Mediterranean Eggplant Boats are a vegan and gluten free entree that's both weeknight-friendly and protein-packed. Ready in under an hour, this plant-based dinner is as healthy as it is flavorful. This beautiful Mediterranean-inspired dish is the ultimate excuse to use up summer's bounty. Seasonal stars such as eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs give this dish all the flavor and character it needs. Additionally, tahini and balsamic vinegar lend depth and unparalleled brightness.
Serve these Eggplants Boats with Mediterranean Salsa with a big green salad and fresh bread or pita and you're in for the ultimate summer delight.
How to Cook Quinoa:
Quinoa is a quick-cooking grain with a neutral taste that takes well to just about any flavor combination. Prior to cooking, give the quinoa a quick rinse in a mesh strainer to remove its natural coating, called saponin, which can make it taste bitter. Additionally, I love to toast quinoa in the pan for 1 to 2 minutes prior to cooking to enhance its natural nutty flavor. After that, you can cook quinoa in either salted water or broth for more flavor. Look for quinoa in the bulk bin section of natural grocery stores, such as Whole Foods or Sprouts, to save up to $2.00 per pound.
Quinoa is one of the few plant sources of all nine essential amino acids required to build and repair protein tissues in the body, therefore making it a complete protein. For this recipe, quinoa provides enough protein and fiber to give the dish ample staying power.
What are The Benefits of Eating Eggplant?
Eggplants are part of the nightshades family, which have gained somewhat of a bad rap the last few years. This group of veggies contain trace amounts of the toxin solanine, which is responsible for their bitter taste. However, in order to notice any negative GI effects, one would need to consume a very large amount. For this reason, eggplant certainly should not be avoided simply because it is a nightshade.
Plus, eggplants are packed with an array of good-for-you nutrients. In addition to being rich in fiber, they also offer manganese (essential for normal growth), folate, potassium, plus vitamins K and C.
When shopping for eggplant, choose ones with shiny skin and a green stem, which are signs of freshness.
How Do You Make Homemade Salsa?
This Mediterranean-inspired salsa couldn't be easier, and it leans on just a handful of ingredients. Combine tomatoes, roasted red peppers, onion, capers, and herbs (for example, basil or parsley) in a bowl and give it a toss. The capers add briny, salty tang, which give the salsa lots of delightful zing. A drizzle of olive oil and jolt of fresh lemon juice to finish off, and this salsa is ready in just 5 minutes.
And, if you end up with leftovers, it's delicious spooned over scrambled eggs or scooped up with fresh pita chips.Lastly, if you give this recipe a try, be sure to tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations!
More Mediterranean Recipes:
Mediterranean Eggplant Boats
- *MEDITERRANEAN SALSA*
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- ½ cup finely chopped jarred roasted red peppers
- 2 Tbsp. diced red onion
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. drained capers
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- ¼ tsp. each sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- *EGGPLANT BOATS*
- 2 small to medium eggplants
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil divided
- ¼ cup chopped shallots
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 2 Tbsp. tahini sesame seed paste
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs such as basil or parsley
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Prepare salsa by combining all ingredients in a small bowl; stir and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise, right through the stem. Carve into the eggplant flesh all the way around the perimeter, and scoop flesh out; set aside. Place eggplant halves on a baking sheet, facing up. Brush the eggplant halves with 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil and lightly season with salt. Bake eggplant for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and lightly tender.
- Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Finely chop eggplant flesh and add to skillet, along with shallots and garlic. Cook mixture for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Stir in quinoa, tahini, balsamic, and herbs; cook 2 to 3 more minutes, stirring often, until mixture is warmed through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Remove eggplant boats from oven and divide quinoa mixture evenly into each boat. Top with Mediterranean Salsa.