Spice Roasted Eggplant with Yellow Quinoa + Cucumber Tomato Salad
Why we love it:
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1⁄8 teaspoon Cinnamon (or use ground clove if you have that on hand)
- 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric
- 1 Eggplant (large)
- 1 Lemon (zest and juice)
- 21⁄2 teaspoons Kosher Salt (divided)
- 1⁄4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)
- 11⁄4 cups Quinoa
- 2 cups Water
- 1 cup Plain Yogurt
- 2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
- 1 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon White Sugar
- 2 Roma Tomatos (or cherry tomatoes, halved)
- 1 Cucumber
- 1⁄4 bunch Cilantro (fresh)
- 1 Tablespoon Sriracha (or hot sauce of your choice, optional)
1. PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 425
2. SPICE BLEND
In a small bowl, stir together the ground spices: paprika, cumin, cinnamon, dried oregano, turmeric.
Dice eggplant into 1-2” cubes. Toss in a large bowl.
Zest about ½ of the lemon over the eggplant, then zest the rest into another small bowl. Juice the lemon in the same way – ½ over the eggplant and the other ½ into the small bowl.
Add all but 1 teaspoon of the spice blend to the eggplant.
Add about 1 teaspoon of salt to the eggplant and add all but 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil. Turn to coat evenly with the spices. Set aside to use in a few minutes, or cover and marinate for up to 2 days.
In a medium pot with a lid, combine the quinoa, water, and about 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the reserved teaspoon of spice blend. Bring to a boil over high heat, then stir well and reduce to medium-low. Cover partially with the lid. Continue simmering for about 14 minutes, stirring once or twice. Then, when the water is mostly evaporated below the line of the grains, stir and cover. Steam for another 5 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let sit as long as you need.
5. COOK EGGPLANT
Place the eggplant on a lined baking sheet in one layer. Place in the top third of the oven and bake for about 18 - 28 minutes or until cooked through. Be sure to stir every 5 - 8 minutes to prevent any of the sides from burning. Charring and browning is good, but burnt hard edges are not.
*Often when people dislike eggplant, it’s because they’ve been served undercooked eggplant. It should be melt in your mouth soft, NOT like a sponge in texture*
6. WHITE SAUCE
Measure the yogurt and mayo into the bowl with the lemon zest and juice. Stir well to combine. Season with a pinch of salt.
In a medium bowl combine the cider vinegar, sugar, and a final pinch of salt. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Whisk in the remaining olive oil. Slice the tomatoes into wedges and the cucumber into rounds. Add to the dressing. Coarsely tear or chop the cilantro and add that, too. Toss to coat with the dressing.
Serve the eggplant with yellow quinoa and salad on the side. Top generously with white sauce and hot sauce to taste.