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
- 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)
- Whisk together all the balsamic dressing ingredients and set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- *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.
- Reserve the balsamic dressing that remains in the bowl, to serve with the meal.
- When the quinoa finishes cooking, toss it with the second half of the dressing. Stir in chopped basil, salt and pepper.
- Spread quinoa on a platter or bowl. Arrange the grilled summer vegetables and mozzarella around quiona.
- 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.)