When transitioning into a vegetarian lifestyle, you might be wondering how you will get enough protein on a vegetarian diet or what your best sources of iron will be.
One food I definitely love to make as often as possible is quinoa, which is known as a complete protein, containing greater amounts of lysine and isoleucine than average grain sources (although known as a grain, quinoa is actually a seed). Quinoa also contains iron, which increases brain function.
Adding another nutrient-rich food, eggplant, to the mix, enhances this healthy recipe with several vitamins and minerals. It will make you smarter as well, because eggplant contains nasunin, which is an antioxidant that has been found to protect the lipids in brain cell membranes. With quinoa and eggplant, this healthy recipe makes for a great healthy choice.
Whether it is lunch or dinner, this healthy recipe for eggplant and quinoa salad is perfect as a side dish or as a stand-alone meal.
Healthy Recipe for Eggplant and Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup of quinoa (red and white, or plain)
- 1 medium sized eggplant, sliced into 4-6 thick pieces (one-quarter inch)
- 1 large cucumber, diced
- 8-12 grape tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 red onion (also called purple onion), thinly diced
- 2-3 tablespoons of parsley
- 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground pepper
- Sea salt
|Lightly flavor eggplant with olive oil.|
|You can grill or sauté your eggplant. Grill each piece of eggplant for 3-4 minutes on each side.|
|When eggplant is done, cut into one-half inch cubes. If you prefer to sauté your eggplant, first cut eggplant into cubes, and toss in a hot pan with 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.|
|Cook for 7-10 minutes on medium heat, until the eggplant is tender.|
|In a small strainer, wash the quinoa well.|
|In a small pot, bring quinoa and water to a boil from high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook for approximately 7 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.|
|In a large bowl, mix cucumber, grape tomatoes and red onion.|
|Add cooked quinoa and mix.|
|Season with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, ground pepper, sea salt and parsley.|
|Top with eggplant cubes and enjoy this healthy recipe.|
Paturel, A., “5 Ways to Cook Eggplant,” Self web site, Aug. 16, 2013; http://www.self.com/blogs/flash/2011/08/5-ways-to-cook-eggplant.html.
“Quinoa: What’s New and Beneficial About Quinoa,” The World’s Healthiest Foods web site; http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=142&tname=foodspice.
“Eggplant: An Important Message About Eggplant,” The World’s Healthiest Foods web site; http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=22.
Wilcox, J., “7 Benefits of Quinoa: The Supergrain of the Future,” MindBodyGreen web site, May 31, 2012; http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4994/7-Benefits-of-Quinoa-The-Supergrain-of-the-Future.html.
Holford, P., Optimum Living Made Easy: The Optimum Nutrition Bible (London: Piatkus Books, 1997), 55.