Roasted Eggplant and Quinoa Salad with Pear and Mint

If there is one vegetable that makes its way into my shopping trolley weekly yet by the end of the week is still standing, it’s almost always Eggplant. Now don’t get me wrong, I love eggplant but for some reason, I am often apprehensive about using it up in week-day/week-night style cooking. I’m forever holding out for a veggie bake.

The reason for this is probably something you have likely encountered yourself, that is if you under prep eggplant it can taste rubbery and unpleasant. the trick to eggplant is ‘sweating’ it or roasting it for a longer duration.

This week on Social Media, I have been talking a little more about food waste and its impact on the planet. Although I think I’m pretty good at using up most of my weekly produce, I am definitely guilty of tossing an eggplant or two.

roasted eggplant and quinoa salad

An easy solution would be not to purchase eggplant but I have come to realise, that is just not an option for me. I’m forever drawn to the humble eggplant or Aubergine as my husband prefers to call it.

So to get around meals taking a long time to prepare and to avoid the risk of rubbery underdone bitter eggplant, I’ve decided to remove the hurdle, the skin. By peeling Eggplant you significantly reduce not only the risk of a rubbery outcome but also cut the cooking time by more than half.

Eggplant is delicious and an incredibly versatile ingredient in cooking. I love eggplant in this roasted salad, paired with sweet roasted capsicum, fresh pear, peppery rocket and quinoa.

It’s become one of my favourite salads to meal prep with. And I love to mix up some of the ingredients like swapping pear for crisp apple or toasted almonds for walnuts. it’s one of those salads that you can be flexible with using up what you have in the fridge.

The dressing is made up using natural coconut yoghurt, a splash of olive oil and lots of fresh lemon juice. I love to pour some onto the salad and mix through and reserve a little for adding extra blobs of yum as you serve it up individually.

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Roasted Eggplant and Quinoa Salad with Pear and Mint

Course Mains, Salad
Cuisine Australian
Cook Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup quinoa cooked with 1 cup of water
  • 1 Large eggplant peeled and diced
  • 2 Red capsicum diced
  • 1 Red onion finely sliced
  • 1 small head of broccoli broken into tiny florets
  • 1 Pear sliced finely
  • 30 g Fresh mint torn finely
  • 1 Handful of fresh rocket
  • 1 Handful of raisins or sultana

Spices

  • 1 tsp Cumin ground
  • ½ tsp Paprika
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • pepper

Dressing

  • ¾ cup Natural coconut yoghurt
  • 6 tbsp Fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Serve with
  • Extra lemon juice walnuts or silvered Almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Add eggplant, half of the red onion, garlic cloves that are unpeeled and red capsicum to a baking tray and add spice ingredients. Mix to evenly coat veggies. Place in oven and Set the timer for 30 mins. At the 10 minute mark, remove the tray and add the broccoli, give it stir and a little extra olive oil if needed and bake for the remaining 10 mins. Once done, remove and set aside to cool. At this stage pick the garlic out for use in the dressing.
  2. While the veggies are roasting place 1/2 cup of quinoa into a pot with 1 cup of water. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Prepare the dressing by squeezing roasted garlic out from the two cloves then, whisking all ingredients together and setting aside.
  4. Once the roasted veggies and quinoa are done, allow to cool to room temp before mixing together. Add in the extra red onion, mint, rocket, pear, raisins and nuts along with 3/4 of the dressing. toss to coat.
  5. Dollop blobs of the remaining dressing onto individual serves and serve with extra nuts if desired and fresh lemon wedges.

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