Woo! My first video. It’s a little rough, but hey, it’s a start :). Scroll to the bottom to watch the assembly. (FYI I forgot the chickpeas in the making of the video – doh! – just be sure to add them to the quinoa, as described in recipe instructions.)
I pretty much always have pesto and cooked chickpeas in my freezer; and quinoa, crushed tomatoes, and Parmesan are standard provisions as well. I don’t think I’m the only one on this front, so if you’re only missing one or two of the above, this baked delight requires a minimal amount of planning to make. It’s essentially a lighter eggplant parmesan with a quinoa pesto twist.
Marinara is pretty basic to whip up- garlic, parsley, and basil simmered in crushed tomatoes- but an organic store bought sauce will do. Just look for one without sugar in it for authentic flavor and to avoid adding hidden refined sugars to your diet.
Pesto, Quinoa, and Chickpea Eggplant Bake
2/3 cup quinoa (ideally sprouted)
1 1/3 cup broth or salted water
2-3 medium Italian or globe eggplant (about 1 lb)
1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
1 cup cooked chickpeas
3 tablespoons pesto
About 14.5 ounces marinara sauce (crushed tomatoes, garlic, basil, parsley)
1/3 cup goat cheese, mascarpone, or ricotta
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
What to do:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Bring quinoa and broth to boil, then reduce heat to lowest setting and simmer about 18 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Set aside.
While quinoa cooks, slice eggplant lengthwise ¼” thick. Sprinkle slices with salt and let rest in a large colander 15-20 minutes. Rinse, squeeze, and pat dry slabs with clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Toss with oil and arrange on a baking sheet (alternatively, you can spray evenly with Misto oil sprayer). Roast for about 20 minutes, until tender and browned.
Toss cooked and cooled quinoa with chickpeas and pesto.
In a medium baking dish, layer: marinara, half of eggplant slices, all of quinoa mix, goat cheese (or mascarpone, ricotta, etc.) and a bit of marinara, remaining eggplant slices, rest of marinara, Parmesan.
Bake 20-30 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and Parmesan is browning. Top with fresh basil and serve.
Make ahead: Roast eggplant and cook quinoa ahead of time. Assemble ingredients ahead of time in a metal pan (cold glass or ceramic may crack if placed immediately in a hot oven.)