This is a quick and easy, light, but flavorful Middle Eastern grain salad mixed with the hearty texture of eggplant. Perfect for the colder months of the year (or, if you live somewhere where it can still be 80 degrees in December, it’s great for the months of the year you wish had seasons).
- 2/3 cup quinoa
- 1 eggplant
- 2 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 beefsteak tomato
- ½ cucumber
- 1 red onion
- ¼ bunch parsley, divided
- 2 lemons, halved
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 tbsp tahini paste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup and 3 tbsp water
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Place quinoa, 1 cup water, and a pinch of salt in a small pot over high heat. Bing to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until water has evaporated and quinoa is tender, approximately 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat, cover, and set aside.
- While quinoa cooks, rinse eggplant and pat dry with paper towel. Halve lengthwise.
- Cut and dice tomato into ¼ – inch chunks. Mince garlic. Peel onion and mince. Rinse parsley and roughly chop leaves, discarding stems.
- Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over cut sides of eggplant, then sprinkle with cayenne pepper and salt. Place cut side down on a baking sheet. Broil until skin is charred and flesh is tender, 8-10 minutes total, flipping 2-3 times.
- While eggplant broils, in a medium bowl, combine half of garlic, juice of 1 lemon, and tahini paste. Slowly whisk in 3 tablespoon of warm water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until consistency is smooth and pourable. Taste and add salt and black pepper as needed. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine remaining garlic, juice of remaining lemon, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Taste and add salt and black pepper as needed. Add quinoa, tomato, cucumber, onion, and half of parsley and stir to combine. Taste and add additional salt and black pepper as needed.
- Divide tabbouleh evenly between 2 plates and top eggplant. Drizzle tahini over eggplant and garnish with remaining parsley.
This recipe makes enough for two at approximately 530 calories/plate. Who said Christmas has to result in a New Year’s resolution to lose weight?
May your holidays be warm and full of cheer (and find you lighter at the end of it all 😉 ). Merry Christmas!