Veggie Forward Quinoa Crusted Eggplant

Always a fresh new take on a summer favorite when all of the eggplant varieties roll in to the farm stands and nothing more than a crispy salad, antipasto platter, or grilled Italian sausages is needed for a great dinner on a hot summer’s day.

A new favorite should’ve been posted, but time got away from me one Sunday to contribute and this dish certainly falls into “pot luck” serves eight people as a main dish or my table limit ten as a side dish. Great take on a new recipe from Tieghan.

Veggie Forward”was the theme of the week at the cooking club last week and all that I had in the veggie bin for a main dish vegetable dinner was eggplant and a fat zucchini just perfect and plenty for Tieghan’s quinoa crusted eggplant and zucchini. The best part is that the eggplant is baked not fried a great time and mess saver. Also a great way to use the last remaining bits and chunks of cheese including some Grana Padano, fontina, and parmesan. I finished off the cannelloni ricotta blend and found a container of marinara in the freezer so all in all I had all of the basic elements of this lovely quinoa crusted baked eggplant find the recipe link below.

We enjoyed a favorite salad that I made with the last of the berries, raspberries and blueberries simply dressed with wild blueberry balsamic and lemon olive oil.

https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/wprm_print/26850

Ingredients slightly adapted

Ingredients

  • 1 in medium eggplant sliced 1/2 inch slices
  • 2 in small to medium zucchinis sliced 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup seasoned panko crumbs or bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan divided
  • 3 eggs beaten, divided
  • 16 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced or grated
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • cooking spray
  • 4 ounces fontina cheese shredded as well as some grated Grana Padano
  • 4-6 cups of homemade or your favorite marinara-sauce
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese sliced
  • your favorite cooked pasta for serving

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment.
  • In a medium bowl combine the quinoa, bread crumbs and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. In another smaller bowl whisk together the eggs.
  • Working in an assembly line dip the zucchini and eggplant slices through the eggs and then dredge them through the quinoa mixture, very gently shaking to remove excess. Place on the prepared baking sheet and continue with the remaining zucchini and eggplant slices. If you are having trouble getting the quinoa to adhere to the veggies, just sprinkle the quinoa over both sides of the veggies and place on the baking sheet. It will bake together in the oven. Sprinkle the veggies generously with salt and pepper. Spray lightly with cooking spray or olive oil spray. Bake for 25-30 minutes rotating the pan after 15 minutes. The veggies should be lightly golden and crisp.
  • Meanwhile, add the remaining 1 egg, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, basil, garlic and crushed red pepper to a bowl. Mix until smooth.
  • Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish or other dish equivalent in size. Spread about 1-2 cups of pasta sauce on the bottom.
  • Place a layer of zucchini and eggplant over the sauce. Spread half the ricotta mixture over the zucchini and eggplant. Spread another cup or so of pasta sauce over top. Layer with more zucchini and eggplant, saving a few for the final layer. Sprinkle the veggies with the fontina cheese and then add the remaining ricotta mixture plus another cup or so of sauce. Add the remaining zucchini + eggplant and then pour the remaining sauce over top. Cover tightly with foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, remove and top with the mozzarella. Bake un-covered for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling. Serve with hot pasta and fresh parmesan.