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Grilled Eggplant with Herbed Quinoa and Cherry Tomatoes

Grilled Eggplant with Herbed Quinoa and Cherry Tomatoes | A Couple CooksGrilled Eggplant with Herbed Quinoa and Cherry Tomatoes | A Couple Cooks

The other day, Alex and I visited our friend’s urban farm on the south side of Indianapolis. It was quite a sight: an oasis of green a midst junkyards and concrete. We snapped up bright yellow and red cherry tomatoes and purple eggplants at the farm stand, and chatted with farmer Amy as she diligently harvested onions.

If you would have told me 10 years ago that I’d be visiting urban farms and buying vegetables and making them into something palatable, I would have said “You’re crazy.” I had little interest in food: my dinners consisted of cereal and hot pockets and microwave dinners. It was a lonely way to eat. I felt isolated. I’d mainly shop at large corporate chain groceries and feel depressed after I left.

Of all the reasons to get into food, what hooked me was the community. At the farmer’s market, I could talk to the actual person who grew the food! It was mind blowing to me (and I kind of thought the farmers were rockstars. Ok, still do :)). I became fascinated by the personal connections, and little by little, started trying to figure out what to do with these vibrant tomatoes and eggplant and cucumbers that were so unlike the limp ones in the supermarket.

That’s a very condensed version of how we got to where we are today, making things with eggplant and tomatoes and quinoa and herbs from our garden. It sounds so hippie vegetarian of us, but really, we never set out to become that. We just fell in love with the people behind the food, and over time fell in love with the food too.

And this meal? We hope you’ll fall in love with it too. It’s fairly easy to prepare, and the smoky taste of the eggplant is a fabulous contrast to the dill and feta in the quinoa. It’s gluten-free, and a great vegetarian dinner option that was as much filling as flavorful (which is sometimes hard to find). Enjoy, and let us know if you try it out!

For some food inspiration, check out your nearest farmers market or farm stand, if you have one! These tomatoes and eggplant were from South Circle Farm. Keep your eyes peeled for a new Healthy + Whole feature on South Circle.

Grilled Eggplant with Quinoa - 002

Grilled Eggplant with Herbed Quinoa and Cherry Tomatoes
Serves: 4
What You Need
  • 1.2 pounds eggplant (1 large or 2 small)
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill (one handful)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil (one handful)
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro (one handful)
  • ½ cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
What To Do
  1. Preheat a grill to medium-high.
  2. Make the quinoa, according to the instructions for Perfect Quinoa.
  3. Cut the eggplant into ¾-inch slices, and generously season them with salt. Place the slices in a colander, overlapping as necessary. Let stand 15 to 30 minutes, then pat dry with paper towel (this step helps to remove bitterness from the eggplant prior to grilling).
  4. Liberally brush cut sides of eggplant with olive oil. Place on a grill and cook, turning once, until tender, about 4 minutes a side.
  5. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Chop 2 tablespoons each of dill, basil, and cilantro. When the quinoa is done, mix it together with the tomatoes, herbs, ½ cup feta cheese crumbles, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt.
  6. To serve, place two to three eggplant slices on a plate and spoon herbed quinoa and tomato mixture on top.


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  • Reply
    jenna @ just j.faye
    August 19, 2014 at 8:54 am

    YUM! This meal looks absolutely delicious.

  • Reply
    Rivki Locker
    August 19, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Although I’ve been shopping at the farmers market for YEARS now, I still love talking to the people who grow the food. There is something so satisfying about it. Thanks for sharing… great looking recipe to use up the overwhelming amount of eggplant I’m getting in my weekly CSA baskets now. :)

  • Reply
    Millie | Add A Little
    August 20, 2014 at 2:30 am

    These are some of my favourite summer ingredients! Looks delicious!

  • Reply
    Olivia - Primavera Kitchen
    August 21, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Awesome salad!! Looks so fresh and summery! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    August 22, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    This look amazing! I can’t wait to try this for lunch.

  • Reply
    Riley Wofford
    August 23, 2014 at 10:39 am

    So simple but so yummy! I have some chickpeas I might throw in as well.

  • Reply
    Nicole B.
    August 23, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    I’ve never had eggplant before, but this recipe makes me want to pick some up at a food market and start cooking! I love farmers markets for the same reason as you. It’s so fun connecting with people and picking up fresh food. My kind of day!

  • Reply
    Katie Marlowe
    August 27, 2014 at 11:34 am

    We had this for dinner last night, using farmers market ingredients. In a word — PERFECT!

  • Reply
    September 3, 2014 at 6:07 am

    My sister would absolutely love this, thanks for the suggestion!


  • Reply
    October 11, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    This was delicious. Thank you!

  • Reply
    March 15, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    We had this for dinner last night and it was perfect. That was the first time I cook quinoa( it’s been in the cupboard for weeks) and it’s not going to be the last. Thanks for sharing your lovely recipes. Your blog is great.

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