Okay, I couldn’t resist picking up another eggplant this week. Though it seems my subconscious was working in my favor, as when I returned home with my loot, I discovered a wonderful aubergine recipe on Pig in the Kitchen (yes, I always jump on my computer the second I get home, it’s a sickness really).
There was just one catch, I have never fried anything, I mean anything, before. Oil and I aren’t good friends. As long as I can lightly drizzle it or pop it in an enclosed pan while still cool, we are okay. Really, since frying is not considered healthy, I felt no reason to train myself in this art form. But who can resists Pig’s recipes?! I was especially intrigued by the coating of quinoa, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Aha, the elusion of health!
Alas, my pumpkin seeds seem to have met with a very tragic fate, some moisture snuck into the container, the results of which nearly causing me to lose my appetite. Luckily, I have yet to find anything that fully succeeds in killing my appetite. So, to adjust for my ingredient deficiencies, and because I was feeling too lazy to make homemade sauce, I modified the recipe a bit. If you are ready for the full experienc, try Pig’s recipe, she even ventures a dollop of dijon mustard in the sauce. I was intrigued, but still too lazy, so out came the jar of pasta sauce… but hey, one new cooking adventure at a time right?
Quinoa Crusted Eggplant
(Vegan, Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free)
- 1 large eggplant
- Tomato Sauce (your choice, I used a jar of Classico with mushrooms and olives that was on sale for $1 a jar!)
- 1/2 cup dried quinoa
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Cooked Rice, Brown or White (I put the rice in the rice cooker to prepare while making the rest) (optional)
- Oil for Frying (regular refined olive oil, peanut, or other high heat oil)
Slice the eggplant to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Pour the sauce in a large skillet over medium heat, add 1/4 to 1/2 jar of water, and add your eggplant to simmer. Allow the slices to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes while you move on to prepare the rest. If the sauce becomes too thick during the simmering process, just add a little more water.
You might use a food processor or blender for this step, but I found a spice grinder to be very efficient and clean. So, place the quinoa, sunflower seeds, crushed red pepper and salt in your spice grinder and give it a good whirl. If using my mini-appliance method, then you may need to do it in two or three batches. It is still very quick with no clean up though!
Pour the resultant crumbs in a shallow dish. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. The oil should be ready to sizzle, but not too hot, lest you get splattered with drops of hot oil (as I did).
Remove the eggplant slices from the sauce, and coat them in the quinoa/seed mixture (a good flip in the coating should do it). Carefully place them in the hot oil, and cook about 2 to 3 minutes per side. As Pig mentioned, there are a lot of little crumbs that disperse, but I tried not to let it bother me.
Remove the slices with a slotted spatula and place them on a wire rack or paper towels to drain and cool for about 5 minutes. Serve with some of the tomato sauce you were simmering them in and rice or a salad, if desired.