Friday, October 9, 2015

Garlicky Eggplant over Quinoa

I like challenges.  I even like double challenges.  I am trying the plant based approach to eating which I have written about in past blogs.  The approach is challenging in itself with its limitations.  No meat, fish, dairy nor oil are used.

Beans and peas are the favorite protein sources.  Unfortunately I could not eat beans frequently during the week due to flare ups of my arthritis due to them.  Looking for protein alternatives became my obsession and the other challenge these past few days.  I have used tofu of course.  But then again I do not want to use soy products excessively.

I have heard of quinoa.  Boy have I heard and read about it in almost every health conscious blogs!  In the past I have tasted dishes with quinoa brought by guests during potlucks but was not that enthused about it. I have read that quinoa is one of the plant foods that is a complete protein namely with all the essential amino acids our body cannot produce.  This fact motivated me to give it a try, a really good try since it could be my complete protein source in this plant based diet. I felt if I could prepare dishes that are flavorful and top the quinoa with it then it will be similar in use as my favorite staples like white or brown rice.

This garlicky eggplant dish fits the bill when it comes to a partner to quinoa's neutral taste.  I love the combination and so would you.  The garlicky eggplant dish is super delicious with the blend of aromatics like garlic and ginger and the sweet, salty and heat of the other ingredients.  The eggplant served as a wonderful canvas to absorb all these flavors.  Really good.  I do not fear that I am not getting a complete protein now since I have this superfood quinoa in my food repertoire.  My arthritic fingers are also celebrating this new found love of mine.  I know when a dish is good.  You have it for lunch and dinner and breakfast the next day.  And I have.  So haunting.

Garlicky Eggplant over Quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa 
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1 tbsp oil  (note 1)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp white wine (note 2)
  • 1 tsp garlic chili paste
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar or 1 tbsp raw or coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch dissolve in 1/2 cup water
  • 2 stalks green onions, bias cut (optional)
Cook the quinoa according to the package directions.

Cut the eggplant into round slices about 1/3 inch thick.  Place a piece of paper towel on a plate.  Place the pieces of eggplant on top of the paper towel in one layer.  Place another piece of paper towel on top of the eggplant.  Microwave for 4-5 minutes till the eggplant pieces are soft.  Cool and cut into 1 inch squares.

In a saute pan, heat the oil with 1/4 cup water and then add the onion and garlic.  Boil the mixture till the pan is almost dry and onion and garlic are cooked.  Lower the heat to medium setting and add the eggplant pieces, soy sauce, white wine, garlic chili paste and agave nectar.  Cook till the mixture is heated through and then add the cornstarch and water mixture.  Serve the dish over cooked quinoa.  You can garnish with green onions and serve with napa cabbage.


1.  Skip if you want.
2.  Cooking sherry wine can be used.

The following nutritional facts include the quinoa.

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