To convince Joe to have a salad is the hardest thing to do at first. Together to experience and try our recipes to cater both of our preference, surprisingly it works for both. We came across this Roasted Harissa Eggplant and decided to combine it with our favourite Spinach Quinoa. making it into a wholesome brunch.
Side note, did you know that eggplant is a fruit? We know. Who knew?? Or maybe I’m the last to know. Here I am all proud of myself for eating a veggie-loaded meal for dinner and it turns out it’s a fruit! Well, it’ll always be a veggie in my heart. Especially since it’s loaded with fibre, vitamin B, folate, and all kinds of nutrition! (Not that that’s what makes a veggie a veggie…but you know what I mean!)
Eggplant, (like and kale and beets) is one of those vegetables people tend to have pretty strong opinions about. You either love it or hate it and that’s that.
I can certainly understand why eggplant can be hard to love, it so often can be bland and spongy when not prepared correctly and quite heavy as well since it soaks up oil so readily. But just like the aforementioned kale and beets, the key to transforming eggplant haters into eggplant lovers is in the preparation. In this case, the secret is to heat.
Roasting eggplant in the oven is so effortless (no salting necessary) and you end up with eggplant that’s delicate and tender, not oily. The screamingly high heat of the oven transforms insides from spongy to wonderfully silky. While eggplant comes in a variety of shapes and sizes we like to stick to the smaller ones for roasting so that they fully cook evenly throughout. Look for ones that have smooth shiny skin and are firm to the touch (soft ones will be spongy).
The eggplant is incredibly soft and moist on the inside, and the harissa has a strong kick. The harissa paste has many uses – it is deliciously brushed over lamb chops or smeared over grilled fish – but this dish is big and bold enough without any meat.
We’ve added a harissa glaze before going into the oven to accent the mellow creaminess of the eggplant. Honey helps the cut surface of the eggplant caramelize under the heat while the harissa brings plenty of spice to offset the sweetness. There’s also garlic and cumin to round out those North African inspired flavours.
What you end up with is a dish that’s vibrant with flavour and fantastically creamy. Sprinkle it with some fresh mint to finish or serve it on a bed of lightly dressed greens with some crumbled goat cheese on top for a more substantial meal.
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Roasted Eggplant with Spinach Quinoa Salad
These Roasted Harissa Eggplant Halves make for a healthy and delicious dinner recipe that’s gluten-free and dairy-free!
3 eggplants, halved
4 Tbsp olive oil
6 Tbsp harissa sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp coriander, ground
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 cup dairy-free yogurt, plain
fresh parsley ((optional))
1 cup Spinach
2 tbsp blasmic vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Cut each eggplant in half and cut lines into the flesh side of each one.
- Brush 2 Tbsp olive oil and the harissa sauce evenly over the eggplant halves and place each eggplant cut side down on a baking sheet lined with foil.
- Roast for 30 minutes. At the meantime, cook the quinoa base on the package instruction.
- Brush the remaining olive oil over the flesh side of the halves and place back in the oven (cut side down) for another 15 minutes (or until soft).
- While the eggplant is roasting, mix the cooked lentils with the spices.
- Remove the eggplant halves from the oven and top each one with dairy free yogurt, cooked quinoa, spinach, salt, pepper, and parsley (optional). Drizzle it with blasmic vinegar.