Quinoa with chargrilled eggplants

    Quinoa with chargrilled eggplants

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    1hour10min


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    Quinoa, a nutritious grain from South America, has a texture rather like split lentils when cooked. It makes a great alternative to rice. Here it is combined with chargrilled eggplants, capsicums, cherry tomatoes and onions, then baked with tangy goat's cheese on the top. Serve with a mixed leaf salad.

    Ingredients
    Serves: 4 

    • 1 cup (195 g) quinoa
    • 3–4 sprigs of fresh thyme
    • 3 cups (750 ml) vegetable stock, preferably homemade
    • 250 g baby eggplants, cut lengthways into quarters
    • 1 red capsicum, deseeded and cut into chunks
    • 1 red onion, cut into chunks
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 200 g cherry tomatoes
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 300 ml tomato juice
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 goat's cheese log (about 120 g), cut into 8 slices (choose a herbed one if you can find it)

    Directions
    Preparation:15min  ›  Cook:55min  ›  Ready in:1hour10min 

    1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Put the quinoa in a sieve and rinse thoroughly under cold running water. Place in a sauce-pan with the thyme sprigs and stock, and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes or until all the stock has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender.
    2. Meanwhile, heat a ridged chargrill pan. Brush the eggplants, red capsicum and onion with the olive oil, then cook them on the grill pan (in batches if necessary) for 4–5 minutes or until softened and lightly charred on both sides. Transfer to a plate.
    3. Put the whole tomatoes on the grill pan and cook for about 2 minutes or until they are just beginning to burst their skins. Remove from the heat.
    4. When the quinoa is cooked, tip it into an ovenproof dish. Add the chargrilled vegetables, garlic and tomato juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Fold together gently.
    5. Arrange the slices of goat's cheese on top of the quinoa mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Serve hot.

    Some more ideas…

    *Quinoa with fresh tuna: Marinate 2 fresh tuna steaks (about 300 g in total) in 1 tbsp olive oil, the grated zest of 1 lemon and ¼ tsp chilli flakes. Meanwhile, brush 125 g asparagus tips and 2 zucchini, sliced on the diagonal, with 1 tbsp olive oil and chargrill for 30 seconds on each side. Cook the cherry tomatoes as in the main recipe. Chargrill the tuna for 2 minutes on each side. Combine the quinoa, vegetables, garlic and tomato juice in an ovenproof dish. Break the tuna into pieces and scatter over the top. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
    *If you can't find baby eggplants, use Japanese eggplant (small, slender eggplant) and cut each one into 3 or 4 lengths.

    Health points

    *Quinoa is low in fat, high in starchy carbohydrate and has a higher protein content than other grains.
    *Eggplants are filling and satisfying without adding many kilojoules – just 80 kJ per 100 g.
    *Goat's cheese is a good source of protein and calcium, and it has a lower fat content than tasty cheese.

    Each serving provides

    GI estimate low.

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