Mediterranean Grilled Eggplant with Quinoa

For those of you that may know me, I am a HUGE mediterranean food lover. There is just something beautiful and simple about biting into a fresh yet savory meal consisting primarily of vegetables! Leave it to the Europeans to put a special limelight on vegetables that would make any meat lover question their devotion. And, I always look for more opportunities to include more vegetables into my diet.

cherry-tomatoes-523100_1280Introducing, the Mediterranean grilled eggplant with quinoa dish! Trust me, it’s just as tasty as it sounds!

This recipe was actually inspired by a Pinterest post I found while pin-surfing, with a few adjustments; I decided to try my hand at making grilled eggplant “steaks” with a Mediterranean flair of grape tomatoes, basil, and goat cheese atop a bed of quinoa.

The method I used to “grill” my eggplant was with my handy dandy broil feature on my oven, which I now fully appreciate, especially since I did not have access to a grill, and didn’t want to wait 45 minutes for these eggplants to cook. Plus, I was rather impressed that I was able to still get some grill marks to show on the eggplant slices!

Grab your aprons, peeps; it’s time to cook!

cheese-567367_1280What you Need:

  • 1 Large eggplant (cut length-wise into 1″ thick slices)
  • 2 cups or 10 oz of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 oz of goat cheese (or by preference :p), cut into tiny cubes
  • coarse salt
  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup of quinoa

Instructions:

Quinoa Portion

  1. Bring 2 cups of water, with some salt, to a boil. Add one cup of quinoa to the pot and cover with a lid. Bring pot to a simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Eggplant Portion

  1. Generously salt both sides of eggplant slices, place in colander, and let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse and then pat dry.
  2. Prepare broil pan, or a pan with cooking spray to avoid sticking.
  3. Ensure there is a rack on the topmost portion of the oven (my oven’s broiler is on the top; if you’re oven has a bottom broiler, you would need to set the rack at the lowest rack setting). Here is a good article to better explain broiler types.
  4. Set oven to “broil”, and place prepared pan onto topmost shelf of the oven. Close oven door and allow heat to build.
  5. Place eggplant slices onto the hot pan, and keep the oven door slightly open for easy monitoring. NOW: this part is where you will need your full attention on the eggplant slices. Because broiling is exposing the food at a very high temperature, your food will cook faster, and may burn if you are not watching.
  6. Once one side of eggplant is starting to brown (2-3 minutes), turn eggplant slices over and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes (KEEP OVEN DOOR SLIGHTLY OPEN!). Remove from pan and allow slices to cool.

Topping Portion

  1. Add cherry tomatoes, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and goat cheese into a bowl, and lightly stir your savory concoction until everything is well mixed.

Assemble and Plate!

  1. Plate 2 scoops of quinoa onto a plate. Then add one eggplant slice, and top it with your tomato concoction. Sprinkle some basil to top it off. Eat and enjoy!

grilledeggplant


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