Quinoa with Balsamic Roasted Eggplant and Portobello Mushrooms

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I bought a large bag of quinoa about a two months ago with the intention of making fabulous grain dishes a few times a month. Yeah, that plan didn't work. I guess I could say that school and life and homework did kind of get in the way, but it also worked its way to the back of my cabinet and I kind of forgot about it...

But then I stumbled across this recipe. I really like the idea of balsamic roasted vegetables, but I have a bit of an aversion to mustard (which was in the original recipe). Instead, I added honey which added a little sweetness to the balsamic vinegar. I also added a few of my favorite herbs that I always pair with balsamic vinegar. It was a tasty dish that could be eaten warm for dinner or cold as a grain salad.

I was really happy with the way this dish came out. It was light, but filling. I was surprised that I couldn't taste the balsamic vinegar as much as I thought I would considering I used a 1/4 cup of it. Next time, I would consider making more dressing/marinade.

I love eggplant and portobello mushrooms because they are super healthy and very pretty. Is it weird that I find vegetables pretty? Don't answer that.

I decided to cut the mushrooms into strips and slice the eggplant into discs. It made the dish feel more substantial to me. If you'd prefer to dice it up, like the original recipe, that would work well too.

The eggplant and mushrooms roast in a balsamic vinegar and honey bath for about 30 minutes until they are tender and delicious. The garlic gets yummy and roasty too. It is a giant, tasty explosion in your oven. The figurative type of oven explosion, of course.

Quinoa! Quinoa is a powerhouse! Quinoa is a star! Quinoa is delicious! It has loads of protein, plus it's low in fat and a great complex carb!

I actually didn't realize the versatility of quinoa until I started doing recipe searches. It can be baked into breads, added to desserts, and made into an excellent side dish or salad.

Quinoa with Balsamic Roasted Eggplant and Portobello Mushrooms (adapted from Eat Live Run)

Serves 4

Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

Vegetables

  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1 inch discs
  • 2 large portobello mushrooms, washed with gills and stem removed

Dressing/Marinade

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic (Okay, I used 4, but I'm keeping the vampires away)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1-1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth or water (the broth add lots of tasty flavor!)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
  2. Line a plate with paper towel and place eggplant discs on top. Sprinkle with salt and let sit 20-30 minutes to drain.
  3. Meanwhile, slice portobello mushrooms into 1/2 inch strips.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the dressing
  5. Place eggplant discs and mushroom slices on a roasting pan. Pour 3/4 of the dressing onto the vegetables and roast for 25 minutes or until cooked through and tender
  6. About 10 minutes into cooking, boil quinoa and broth over medium-high heat. Once it boils, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed and quinoa is light and fluffy. Fluff with a fork.
  7. Serve roasted vegetables over quinoa, drizzling remaining dressing, over quinoa.