Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Balsamic-Grilled Summer Veggies with Basil-Quinoa Salad

I've mentioned our unofficial "Scrounge Nights" around here when we basically hunt through the cabinets and try to make a meal out of whatever we can piece together. Here's a delicious summer recipe that doesn't require a trip to the grocery (well, if you keep fresh produce on hand)! Even if you don't stay well-stocked, this recipe is definitely worth the trip to the store.

This recipe comes from VeggieBelly. I've mentioned it here before and want to do so again. Sala, the chef/blogger/photographer behind it all, is really a girl after my own heart! She loves bright colors, fresh foods, hunger-inducing food photography, and popcorn (::swoon::).

Serves: 2 hungry adults

Ingredients for Balsamic Dressing:

  • 1/4 C balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper
Ingredients for Main Dish:
  • 1 small Italian eggplant (about 2 C when cut into big cubes)
  • 1 small zucchini (about 2 C when cut into big cubes)
  • 1/2 small red onion (1/4 of a large one)
  • 3/4 C cherry tomatoes
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped (*As always, you can use dried thyme if that's all that you have. Just a dash ought to be sufficient.)
Ingredients for Basil-Quinoa Salad:
  • 2 C water
  • 1 C quinoa (*We didn't have quinoa in the cabinets, so we substituted with couscous and it came out great!)
  • 1/4 C basil leaves, loosely packed, chopped
Other Ingredients:
  • 1/2 C pearlini mozzarella balls, or bocconcini mozzarella balls, tossed in a little salt and pepper (substitute with pan-fried tofu or toasted pine nuts or walnuts for a vegan dish)
  1. Whisk together all the balsamic dressing ingredients and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, boil water for the quinoa salad. Add quinoa and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer covered, til all the water has been completely absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  3. While quinoa is cooking, cut the eggplant and zucchini into 1 1/2" cubes. Cut the red onion into rings. Place cubed eggplant, zucchini, red onion, tomatoes and thyme leaves in a bowl. Pour half the balsamic dressing over the vegetables and toss well.
  4. Brush grill grates (indoor or outdoor) with EVOO or non-stick spray. Heat grill to medium-high. Grill the vegetables about 3 minutes on one side or until grill marks appear. Flip them over and grill the other side until vegetables are tender but still a bit firm. Tomatoes will cook quicker, remove them from the grill as soon as they start to blister.
  5. *If you don't have a grill, broil the vegetables on the top rack of the oven until one side is golden. Flip and broil the other side.
  6. Reserve the balsamic dressing that remains in the bowl, to serve with the meal.
  7. When the quinoa finishes cooking, toss it with the second half of the dressing. Stir in chopped basil, salt and pepper.
  8. Spread quinoa on a platter or bowl. Arrange the grilled summer vegetables and mozzarella around quiona. 
  9. Serve warm with reserved balsamic dressing on the side.

(I couldn't pick just one photo now that I'm lusting to make it again so you can enjoy both photos, too.)
Et voila!


  1. Make it again and invite me over. :)

  2. This sounds good. I love quinoa, I'm so glad that they sell it out here. Who knew that in the middle of nowhere I could find the one thing that I couldn't in VA.