Quinoa Lentil And Smokey Eggplant Salad

by | Feb 11, 2014 | 21 comments

Quinoa Lentil And Smokey Eggplant Salad - Cook Republic


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 Lentil And Roast Eggplant Salad - Cook Republic


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.


Corn - Sneh Roy, Photo & Styling


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. Do you follow an exact science while creating salads? What is the most fun thing you have put in your salad?


Eggplant - Cook Republic


Quinoa, Lentil, Roast Eggplant Salad - Cook Republic


Quinoa And Smokey Eggplant Salad - Sneh Roy, photography and styling







If you have cooked quinoa on hand, this gorgeous hearty salad literally takes minutes to prepare. Quinoa pairs beautifully with smokey pan tossed eggplant. The lentils and veggies add a nice texture. A very nourishing gluten-free meal, perfect cold or warmed up.

Serves – 6-8



1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cups finely chopped eggplant
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups cooked quinoa
400g can of lentils, rinsed
kernels of 1 corn cob
2 small red capsicums, chopped
1 small red onion, halved and sliced
1 cup sunflower sprouts
50g toasted pine nuts
juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
handful of coriander leaves
sprinkling of salt and pepper



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.


My Notes

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.





Find More Recipes By CategoryCafe Style Quick Salad Vegetarian Whole Food



I love creating easy, vibrant, fresh, everyday recipes and taking gorgeous photos of the food I cook. I have been blogging for 15 years and I have also written a book with over 100 new recipes. If you make a recipe from the blog, Tag @cookrepublic on Instagram. I would love to see!


  1. Elizabeth

    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.

  2. Padaek

    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! 🙂

  3. Rosa

    This salad looks marvelous! A great combination of flavors, textures and colors.



  4. Lilli @ Sugar and Cinnamon

    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 🙂 🙂

  5. Belinda@themoonblushbaker

    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.

  6. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    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.

  7. saucy gander

    This is so pretty, and the textures and flavours sound pretty exciting too. I’d like to try the sprouts!

  8. Coco in the Kitchen

    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

  9. Katie @ Butterlust Blog

    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!

  10. Eileen

    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!

  11. Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health

    this is my idea of salad too because there needs to be a good balance of texture and taste. Quinoa + eggplants = winner.

  12. Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

    Love all the colors, flavors and textures in this vibrant salad! Yum 🙂

  13. Francesca

    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.

  14. cheri

    I’ve made many quinoa salads but never with eggplant, this looks fabulous!

  15. Helen @ Scrummy Lane

    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!

  16. Vickie

    looks & sounds delicious 🙂

  17. Natalie Tamara

    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!

  18. Amanda @ Gourmanda

    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.

  19. Mila

    I do like such salads, bright and healthy! Looks delicious! I should try your option with quinoa!




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