Bowls/ Recipes

The Mediterranean Basil Veggie Bowl

Meditteranean Bowl with Eggplant and Basil

It’s eggplant season. I mean, technically, you can get eggplant pretty much year ’round, but I tend to crave it in summer, when tomatoes are at their best and the eggplant was freshly harvested someplace relatively close, as opposed to flown in from some hot and faraway place.

Meditteranean Bowl with Basil and Eggplant

I had a huge bunch of basil, and also have a big old jar of quinoa sitting around that I need to make a dent in. This dish came together super easily. Follow a few simple rules of thumb, and yours should come out perfect and yummy.

1. Always salt your eggplant first and let it sit for about 20 minutes. There are two reasons for this: 1) to get rid of bitter juices, and 2) to get the super spongy eggplant as water free as possible. Eggplant is wonderful when you can get it to brown. When you can’t, it’s a weird-textured soggy mess. The initial salting is key.

2. If you’ve been following my recipes, you’ll notice that I nearly always say to heat the pan first—naked, with nothing in it—then to add oil when the pan is hot, then to add food when the oil is hot. An empty pan heats faster. Oil can’t heat properly if it’s got stuff in it. You can’t sauté properly if your oil’s not hot enough. This is the way to love an eggplant, or really, any sauteed veggie.

3. Take your time with the sauté. We just got a new induction cooktop and it ROCKS. Responsive as gas, cleaner than gas as well as the electric ceramic top that I truly found…..challenging. (Or despicable, when I’m in a non-diplomatic mood.) My new cooktop makes it easy to regulate heat, and you want your sauté to be briskly browning without burning, and with the right amount of heat.

Sauteed Eggplant

This is something you just have to learn given your own cooking stuff. Pay attention, smell, look, and taste often. Just get it right the first time. Do-overs can happen, and can make a good dish out of a potential bad one, but it’s so better to just engage in what you’re doing, and constantly ask yourself, is this what I want to eat? If yes, continue; if no, figure out the issue. Not brown enough? Cook longer and increase the heat a bit. Add salt. Or sugar. Or a spice that just seems right.

The vegan-inclined can skip the cheese. (This recipe from Teagan at Half-Baked Harvest includes an amazing vegan Parmesan, as well as an amazing salad that I eat at least once a week.) Lavish on the basil. It’s one of the true delights of summer, and will transport you to a Mediterranean meadow when you close your eyes. Enjoy.

Meditteranean Bowl with Eggplant and Basil

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The Mediterranean Basil Veggie Bowl
Meditteranean Bowl with Eggplant and Basil
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Prep Time 40 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 40 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Meditteranean Bowl with Eggplant and Basil
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Bring broth to a boil. Add quinoa, and reduce heat to a low boil or hard simmer. Cover and let cook approximately 20 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat and keep quinoa warm.
  2. While quinoa cooks, toss eggplant with salt and place in colander as you saute the other vegetables.
  3. Heat a large flat-bottomed skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add olive oil. When oil is hot, add onion. Saute approximately 5 minutes, until beginning to brown. Add cauliflower, and saute an additional 10 minutes. Add eggplant, adding more oil to skillet if necessary. Continue to stir and saute an additional 10 minutes or so, until eggplant and cauliflower are golden and cauliflower is tender. Stir in garlic, and turn off heat. Stir in grated carrot and most of the basil, saving approximately 2 tablespoons for garnish.
  4. Stir 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan into quinoa; divide the quinoa between two bowls. Top with eggplant mixture (half in each bowl), half mozzarella cubes in each bowl, half of cherry tomatoes, finishing with a sprinkle of Parmesan and basil over each bowl.
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