This month I am developing bowls of fun, nutritious and modern-day salads for ELLE magazine's mid-year issue. I find the anatomy of a salad utterly fascinating. Just like any other dish, a great salad has a balance of flavours and textures. A slight upset and you might end up with a mushy salad or a really dry one that becomes tedious to eat after a few mouthfuls. A flavour-matched salad will make you adventurous enough to enjoy ingredients you would never otherwise attempt to eat on their own.
Quinoa goes really well with eggplant. Who would have thought? And garlic ties them both beautifully. It is important to chop the eggplant fine so it cooks quickly and crisps a bit in the pan. I add lentils to make it more dense and hearty. The reds and yellows of the capsicum and corn add a nice colour to the dish. A box of organic sunflower sprouts sourced at the local markets finds its way home amongst all the different ingredients in this bowl. When I have an early light lunch, I snack on a bowl of this salad in the later afternoon to get rid of my pre-caffeine slump. It works to get my mouth exercising with all the crunch and bite each spoonful has to offer.
Sunflower sprouts are really pretty. They are larger than your average sprouts and sturdier as well. They have a slight crunch to them and the flavour is distinctly nutty on the palate. They grow well on a window sill with filtered light from sunflower seeds planted lightly in moist soil. They were my surprise and unusual salad add-in this week.
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Quinoa Lentil And Roasted Eggplant Salad
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups finely chopped eggplant
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon flaky salt
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 400 g can of lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 1 cup red capsicum, chopped
- 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 cup sprouts, sunflower or mung bean
- 50 g pine nuts, toasted
- juice of 2 limes
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- handful of coriander leaves
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat oil in a sauté pan on high. Add the eggplant and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes, tossing constantly until starting to brown and crisp. Remove from heat, add the salt and mix well. Set aside and cool completely.
- Place all the other ingredients in a large bowl. Add the eggplant crumb mix. Toss to mix well.
- Serve garnished with extra coriander and lime wedges.
- Sunflower sprouts can be replaced by other micro herbs, snow pea sprouts, baby spinach or even mung beans.
- Other salad toppings to experiment with include pomegranate seeds, sunflower kernels, raisins and slivered almonds.
- Salad freezes well. To serve, simply thaw on your kitchen counter for a couple of hours.
I do like such salads, bright and healthy! Looks delicious! I should try your option with quinoa!
It looks delicious! A few of my colleagues have started bringing in 'superfood' salads - grains like quinoa and freekeh feature heavily! I'll have to share this recipe with them.
There's so much going on in this but I love the idea of all these flavours, tied together with smoked paprika! I especially love the idea of having aubergine (... you have to excuse me, I'm British ;)) in a salad. Would like to try sunflower sprouts too - don't think I've ever spotted those anywhere before!
looks & sounds delicious 🙂
I'm looking for easy salads to take to work, so thanks for this. Great to know that eggplant goes well with quinoa - plenty of that around these parts (Greece!) As for following an exact salad science, I definitely don't and sometimes end up with the dry boring versions you mentioned as I don't think it through enough first. Thanks for the inspiration here!
Love this beautiful quinoa salad!
I've made many quinoa salads but never with eggplant, this looks fabulous!
I have tried very hard to like Quinoa, and have decided to give up- and substitute other grains in gorgeous recipes such as this one.
Love all the colors, flavors and textures in this vibrant salad! Yum 🙂
this is my idea of salad too because there needs to be a good balance of texture and taste. Quinoa + eggplants = winner.
This salad looks so wonderful--fresh and full of texture! I am jealous of that fresh corn, as we are getting nothing of the kind right now. Oh well--I will definitely keep this in mind for this July!
Such a beautiful salad! I have had a constant craving for eggplant lately but I'd never though about combining it with quinoa - great idea!
What a beauty. I could eat the whole bowl!
BBQ'd eggplant has a gorgeous smoky flavour.
This one goes on this week's menu!
Thanks, Sneh. xo
This is so pretty, and the textures and flavours sound pretty exciting too. I'd like to try the sprouts!
I see the corn in here and I cry a little. When will this winter of ours end?!?!?! Ok... now that I've gotten that out of the way, this seriously looks marvelous. Totally into it.
I cannot walk past a quinoa salad. The Mediterranean veggies but modern fusion dressing sounds like heavenly combination. I am so excited you are partnered up with Elle; I can not wait for more recipes like this.
I've tried to like quinoa loads of times and always been disappointed! I'm pretty sure this is the salad to officially change my mind and jump on the quinoa bandwagon. Every ingredient sounds delicious! Also I'm buying your cookbook for my mum's birthday 🙂 🙂
This salad looks marvelous! A great combination of flavors, textures and colors.
Gorgeous salad, this makes me long for summer!
I saw this on my fb feed and just had to read the post! Looks divinely delicious Sneh. I can so have this right now. Love the photos very much too. How did you get the corn looking like that? Brilliant work!! 🙂 I'm enjoying adding lemon/lime juice and Shaoxing wine to my salads atm. Have an awesome day! 🙂
I love big bowl salads and quinoa makes a lovely hearty base for salad, which is sympathetic to to a lot of different ingredients. Roasted cauliflower and pumpkin in the winter and in the summer quinoa and corn is an unbeatable combination.