Eggplant and Quinoa

Here is a pretty quick one and just in time as more and more eggplant shows up at farmers markets. I am going out of town in a few days so I looked to see what I had in the fridge that I needed to use.

Here is what I found: spring red onions, fresh shallots,  green chiles, eggplant-two types, zucchini, basil, cooked quinoa, mixed greens

And that was how this recipe, and great lunch, came to be.

In a good size frying pan warm some olive oil and then add sliced onion and shallots-you can use any kind of onion that you like and if you don’t have shallots it won’t matter. While they start to cook cut the eggplant-you can cube it or slice it- I did both for more variety. Chop the chiles, using as much as your taste calls for, you can even use sweet chiles with eggplant.

Once the onions begin to color a bit add the eggplant and chile and some salt. I turned the heat up a bit just to get them started, gave the ingredients a stir and then turned down the heat to a med low and covered the pan.

Slice the zucchini and chop the basil. I also added some sage just because this is my only herb that came back from last year so I use it often.

time to add the zucchini and herbs

In a few minutes check the eggplant and if it is about half way cooked add the zucchini on top and the herbs and a touch more salt.

Turn the heat up to medium, toss all of the vegies and cover the pan. After a few minutes put the cooked quinoa on top, cover for a few minutes and then stir it all up and enjoy.

You can use any grain that you have or you can just have the vegies. Brown rice would have been good or a basmati.

This is pretty simple and you can do basically the same with most other vegetables.

Once it was ready I had to decide how I would have this. I often cook vegetables like this, add a grain and then cook a scrambled egg and add the vegetables. Over the years this has become my go-to dish when I am really busy but want to eat well. Today since I had the greens I decided to have this on top of a bed of lettuce-I added a few pieces of avocado and topped it with sprouts too. Since I had whole wheat tortillas I also tried some rolled up in a wrap.

You can vary this basic recipe and take it in a few directions.

Add some diluted miso while cooking and you have a more asian version.

You can use some curry seasonings (my current favorite is Whole Foods Pondicherry Curry Powder) at the beginning of the cooking when you are sautéing the onions-this way the flavor will penetrate all of the ingredients- and then when it is finished add some raisins and coconut and you will have another option.

Let your imagination go and see what combinations you come up with.

Using just a few ingredients and preparing everything as you go along makes it fast and easy. It is great to have as a leftover. Enjoy it as a cold salad, make wraps or maybe even try my scrambled egg version-I will tomorrow with my leftovers.

As always, if possible try to shop at a farmers market, or join a CSA, or even better grow your own-you can be like me and start with just some herbs. If you shop at the market look for pesticide free and be sure that what you buy at the market is not genetically modified. You can always tell if produce is organic because the PLU code will start with a nine.

I hope that this inspires you to get even more creative in your kitchen and to buy local and organic when you can.