Listen up aubergine-adverse. Here’s an eggplant recipe that fully disguises my favorite purple vegetable. A warm lentil quinoa eggplant salad. The secret is always in the sauce. The trick… peeled eggplant that is slow cooked in a tomato-y sauce with a little chili and cayenne until tender. Okay, of course I could recognise that there is eggplant in this dish, but my favourite Schwabe hat to ask me what was in this delicious tasting dish. He loved it. Here’s to converting the aubergine adverse, one dish at a time.
Delicious warm flavors and freshness in the same bite
One of my favorite thing about this dish is the fresh flavors of green onion, parsley and baby roma tomatoes which are added to this dish at the last-minute. They work wonderfully with the deep smoky flavor of the eggplant and earthy flavor of the lentils. Though, I can also imagine that sautéed cherry tomatoes would be a nice addition with their warm, juicy sweetness. The flavors in this dish would also work well with chestnuts. Precooked vacuum-packed chestnuts are available in your local supermarket and have a great way up transforming any dish into something a little more festive for the winter season.
This lentil quinoa eggplant salad uses simple ingredients and is easy to prepare
Even though you need three pots for the recipe it’s just as easy as making any one-pot meal. Everything pretty much cooks at the same time. Boil the lentils, boil the quinoa, make the sauce – all at the same time, or in advance. And for anyone who is a super organized planner (or thinks this sounds like a juggling act), then you could easily cook the lentils and quinoa hours before, the night before, however you like. Just be sure to bring everything to room temperature before preparing this tasty lentil quinoa eggplant salad.
1 cup uncooked beluga lentils (200 g)
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (200 g)
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 small yellow onions, finely chopped
2 small eggplants (aubergine), peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cut into thin slices (ca. 500 g)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon chili powder (mild)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups of water (375 ml)
5 green onions, white and light green part only, thinly sliced
1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
250 g cherry or mini Roma tomatoes, quartered
1. Cook the lentils according to package instructions. When done, remove from the heat and drain if needed. Set aside. TIP: I recommend tasting the lentils after about 25 minutes to see if they are the consistency you want — more firm (al dente) is best for salads.
2. At the same time, in a separate saucepan, cook the quinoa. Bring the quinoa and twice the amount of water to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, in a large deep-bottomed nonstick skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, as well as the eggplant and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt and 1 1/2 cups of water (375 ml). Bring to a simmer and cook, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 25-30 minutes or until the eggplant is very tender and no liquid remains in the pan.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the cooked lentils and quinoa. Add the green onions, tomatoes and parsley and stir again to incorporate.
5. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!
PS) Leftovers make a great take to work lunch! A Weck jar is my favorite thing for transporting food to-go. And a little secret, I actually ate this for breakfast the next day. Loved it that much!
NOTES: I intended to make this dish with only with beluga lentils, however didn’t have enough in my pantry so used a mix of half French Puy lentils and beluga lentils. They work great together and since they cooking time is similar you can cook them in the same saucepan.
If you make this Lentil Quinoa Eggplant Salad recipe, I’d love to hear how it turned out for you! Be sure to rate it and leave a comment below to let me know! Especially if you have tips for other readers. Or take a picture and tag me on Instagram @ellerepublic and don’t foget to hashtag #ellerepublic so I don’t miss it!