Tag Archives: Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Eggplant and Apples – Mustard Vinaigrette

Always looking for new ways to incorporate quinoa into my salads, I decided to make it with roasted eggplant, apples, cranberries and nuts. The inspiration came from Giada de Laurentiis. I made a few changes to the original recipe, including the dressing.   I served it with my mustard vinaigrette that I already had ready in the fridge and wanted to use up. This salad was crunchy and yummy.DSCN0108DSCN0119


2 cups vegetable broth (or you can use chicken broth)

1 1/4 cups whole-grain quinoa – I love organic quinoa but you don’t have to use organic.

1 lb. eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large apple (whatever you have on hand,) unpeeled, cored and cut into small chunks

3/4 cup roasted salted sunflower seeds

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 large bunch of baby kale, arugula or watercress (use whatever lettuce you would like)

Mustard Vinaigrette: aka my favorite dressing of all time

this is always my go to dressing and it keeps for at least 3 – 4 days in the fridge in an airtight jar. Best made in a mini food processor or blender type of machine.

3 tablespoons champagne vinegar

2 small cloves garlic

1 egg yolk ( if you are opposed to this you can substitute with a tablespoon of mayonnaise, I always use the egg yolk)

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup good olive oil

1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard

In food processor or whatever you’re using, first put garlic and chop it finely , then add all other ingredients except for olive oil. Give it a few whirls till it’s combined then slowly add olive oil mixing as you go till it is all creamy looking. It is awesome on any salad.


Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

Meanwhile, bring the broth to a simmer over medium-high heat in a heavy medium saucepan. Mix in the quinoa. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa just stand, covered 5 – 10 minutes. Cool and fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, spray a large rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil spray and toss the eggplant with 3 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper on the sheet. Roast until eggplant is tender and browned, stirring once, total time about 30 minutes.

I cut up apples and gave them a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice so they wouldn’t brown.

Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl, fluff with a fork. Add the eggplant, apples, nuts and cranberries. Toss with some of your favorite dressing to blend. Spoon on top of your favorite lettuce and serve.

Quinoa Salad with Red Wine Vinegar Dressing ( so good for you)


I always hesitate to use the word ‘healthy’. It seems that while some people are attracted to it, the rest of us tend to move past it to the next thing on the menu. So, I will not use the word ‘healthy’; I will instead just say that this is a most yummy grain, and while using the quinoa, you can also use that corn on the cob from the other night, the leftover roasted peppers and those cherry tomatoes on the verge of going bad. Now, don’t you feel so much better about making this salad already?


12 oz. quinoa (I often buy the organic red quinoa in a bag), follow directions on package for prep.

1 red pepper, preferably roasted already (I use the pepper that I grilled previously from the fridge but you can use roasted red peppers from the jar and just eyeball the amount. I have also used yellow and orange, just never green.)

Approx. 1 cup red cherry tomatoes (any small tomatoes will do)

1 cup Kalamata pitted olives, chopped (optional)

1 cup garbanzo beans, drained ( i use organic canned)

1 cup corn kernels (I use the corn from the night before that I grilled. You can use fresh or frozen.)

1/4 cup scallions, chopped

* Crumbled feta cheese (adjust amount to your liking)

* tonite when I made this I added fresh cilantro ( which I love) and 1/2 a jalapeno pepper chopped up, you can also add chunks of avocado (which I like in all salads) and olives as I’ve said are optional.

I also used almost all of the dressing for this salad. That is a matter of taste, and I did add about 1/2 tsp. of kosher salt when the salad was all said and done. And a bit more black pepper

You can use my lemon vinaigrette dressing but I also use this nice Mediterranean vinaigrette:

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I am very generous with this. I like a strong mustard taste.)

1/8 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

Kosher salt to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Oregano to taste


  1. Prepare the quinoa according to directions on the package. Let it cool.

  2. Prepare the vinaigrette. I always use the food processor and put all ingredients except for the olive oil and pulse a few times before slowly streaming in the olive oil.

  3. Salt and pepper to taste.

  4. In a bowl, toss all ingredients except the feta. Add the dressing to your desired taste and check for seasonings (you will probably need a touch more salt and pepper.)

  5. *Add feta. You can leave out the feta and have a vegan salad.

  6. Serve and enjoy!