Quinoa w/ Roasted Eggplants & Apples: WHAT?

File this under strange, but good.

I had 2 pathetic looking eggplants left in the garden (poor specimens, I know) and a fridge full of local apples.
What's a girl to do?

I googled eggplant and apple recipes and Giada's Quinoa Salad came up!
See, I'm not the only crazy one who thought up this combination, and she gets paid!

Her recipe calls for dried cranberries, which if I may say (and I will anyway), I despise.
Fresh cranberries are another story, but I hate that weird, tangy chewy red thing in my salad.........(sorry to complain), so I subbed in my beloved dates!

Giada, if I may say, the dates are a much better pairing with the eggplant, almost gives the salad a Middle Eastern twist.

Who pairs cranberries w/ eggplant?
Not me.

The sticky sweet dates, with the spicy complex eggplant along w/ the crisp apples, made for a delicious fall quinoa concoction.
And it made enough for a delicious lunch the next day.

Quinoa w/ Roasted Eggplant, Apples & Dates w/ a Cumin Vinaigrette: (adapted from Giada DeLaurentis)


2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 large shallot, finely chopped

Quinoa Salad:

2 cups of water or chicken stock
1 1/4 cups quinoa, preferably organic
1 1/4-pound eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1 large Honey Crisp or Golden Delicious apple, unpeeled, cored, cut into 1/2" cubes
1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted,
1/2 cup dried dates, chopped

On a large baking sheet, toss the eggplant cubes with kosher salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Roast in a 400F oven for about 20-30 minutes.

Cook the quinoa in the 2 cups of liquid and set aside (about 15 minutes).

Meanwhile, make the dressing and add in the chopped apples to the vinaigrette.

In a large bowl (or the saucepan), add in the eggplant, dates and nuts to the warm quinoa.
Add in the dressing with the apples and mix.

Plate into a large serving dish and garnish with fresh herb (I love cilantro).

Best served at room temperature or warm.


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Unknown said…
Giada does a lot of weird combos...this is tame compared to her chocolate and brie cheese panini...still can't wrap my head around that one!
Anonymous said…
I only use dried cranberries in Heidi's gorgeous yogurt dip- http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/mastokhiar-yogurt-dip-recipe.html -making sure to mince them super fine and they don't bother me. Their cerise beauty makes the dish.
What an interesting combo! Love the spices in there...the whole thing is most intriguing. I think I may have to try it...if you like it, then I probably will too. Thats how it goes... x