Forget boring salads! Roasted eggplant and kale, fluffy quinoa, toasted pine nuts, and shaved parmesan make this salad cozy, craveable, and perfect as a side dish or plant based lunch! (gluten-free, vegetarian)
Eggplant is such a strange vegetable. First, it doesn't look or taste anything like an egg, so why is it called that? Also, I'm not even sure if there is a true eggplant season. It seems like a late summer vegetable, but I have yet to confirm that. Every time I buy one, it's out of impulse, and it sits in my fridge until I finally decide it needs to be used like now before it goes bad.
For such times, there's this roasted eggplant quinoa salad. Because eggplant parm is just too much work most of the time.
Why You'll Love This Eggplant Quinoa Salad
This quinoa salad has everything a good salad should. Non-boring greens in the form of warm roasted kale, a whole grain to make it extra filling and satisfying, toasted pine nuts, fresh shaved parmesan cheese, and a dreamy maple dijon shallot dressing. And a way to use up your eggplant, of course. It's delicious eaten warm, but it's also great cold, making it perfect for meal prep.
How To Make Roasted Eggplant and Kale Quinoa Salad
- Start with some cooked quinoa. I love using leftover quinoa here. Warm it up if you plan on serving this salad warm.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking sheets. Chop the eggplant and kale and spread each on a baking sheet. toss each with olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. Spread the pine nuts on the sheet with the kale.
- Roast the eggplant 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, and the kale 10 minutes, both at 400°F.
- While the vegetables are roasting, whisk together dressing ingredients.
- Add the quinoa, eggplant, kale, and pine nuts to a big bowl. Add parmesan and dressing to taste and toss to coat.
Cooking Tips & Substitutions
- I like to cook the quinoa with broth instead of water for more flavor.
- The pine nuts will burn easily, so make sure you watch them closely.
- For vegan, omit the cheese.
- If you don't have pine nuts you can use walnuts or almonds. Or just leave the nuts out.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
More Eggplant Recipes You'll Love
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Roasted Kale and Eggplant Quinoa Salad
Forget boring salads! Roasted eggplant and kale, fluffy quinoa, toasted pine nuts, and shaved parmesan make this salad cozy, inviting, and perfect as a side dish or plant based lunch! (gluten-free, vegetarian)
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: about 6 cups 1x
- Category: side dish
- Method: roasted
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
- 1 tbsp olive oil, divided
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ medium eggplant, cubed (about 4 cups)
- 4 cups roughly chopped kale
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 3 cups cooked quinoa (warm or cold)
- ¼ cup freshly shaved parmesan cheese
- Maple Dijon Vinaigrette, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Cut eggplant into uniform 1 inch cubes. Toss with ½ tablespoon of the olive oil half of the salt and spread onto one of the baking sheets. Chop kale into uniform pieces and toss with remiaing ½ tablespoon of olive oil and salt. Spread onto other baking sheet, leaving a little room for pine nuts. Add pine nuts to the baking sheet with the kale.
- Roast kale and pine nuts 10 minutes. Roast eggplant 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
- Prepare the dressing by whisking together all of the ingredients.
- In a large bowl, toss together cooked quinoa, eggplant, kale and pine nuts. Add parmesan and dressing to taste. Toss to coat and serve warm or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Cook the quinoa in chicken or vegetable broth for more flavor.
- Omit parmesan for vegan.
- If you don't have pine nuts, you can use almonds or walnuts, or simply leave them out.
- Salad will keep in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
Keywords: roasted eggplant quinoa salad, quinoa salad with eggplant and kale