Eggplant Parmesan Quinoa Casserole


Second time's the charm - this casserole will be better the next day or even the day after that.


Ingredients

Serves 6


2 cups cooked quinoa (you’ll need about 1 cup / 6 oz / 170 gr of uncooked quinoa)

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 large eggplant (about 1 lb / 453 gr), cubed

2 cloves garlic, minced

a handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped

1 29 oz / 822 gr can (good tasting) tomato sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons + 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

1 cup / 1.8 oz / 50 gr Parmesan cheese, grated

½ cup / 0.9 oz / 25 gr Romano cheese, grated


Directions


Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C) and lightly grease a 8x8 baking dish.

Fill a large bowl with cold water, add one teaspoon of sea salt and stir until it dissolves completely. Place eggplant cubes into the water and let sit for 20 minutes to draw out the bitterness.

Drain the eggplant cubes and pat them dry.

Heat olive oil in a large non-stick pan (or skillet) over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and ½ teaspoon of sea salt and saute’ for 6 to 7 minutes, or until onions are translucent.

Add eggplant cubes and saute’ for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, making sure that the eggplant doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add tomato sauce, basil and ½ teaspoon of sea salt, turn the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 25 to 30 minutes.

In the meantime, in another dry non-stick pan (or skillet) over medium-high heat, toast quinoa with red pepper flakes, black pepper and a pinch of salt for 2 minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine quinoa, eggplant sauce and ½ cup of Parmesan cheese.

Transfer quinoa mixture to baking dish, top with remaining Parmesan and Romano cheeses. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes and then turn the broiler on and broil for 1 to 2 minutes and carefully brown the top.

Remove for the over and top with fresh oregano leaves (or basil ribbons). Allow to sit 10 minutes and then serve.

As noted above this casserole will be better the next day or even the day after that.