Eggplant Quinoa Salad and Baba Ganoush

Apparently I’m on an eggplant kick this week. My next wholesome-healthy dinner was eggplant and apple quinoa salad and miso soup with brown rice and silken egg tofu. I like egg tofu better than regular tofu, it’s slightly sweeter and custardy, and when the dashi was ready, I simply spooned pieces straight from the container rather than messing about with chopping small cubes.

The quinoa salad was rather simple, but amazingly tasty. One of those surprising recipes that I looked at and thought, hmm, well, that sounds decent, I’ll try it, and then I was surprised at HOW DAMN GOOD IT IS. I brought the leftovers for lunch today and it’s seriously making me want to do a happy dance at my desk. Considering my work persona is that of a grumpy robot who has been anonymously suggested to “make more friends,” something that makes me want to do a happy dance in a professional setting has to be seriously delectable.

The recipe calls for 1 cup of quinoa, cooked in 2 cups chicken stock, 1/2 green apple, eggplant, olive oil, cider vinegar, cumin, cinnamon, and salt and pepper.

I forgot the stock but mixed a pinch of chicken bouillon into the pot as the quinoa boiled. My fruit stand didn’t have any green apples and what they did have looked kind of withered and were expensive, so I bought fresh dates instead (also a nice snack post-workout pre-dinner).

I roasted the eggplant chopped into 1-inch cubes tossed in olive oil at 180C for about 25 minutes until golden and soft. I tossed them in a bowl with the quartered and pitted dates, the drained quinoa, 1 clove finely minced garlic, and a handful of fresh, torn coriander leaves. Then, I whisked one tsp. of cider vinegar with 2 Tbs olive oil, a pinch of cumin, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice, and mixed it all together.Fresh dates are a good substitute for the apple, crisp and sweet and subtle. Serve warmed or cold, and get ready for ALL of the noms and happy feelings. IMG_0541

I had bought several eggplant at April Gourmet, so I roasted it all at once, and what I didn’t mix into the quinoa, I decided to turn into baba ganoush and eat it as a snack at work instead of chips or crackers and cheese, which, while tasty, probably isn’t the best snack to have every day. I actually spent a good amount of time Monday evening washing, peeling, and chopping a boatload of fresh veggies and separating into bags for the rest of the week. Green pepper, carrot, celery and cucumber neatly packed in ziploc to take to work or to eat when home. A much better option than devouring an entire baguette with butter, which I am slightly ashamed to admit to doing last Sunday, coming home from tutoring after having eaten nothing but oatmeal that morning.

The 2 eggplant for the dip I roasted quartered, and then scooped out of the skins all creamy and delicious. I can’t believe I refused to eat eggplant for the first 22 years of my life. Guess I’m making up for it now. Anyway, put all the eggplant innards into a bowl, and with a fork, mash it up, and then stir in 1/4 cup of tahini, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, 3-4 garlic cloves finely minced, cumin, salt, olive oil and chopped up coriander. Some recipes add yogurt, which I think I would do but didn’t have any on had. If you can control yourself, let it sit in the fridge overnight, and the flavors develop and meld and get all delicious.  Then, go at it with pita or crudite. Nom. Healthy, tasty, an alternative to hummus if you just can’t stand to blend one more chickpea (hey, sometimes it happens), and way better for you than blue cheese or ranch dressing.

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