You know those days where you look in your fridge and try to brainstorm what you can put together that will work for a meal? Most of the times I settle for quesadillas, but two weeks ago I pulled out all the leftovers in the fridge and created the most delicious salad and grain bowl. It was so good that I made it again the next night, and then last week I made it when my brother came over for dinner too. Long story short, I’m obsessed. It’s delicious, satisfying and pretty healthy too! Here are eggplant pesto quinoa bowls to beat all others!
Eggplant Pesto Quinoa Bowls
- 1 lb eggplant
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 ½ tsp herbs de provence optional
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup quinoa rinsed and drained
- 8 ounces of arugula or mixed greens
- 1 large ball of fresh mozzarella
- ¼ cup fresh whole milk ricotta
- Pesto vinaigrette recipe below
- Zaatar spice optional
- ¼ cup pesto sauce
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Cut eggplant into 1 inch cubes. Place the eggplant in a large colander and sprinkle with salt. Toss to ensure even distribution. Allow eggplant to sit for about 30 minutes so that beads of sweat appear on the eggplant and some of the water is released. Pat dry and rinse briefly with water. This helps the eggplant not taste as bitter.
Meanwhile, add cherry tomatoes to a small bakeware dish and drizzle with about 2 tsp of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Spread eggplant cubes evenly onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with additional salt and optional herbs de provence. You could also add black pepper if you like.
Roast for 20 minutes, tossing halfway, until the eggplant is browned and starting to caramelize. Set aside.
At the same time you add the eggplant in you could also add the cherry tomatoes. I’ll check them at the 10 minute mark to see if most have softened and burst a bit, if not I’ll let them go a little longer.
Meanwhile, cook quinoa. I add the rinsed quinoa to a small saucepan and toast over medium high heat for a few minutes. Then I add 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Feel free to substitute the water for vegetable broth if you have it on hand. I’ll use broth if I have some opened in the fridge, otherwise water will do fine! Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, cover with a lid and lower heat. Cook for 12 minutes and then remove lid. Cook until water is evaporated, usually a few minutes longer. Cover with lid to keep warm.
Toss lettuce and roasted cherry tomatoes with half of the pesto vinaigrette. Divide into bowls. Top with quinoa (about ¼- ½ cup per bowl) and roasted eggplant. Add torn mozzarella, little dots of ricotta cheese and drizzle with more dressing on top. Sprinkle Zaatar spice on top (optional). Enjoy!
Whisk pesto with olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
I know it might seem like a lot of steps, but mostly everything was meal prepped earlier in the week. I usually always have a batch of quinoa in the fridge ready to be topped with veggies, tofu, peanut sauce or pesto. The roasted cherry tomatoes were made the previous night because I wanted to use them before they got bad. The cheeses were in the fridge, along with the pesto vinaigrette. All I had to actually make the first night was the eggplant. That’s how it started actually. I was wondering what I could make for dinner to use the eggplant. And the ricotta was sitting in the fridge from when Matthew and I attempted these stuffed zucchini blossoms. That was a hilarious fail of a dinner but it gave us ricotta! Who would have thought ricotta in a salad could be so good?! And by the way, Matthew and I are determined to try that squash blossom recipe again – but maybe we’ll remember to dip them in the batter first!
If you try this recipe, let me know what you think! Share with my on Instagram too! I always love when you tag me in your cooking posts!
Here are some other recipes I love too: