September 18, 2013

Eggplant Parmesan Quinoa Casserole

Eggplant Parmesan Quinoa Casserole

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 its 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.

EggPlant and Parmesan
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.

Sauteing eggplant
Let me help you out then; this dish has all the flavors of eggplant Parm without the hassle.

Looking good...
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.
Eggplant Parmesan Quinoa Casserole
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
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.

Ingredients 
Serves 6

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

Directions

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.

Nutrition facts

One serving yields 274 calories, 11 grams of fat, 29.6 grams of carbs and 13.5 grams of protein.

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30 comments:

  1. OMG can't wait to try this!

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  2. Oh my- I love this eggplant parm/quinoa casserole! What a great dish for kids AND adults who are not big fans of veggies! BRILLIANT!

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    1. Thanks Shashi, everyone seems to love it so far!

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  3. There's a lot of love going on in that casserole. It might make an appearance very soon at our dinner table.

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    1. Cool, let me know how everybody likes it when you give it a try!

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  4. Wow, that looks like a real delicious energy booster!
    No wonder you run marathons, participate in ski races and practice thriatletism :)

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    1. TBH it's pretty calorie considerate but it's packed with good stuff that helps when you train intensively!

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  5. This looks fantastic, I'm bookmarking this!

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  6. I love cooking with quinoa. This looks amazing!

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  7. I know that you said 'good tasting' tomato sauce. Does that mean with spices in it or just not a cheap one?

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    1. More like not a cheap one. I like to use San Marzano Tomato Basil Sauce; a tad expensive but so worth it!

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  8. I tried this tonight....excellent. I use Tuttorosso tomato sauce and I went a bit lighter on the sea salt. YUM

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    1. That's awesome V! Tuttorosso is a very good brand I use it as well from time to time.

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  9. I love eggplant parmesan and I love quinoa - looks like a win win to me! Thanks for the great idea!

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  10. Made this one last night! Thanks Mike, it was plain delicious! Still some leftover for lunch today! :-)

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    1. Great job Natacha, I'm so happy you liked it!

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  11. Excellent recipe, thanks. I made it last night and my work colleagues are all envious of my lunch, only 250 cals too.
    BTW, I really love your website, you have some fantastic recipes!

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    1. That's awesome Vanessa and thank you for the compliments...you've almost made me blush!
      ;-)

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  12. Do you know what the fiber is in this? Just wondering. It looks so yummy

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  13. I made it tonight! It was fantastic!

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  14. I love this! And so do my kids... Especially reheated, like you said. It's also so easy to tweek with your favorite recipe. I make a great pepperonata sauce. Onions and loads of colored peppers instead of eggplant, with a bit of Italian sausage. So good!

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  15. This was delicious! So happy I have leftovers for tomorrow :) Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Is the quinoa supposed to be cooked first or mixed in uncooked- recipe is unclear...

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    2. It's cooked first: it's said in the recipe though (look in the ingredient list!)

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  16. added mushroom & zucchini. huge hit! thx for the recipe!

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  17. This sounds great! I've been looking for some new quinoa recipes and this looks like a winner! Totally trying this. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  18. Yum! I saw this recipe on Pinterest this morning and made it for dinner tonight! I can't wait to make this again and play around with with recipe. Thank you!

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  19. please dont use nonstick pans! ick

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