Quinoa Crusted Eggplant

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.

9 thoughts on “Quinoa Crusted Eggplant

  1. Oh I blush! Thank you for trying the recipe, and at last i’ve found your blog again…I keep going to your website! And so flattered that you tried the recipe. I had a bit of a panic at the introduction remember that, yes indeed, oil is considered unhealthy, but i always get around that by frying in olive oil. All those spaniards and French live forever so it’s got to be good right?!

  2. Yes, it didn’t give me that “I just ate fried food” feeling after I had it, so I think you are right! Thanks for the recipe, it was a fun adventure, and tasty too : )

  3. Quinoa-crusted eggplant?? How innovative!! Thanks to Pig in the kitchen for releasing the recipe, and to you, Alisa, for trying it :0)

  4. Oooh, that sounds SO good!

  5. This recipe looks awesome! I enjoy eating quinoa on the odd occasion. I’ve put together a few quinoa recipes if you are interested in having a look i’ve posted them at my blog here: http://www.nikkisblogspot.com/2008/04/14/quinoa-recipes . 🙂

  6. Nadine

    What is “dried” quinoa, please? The grain, or the flat flakes (looks a lot like oatmeal) ??

  7. Leeza

    I was incredibly surprised at how delicious this was!I have never cooked (or even eaten) eggplant before. Used some smaller;width locally grown eggplants which made for a longer time coating them– but it was worth the effort– Eliminated the crushed red peppers (can’t take the heat) Made my own tomato sauce- served it over spaghetti squash and the result was amazing. My family raved about it! It is so great to have a recipe with all healthy ingredients that I can actually eat!

    • So glad you enjoyed it Leeza! Recipes like this one don’t get enough love!

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