Who doesn’t love eggplant Parmesan? Raise your hands.
Ok, let me check...apparently everybody does, not surprisingly.
Even kids who don’t eat veggies can’t resist their Parm, and never make a peep about the eggplant in the first place - pretty awesome.
Eggplant Parm is pure comfort food, or (let me rephrase that) it’s comfort food at it best.
And as you might have noticed, fall is fast approaching (yesterday morning was like in the 50s ‘round here, brr...) Which means we need warmth and comfort food, like a piping hot bowl of oatmeal for breakfast or something with pumpkin OR eggplant Parm.
I like to make a light version of eggplant Parmesan. No frying, less cheese, just as tasty.
Now picture this, my a beloved eggplant Parm, in a casserole, with quinoa.
I know, you are just lost for words.
Let me help you out then; this dish has all the flavors of eggplant Parm without the hassle.
All you need to do is to make a delicious eggplant tomato sauce, mix it with quinoa, top it with some Romano cheese and Parmesan. Pop in the oven and there you have it: Pure yumminess!
Look right there, you see that? A nice crust of good cheese to make you crave. Underneath, steaming hot quinoa.What’s not to love about quinoa? I’m in love with it; and I think most of the world is. It’s quick, it’s good, it’s hearty and it’s healthy.
Gluten-free, high in protein, calcium and iron, and a good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. It may seem that I used a ton of cheese. I really didn’t. Plus it’s Parmesan (real Parmesan-Reggiano), one the best cheeses around, read here if you don’t believe me. To conclude, you need this in your life. Trust.
Eggplant Parmesan Quinoa Casserole Print this recipe!
Second time's the charm - this casserole will be better the next day or even the day after that.
2 cups cooked quinoa (you’ll need about 1 cup / 6 oz / 170 gr of uncooked quinoa)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large eggplant (about 1 lb / 453 gr), cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
a handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 29 oz / 822 gr can (good tasting) tomato sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup / 1.8 oz / 50 gr Parmesan cheese, grated*
½ cup / 0.9 oz / 25 gr Romano cheese, grated*
*Vegans: sub this with vegan cheese
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C) and lightly grease a 8x8 baking dish.
Fill a large bowl with cold water, add one teaspoon of sea salt and stir until it dissolves completely. Place eggplant cubes into the water and let sit for 20 minutes to draw out the bitterness.
Drain the eggplant cubes and pat them dry.
Heat olive oil in a large non-stick pan (or skillet) over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and ½ teaspoon of sea salt and saute’ for 6 to 7 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
Add eggplant cubes and saute’ for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, making sure that the eggplant doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Add tomato sauce, basil and ½ teaspoon of sea salt, turn the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 25 to 30 minutes.
In the meantime, in another dry non-stick pan (or skillet) over medium-high heat, toast quinoa with red pepper flakes, black pepper and a pinch of salt for 2 minutes. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine quinoa, eggplant sauce and ½ cup of Parmesan cheese.
Transfer quinoa mixture to baking dish, top with remaining Parmesan and Romano cheeses.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes and then turn the broiler on and broil for 1 to 2 minutes and carefully brown the top.
Remove from the oven and top with fresh oregano leaves (or basil ribbons). Allow to sit 10 minutes and then serve.
As noted above this casserole will be better the next day or even the day after that.