Delicious and Nutritious Recipe Series: Quinoa and Grilled Eggplant Casserole

As the turkey rests happily in our bellies and Thanksgiving winds down, it may be difficult not to fall into a leftovers and fatty foods hibernation in preparation for the winter. However, eating healthy doesn’t always need to be a burden, and can even be exciting when making something new.On the menu today is Quinoa and Grilled Eggplant casserole, perfect for dinner after classes and even better to take to school as leftovers to avoid the tempting fast food on campus. Quinoa (pronounced kin-wah) is a nutritious grain from South America, and contains more protein than any other grain, not to mention has a low carbohydrate content. Eggplant is both filling and satisfying without adding many calories and has a high fiber content.


What you’ll need:
1 cup (250 mL) quinoa
3 or 4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 1⁄2 cups (625 mL) vegetable broth
(low sodium is best)
2 baby eggplants, cut lengthwise into quarters
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
1 red onion, cut into chunks
2 tsp (10 mL) olive oil
1 cup (250 mL) cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1⁄4 cups (300 mL) tomato juice
6 oz (175 g) light goat-cheese log with herbs
Salt and pepper
1.     Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Put the quinoa in a sieve or small-holed strainer and rinse thoroughly under cold running water. Place in a saucepan with the thyme sprigs and broth, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently until all the broth has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes.
2.     Meanwhile, heat a grill pan. Brush the eggplant, red pepper and onion pieces with the olive oil, then cook them on the grill pan until softened and lightly charred, about 4 to 5 minutes.
3.     Put the whole tomatoes on the grill pan and cook until they are just beginning to burst their skins, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
4.     When the quinoa is cooked, place it in an ovenproof dish. Add the grilled vegetables, garlic and tomato juice, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
5.     Arrange slices of the goat cheese on top of the quinoa mixture. Cover with foil and bake until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Serve hot.
Serves 4.

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