- Quinoa: 1 cup
- Water: 2 cups
- Garlic: 2 cloves
- Baby Eggplants: 5
- Salt: 1/2 teaspoon
- Red or yellow Tomatoes: 2 cups
- Olive Oil: 4 tablespoons
- Coarse Black Pepper: 1/2 teaspoon
- Basil Leaves: 1 cup
- Cooking Oil: Spray
My mind used to go ‘blah’ or ‘ugh’ every time I thought of having a salad. Yes, that is how I used to feel about salads. Something pretty amazing needed to happen for me to really change my viewpoint and boy, did it happen? It happened to me when I went on a trip to South America a few years ago. Of course I went to enjoy the beautiful landscape but I guess you cannot really experience a new culture completely unless to taste its authentic food. I know many food items are available at an international level and you can enjoy many things in the comfort of your home but believe me, the authenticity is just not the same.
This was the event which brought to my life quinoa and my, my what a wonderful gift to humanity it is. The nature has blessed us with the simplicity of quinoa which originally belongs to South America and although is not a much flavored food item but it takes on other flavors with amazing accuracy and lends its texture to them. The result is pure awesomeness in the form of food. Now, how this had a reversal effect on my salad theory was that I came to know that here, back home; the most widespread use of quinoa is in the form of salads. There are a huge variety of quinoa salads each based on a delicious quinoa salad recipe.
The one that I am going to share is my own attempt at making a more savory salad that has quinoa at the heart of it along with some eggplants. I know eggplants usually are either your thing or a complete no-no so to add it to a salad was a slight risk. To make eggplant a champion in this quinoa salad recipe, I grilled it first. You can also slightly smoke it but ensure that it is cooked from the inside and is not hard to bite. It has to simply melt into your mouth just like the rest of the salad. It is a beautiful property of quinoa that it is light as well as you do not have to chew too much on it.
I have not specified any particular type of olive oil in this quinoa salad recipe and that is because the taste will vary a lot depending on the olive oil that you use and I would prefer you using the one which you have already tasted and use regularly. Trying a new recipe with the new basics is not always a good idea. Go ahead and add the olive oil that you normally use for dressing. Do not use olive oil on eggplants as the grilling turns out better with simple cooking oil. You use cooking oil in spray form, for the ease of it. I cook this recipe every eggplant season since the freshest eggplants taste the best. If you wish to, you can replace it with other vegetables. But I would suggest you charcoal these vegetables instead of grilling them unless they are hard or do not taste well slightly uncooked.
Steps to prepare eggplant delight quinoa salad:
- To cook quinoa on stove, add dry quinoa and water in an open pan or skillet on high heat. Once it comes to a boil, let the quinoa absorb the water on low heat. Remove the heat after 15 minutes. Use a fork to fluff it. Let it cool.
- Do not peel the eggplants, simple cut them into halves. Grill the eggplants on both sides in a grilling pan. They should become marked as seen in the final recipe image.
- Coat the eggplants and tomatoes with olive oil and quinoa. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well before plating.
This can also serve as a great mixture to be had with bread or to be turned into a wrap. This recipe is much more than a salad.