This oven baked eggplant recipe was inspired by the Italian dish, Melanzane alla Parmigiana or Parmesan Eggplant. I learned to make it when I lived in Italy and it became one of my favourites, especially if friends are coming to dinner.
I wanted to make something similar but without any cheese and that got me thinking . . . What could I add if I took away the Parmesan? And the answer I came up with was quinoa. If you haven’t used it before, (or if you’ve just run out!) you can order this red quinoa online from Amazon.
So, this oven baked eggplant recipe is really a vegan version of Parmesan Eggplant, except that it tastes completely different!
Not better, not worse, just completely, utterly different.
Basically you’ll need some hard, shiny eggplants, sliced lengthwise. Some fresh tomato sauce and a packet of red quinoa, washed and cooked ready for use.
The flavour depends largely on the tomato sauce being tasty enough, so be sure not to cut corners there.
Salt the eggplants and leave them to stand for 30 minutes. Rinse well.
I don’t always salt eggplant but in this recipe it’s important because when you rinse them off, they’re left with a little bit of saltiness which is just the right amount for the dish.
Put the slices of eggplant into a colander and place over the top of a pan with a bit of boiling water in it. Put a lid over the colander and let the aubergines cook in their own steam (or use a steamer if you have one). Make sure they aren’t sitting in any water.
It doesn’t take long for the eggplant to be cooked – test it by taking out a slice and cutting a bit off to try. It should taste fine – cooked, but still firm.
Remove from the steam and lay out on kitchen paper to drain off the excess moisture.
After preparing the eggplant, all you have to do is layer in a casserole dish, tomato sauce, eggplant, tomato sauce, quinoa, eggplant, tomato sauce and quinoa on top.
It’s really delicious hot or cold!
Healthy and tasty eggplant dish that you can eat on its own or serve with a green salad. Eat hot or cold, delicious both ways.
- 3 large eggplants, sliced lengthwise
- half a saucepan of fresh tomato sauce
- 1 pack 250 grams red quinoa
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Coat the eggplant slices in salt and leave to stand for 30 minutes. Even if the aubergine isn't bitter, it's best to salt the eggplant for this recipe because after rinsing the slices they'll still keep some of the flavour from the salt and that's the trick to tasty steamed aubergine.
- Rinse the eggplant and place in a colander over a pan of water, or in a steamer if you have one. After a few moments taste the eggplant. It should be cooked but firm.
- Remove from the steam and place on kitchen paper. Dab to dry the slices.
- Cook the quinoa. If you have a rice cooker, you can do the red quinoa in exactly the same way as rice and it comes out perfect. The white quinoa needs a bit less water.
- Cover the base of a baking dish with a little tomato sauce. Layer a layer of eggplant slices and sprinkle a tiny bit of olive oil over the slices. Then tomato sauce followed by quinoa. Repeat one more layer of aubergine, olive oil, tomato sauce and quinoa.
- Bake in the oven at 200ªc for about 30 minutes.
If you make extra tomato sauce the day before and have it already prepared, this recipe isn't too work intensive and can be made in advance so it's handy when you're having friends round to dinner.