.
1½ cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained if not using pre-rinsed variety
3 cups vegetable broth
1 large eggplant, cubed (about 1 inch cubes)
8 - 10 ounces of baby spinach (I used a 6 oz. bag and a half of another 6 oz. bag)
½ cup crumbled feta
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons coconut aminos (can sub with soy sauce but it wouldn't be gluten free)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon onion salt
2 teaspoons minced garlic
½ teaspoon sweet basil, dried
pinch salt and pepper
"Optional: ¼ cup sliced kalamata olives or black olives
Preheat oven to 420 degrees.
Cover a cooking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray (I used coconut oil spray).
In a large bowl combine cubed eggplant, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Make sure eggplant is coated in olive oil.
Place eggplant on cookie sheet, bake for 10 minutes. Stir and bake for another 10 minutes.
Once cooked, set aside.
While eggplant is baking, you can prepare the quinoa.
QUINOA (if you haven't it before, this is my go-to technique):
Bring quinoa and vegetable broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 - 20 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes. Once the little sprouts appear on the quinoa and all the broth has been absorbed, remove from heat and set aside.
While your eggplant is cooking and quinoa is simmering, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 teaspoon garlic. Saute for a minute until lightly browned.
Add spinach and saute until just wilted.
Once eggplant is done, remove from cookie sheet and put in skillet with spinach, reduce heat to low. Saute for a minute, stirring occasionally.
Add coconut aminos, dijon mustard and onion salt to skillet and combine with eggplant and spinach.
Add cooked quinoa and combine. Saute everything for a couple of minutes until everything is distributed evenly.
If you choose to add kalamata or black olives, you can stir them in now or you can use them as a garnish, it's up to you.
You can either stir in the feta now or use it as a garnish, that's up to you too.
I can’t say enough about this dish. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! It’s so deliciously Mexican. When I got to finally taste it – it was muy bueno!!! I cannot stop eating it. It has all the flavors of a savory Mexican dish. Plus it’s paleo (if you omit the cheese), gluten free and vegetarian.
There are tons of veggies and lots of protein from the quinoa and black beans. Really filling! I didn’t miss the meat at all, I found the inspiration for this amazingly delicious dish here and made a couple of tweaks to boost up the protein level and veggie factor.
This was so easy to throw together and can be eaten on it’s own with a little sour cream, in a gluten free (or regular) tortilla or taco shell or top lettuce and make a delicious Mexican salad. I added cheese on the top because my husband is not paleo and this was a good way to get him to eat this. Turns out, he LOVED it! He really really loved it.
You could very easily make this vegan also by using vegan sour cream and vegan cheese. Or omit them all together. It still rocks!
**I ALWAYS RECOMMEND USING ORGANIC INGREDIENTS WHENEVER POSSIBLE**
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 package cherry tomatoes sliced (seeds and liquid discarded, then dice remaining tomatoes) or a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes - drained
1 cup frozen sweet corn
¼ cup green onions (white part), reserve the green part for garnish if desired
2 - 15 ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 - 2.25 ounce can sliced black olives
1 - 8 ounce bag Mexican blend shredded cheese (can sub with vegan cheese that melts) Cheese is not Paleo so if you are going true Paleo, omit the cheese.
1¼ Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place quinoa and vegetable broth in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, cover. Simmer for 15 - 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes so that it doesn't burn. Once quinoa is done, put in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
While the quinoa is cooking, using a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium/high heat and add garlic. Saute garlic for a minute to brown, give it a few stirs so not to burn.
Add corn, bell peppers, jalapeno, cumin and chili powder to skillet and saute for 3 - 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes and lime juice, saute for another 3 minutes.
Once everything is sauteed, add mixture to the quinoa and combine.
Add cans of black beans and onions to the quinoa mixture, combine.
Pour everything in to a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Top with black olives then cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes.
*Optional: top with a dollop of sour cream or fill a tortilla or top a bed of lettuce for a taco salad.