Day 74 – Recipe: Eggplant and Fresh Herb Quinoa Tabbouleh (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free)

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I’m getting a little confused about which day I’m on but I think it’s day 74. I wish it was day 364. When I’m home or when I’m at a vegan restaurant I don’t mind being on this diet, but whenever I’m out at a restaurant that has amazing smelling meat or pizza or waffles or bacon – you get the picture – I just can’t stand it, I get depressed. I love food so much, and being restrictive in my diet feels so unnatural to me. Sometimes I just want to say screw it and eat some boneless wings. The last couple weeks have been really hard. I’ve definitely eaten some things I shouldn’t have eaten (they were vegan, but processed) and I feel guilty about it. I hate feeling guilty. I wish this diet was easy. It’s not. I just have to keep reminding myself that I’m doing it because I don’t want someone to take a scalpel to my throat and cut me open. God that really sounds horrible.

Anyways, for about 2 months we had fresh basil and mint growing in our kitchen and I rarely used it. About a month and a half into it we started having a severe gnat issue and I couldn’t take it anymore – my boyfriend took the herbs to his parent’s house in Sedona to plant in their garden. Less than a week later I came across this recipe with copious amounts of both fresh mint and basil and was like Damn The Irony! Fortunately we were going to see his parents over the weekend and they brought us a bunch of herbs so I could make the dish. Yay!

So I found this recipe in Shape magazine, I changed it a lot but the original recipe is from Clotilde Dusoulier’s new vegetarian cookbook, The French Market Cookbook. She used whole wheat couscous in her recipe, to make it gluten-free I opted for quinoa. I think it turned out really good. The herbs kind of overpowered the eggplant, mostly because I used spearmint which is too strong for this recipe, I would suggest using Mojito mint which is much milder. Also her recipe called for harissa, which I couldn’t find anywhere, so I used an Asian chili paste instead, I think it worked just as well. So here is my version:

Eggplant and Fresh Herb Quinoa Tabbouleh

Serves 8 as a side dish

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 Lbs small Italian eggplants
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1.5 cups white quinoa
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 T tahini
  • 1 T harissa or Asian chili paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh mojito mint leaves, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, sliced

Directions:

  1. Cut eggplant into small 1/2 inch cubes. Place in a colander, sprinkle generously with salt, then toss to coat; let rest 1 hour. Rinse thoroughly. Turn onto a clean kitchen towel, roll up, and squeeze gently to absorb liquid.
  2. While eggplant is resting, mince the onion. Place minced onion, quinoa, 1 tsp sea salt, and 3 cups water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool. (To cool faster, spread onto a baking sheet and chill in the fridge.)
  3. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Place eggplant cubes in skillet and toss well, until coated in oil. When eggplant is hot, cover and let steam in skillet for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Eggplant should be very tender. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk tahini and harissa or chili paste. Whisk in lemon juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, making sure it is incorporated before adding more to prevent curdling. Whisk til smooth.
  5. Pour the dressing over cooled quinoa and toss to combine. Fold in eggplant, mint, basil and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Enjoy!

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I served this dish with another Greek-inspired salad that I will post tomorrow. You can serve it with falafels, dolmas, hummus, pretty much any Mediterranean food, or just eat it by itself.

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It has a hint of spice to it but overall is pretty mild. If you want more spice, add more chili paste.

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5 thoughts on “Day 74 – Recipe: Eggplant and Fresh Herb Quinoa Tabbouleh (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, corn-free)

  1. Yum! This looks delicious and I will definitely be making this. I love dishes that I can make a huge batch of and enjoy all week. My thyroid doesn’t let me spend too much time in the kitchen πŸ™‚

    Thanks for all the recipes! I really enjoy your blog πŸ™‚

    • Thanks so much!! This is a great one to make and eat for days, I made it Sunday night and we are still eating it on Wednesday. I understand about not being able to spend too much time in the kitchen. I guess I’ve gotten a lot better cause last year I couldn’t even stand up for more than 10 minutes at a time. This should be a good recipe for you too because you can do each component in shifts and take breaks. πŸ™‚

  2. Hi Shauna, I have to say that I appreciate your transparent and honest vent about your frustrations. I have had some of the same. Might be different if I felt amazingly better… but time will tell. On another note, how are you doing with the supplements? Noticing any benefits? I am frustrated there a bit… lots of money to maintain and seems like I am always running out of something. Could go on a rant… but will refrain! πŸ™‚ Best wishes for health and vitality your way!

  3. Hi Tamara πŸ™‚ I agree with you 100%. I’ve been ordering 2 or 3 bottles of each supplement at a time and I still find I run out of things quickly, especially the sovereign silver which is the most expensive. It’s very annoying. Unfortunately I don’t feel amazingly better either. If anything, I do feel like the supplements are helping me stabilize. Even though I don’t feel awesome, I’ve felt much worse in the course of my illness. Without everything I’m taking I’m not sure I would be able to do anything… I just remember how I felt last summer, and I don’t feel like that now, which is positive. We’ll see, as you said only time will tell. As long as I’m not getting worse it gives me hope. I really wish you the best too! And you can vent to me anytime I don’t mind at all πŸ™‚

  4. I think you found a good word for it – “stabilize”. I think I have been experiencing that on some level… just always hoping for the amazing. Keep the hope alive!! πŸ™‚

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